iguazu falls - completely mindblowing

  • the hostel pool
  • the south africans
  • coitas - funny creatures at the falls
  • rob trying to molest one
  • monkey
  • pre-soakage
  • rob and i with the twig i planned on throwing into the falls, it got lost
  • clearly not enough sleep the night before
  • the group before soakage
  • first bout of spray
  • second bout
  • looks solid
  • watching tentatively
  • one of the boats like ours
  • local butterfly
  • iguana
  • a boat like ours coming back empty - worrying
  • the falls in the distance
  • we're getting closer
  • the lads are clearly excited - is it the falls or the blonde rubbing her ass behind them
  • really close now
  • group photo after the boat soakage
  • cool rainbow - this was so close u could see the start and end
  • getting soaked again by the spray
  • pathway to the garganta
  • hole in the middle of the river - garganta
  • garganta
  • garganta
  • random rainbows at garganta
  • matt and i at the garganta
  • on the edge
  • great photo of water right on the edge - by matt
  • our boat captain
  • garganta
  • garganta
  • garganta
  • people getting showered
  • after falls beer time
  • the goldsteins
  • pete - delerious because of the falls
  • john and teabag - kodak moment

(photos courtesy of Matt, John and Pete as I have no decent camera)

 

This entry is under Argentina because I visited the park on the Argentine side but really, it should be under Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay as the area is shared by all 3. Strictly speaking Paraguay doesn't share the falls, but it does share the Parana river which forms part of this Tri border area.

The South Africans (easier than listing all their names) and I rolled into Foz de Iguacu in Brazil on the 19th of October after a 14 hour night bus from Florianopolis. The plan was to get to the main bus stop in Foz de Iguacu in Brazil and then make our way to the Argetine side immediately as accommodation and park entrance fees were cheaper in Argentina, and supposedly the falls are also best viewed on the Argentine side (this of course is a matter of opinion so anybody reading this that thinks otherwise, you're entitled to your own opinion). Getting to Argetina would involve 3 buses and a whole lot of hassle for 7 people with backpacks and 1 with a surfboard. So, after chatting to tzxi drivers, we got a sweet deal that would cost 50 Reais per taxi, which would include the border crossing and we'd dropped off at our hostel on the other side. The most impressive part of the trip was crossing a bridge into Argentina, and the taxi driver was kind enough to point out to us that behind us was Brazil, ahead was Argentina and to our left was Paraguay - the Tri border, meaning we could see all 3 countries from the comfort of the taxi.

The Hostel Inn, where we'd be staying was very cool. It had a massive swimming pool and what looked like could be a good party area - unfortunately the bad weather seemed to be following us an it was raining. I had heard that the town of Cuidade del Este in Paraguay was a hotspot for buying cheap electronics and seeing as my Ipod recently got fried, I was keen on getting a new one, so Pete, Rob, Cath and I rented a taxi for the day, which would take us over the border and to some trustworthy electronics places. He also told us we'd have to try be a bit sneaky about anything we bought because crossing back into Argentina we may be inspected by customs. So, our trip began. We crossed the border back into Brazil, then crossed the border into Paraguay over the Ponte de Amizade. The driver said we didn't have to get out to get our passports stamped - still a bit bumbed we didn't do that though. He took us to a very unimpressive electronics store where the prices weren't way better than in the UK, although Rob picked up a cool netbook at quite a steal.Worst part though, was that we were told not only would we not be able to find cheap Ipods, we wouldn't be able to find ipods at all. Not a very successful trip. We had lunch, jumped back in the taxi, crossed the border into Brasil, crossed the border back into Argentina and went back to the hostel. That night we partied a bit after a big buffet braai and a tango show, some of us (me), partied a bit too hard.

When morning came I got woken from my afterparty slumber, at 8am, to get ready for our day trip to the falls. The day trip cost us 210 pesos with park entrance fees and this included a transfer to and from the falls. The sun had finally come out to greet us that day!

Truth be told, I wasn't overly excited about the falls, having been to Victoria falls when I was younger. In fact, at one point during my trip I was contemplating missing the falls altogether. But, the fact that the falls at this point in time were said to be flowing with 4 times more water because of the recent heavy rains (which have followed me for weeks) made it more appealing. And, looking back it now I would have been absolutely stupid to miss this amazing natural wonder.

We first walked around the many routes that allow a really close view of some of the "smaller" falls at quite a close distance - at some points getting completely soaked by the upward spray. I find it dificult to put to words what a spectacular sight, seeing all that water plummeting really is. Yes, they're not as high as Vic falls, but there was a lot mroe water flowing. In some parts, the water almost looks like it takes on a solid form or maybe a syrup like form because the flow is so immense and constant.

The next bit of the trip was to be even more impressive. We all jumped onto the back of a safari truck, that took us through the rain forrest. The guide explained various things about the trees, birds, animals etc. along the way. Actually, this part wasn't that exciting - at one point I dosed off in the back of the truck. But, then we got down to the river and saw the boat we were about to board to get a closer view of the falls, and the excitement was back.

About 30 of us boarded the boat - which happens to have 2 x 250HP engines to be able to fight the current caused by the falls. Even a few kilometers down the river the water was already a torrent, with random whirpools emerging everywhere. We headed in the direction of one of the big falls and stopped a few hundred meters away from it where the captain told us to take photos now because after that it would get pretty wet and we shoul dnot have our cameras out. He was not joking. As soon as all the cameras were put away, he floored the boat in the direction of the falls. The waves caused by the falling water made it feel like we were in some stormy sea. As we were heading into them a massive wave hit the side of the boat I was on, right about where I was sitting - I was completely soaked, but it would get even better. It's difficult to say how close we were because the pressure of the spray was quite blinding but when we could occasionally see through it we estimated we must have been about 10 metres away maybe closer - bear in mind, that although this was a big fall, this wasn't the Garganta del Diablo (the biggest part of the falls) which would be impossible to get to with this amount of water falling. We came out of those falls and the captain headed for another set, and twice we went into them, coming closer than we did the previous time. There was such a buzz in the boat, i think there wasn't one person, young or old, that didn't have the grin of a 5 year old at the fairgrounds, on their face.

After this the boat dropped us off at the banks and we headed back up to the top of the falls, taking some great group photos along the way. All over the place you would say small and large rainbows cause by the constant "rain" - with some of them you could see the start and finish, and I can now say there is no pot of gold or leprechauns.

As we were heading back to the park exit, we got told that the Garganta Del Diablo, which had been closed the day before and that day, had reopened. Had we not been told this, we would have missed what ended up being one of the most mind blowing things I have ever seen. Words, and possibly even photos and videos can't do it any justice. You follow this narrowish walkway across the river, cross a little island, and suddenly almost out of nowhere you see what looks like a giant hole in the middle of the river. Garganta del Diablo, meaning Devil's throat, really does look like a throat. It is almost entirely surrounded by the river. The walkway, takes you right to the edge of the Garganta - we all commented how there is no way that something like that would be allowed in most other countries. It was breathtaking. I think I'll let the photos do the rest of the explaining.

All of us were on such a high after the day's happenings. We headed back to the hostel and sipped on cold beers soaking up the last warm rays of the day, around the pool.

The next morning I said my goodbyes to Pete, Cath, John, Teneale, Rob and Matt. They headed off to Mendoza and I headed off to Buenos Aires. They're a great bunch and I had an excellent time hanging out with them over the past couple of weeks. I was sad to say goodbye to them, but now looking forward to catching up with all of them back in South Africa or perhaps somewhere else in the world.

 

A few videos below - footage and commentary courtesy of John Holly