February 28, 2012

Iguacu Falls

From Salvador, we caught a flight towards the center of South America to visit Iguacu National Park. Straight out of a storybook, this is the land of waterfalls, rainbows and butterflies.

The park straddles Brazil and Argentina – the main attraction being a canyon of 250 waterfalls with the river below acting as the international border. The canyon culminates in the largest and most famous waterfall, Garganta del Diablo or “Devil’s Throat”. The majority of the falls are in Argentina, offering very different experiences on both sides.

We started on the Brazilian side, where we were able to get a full view and appreciation of the falls complex.

A progression of viewing platforms along the canyon concludes with a walk out to the peak of the falls.

We visited during high season when the water is at its highest. A huge thank you goes out to Mother Nature for giving us a sunny day and the most perfect rainbow we’ve ever seen.

The next day we said goodbye to Brazil, crossed the border into Argentina, and didn’t look back! The Argentinean side of the park has a much more extensive trail system that winds you in and out of the waterfalls in a more personal way.

The first highlight of our day was taking a ferry to a small island in the middle of the canyon called San Martin. From here we did a short hike up to a stunning viewpoint – more rainbows and beautiful stair-step cascades.

The second highlight of our day was taking a train to the viewing platform at the top of Devil’s Throat. The force in which the water was cresting over the falls was somewhat fear-inducing. The crashed mist was shooting into the sky twice as high as the falls themselves. No man-made picture or video could ever do it justice.

We ended our day with a remote waterfall hike that less than 1% of park goers visit. This meant that the rainforest animals, including this one that I spotted, were in their comfort zones.

 We really enjoyed the wild animals of Iguacu, including: armadillos, boars, birds, monkeys and millipedes.

A more common sighting was the “quatis”, a type of raccoon that is very common on both sides of the border. They have become way too comfortable around humans.

Throughout the park we also saw catfish, ants, spiders and colorful butterflies at least 3 times bigger than we had ever seen before. The butterflies of Iguacu loved people. They would latch themselves onto your shirt or shoe and hitch a ride to wherever you were headed.

1 comment:

  1. So after seeing these pictures I have a new place to visit before I'm too old to do so. We will have much to talk about when you guys get home. :). I'm enjoying following your adventure wishing I was there with you. Keep up the great pictures!