Iguazu: Probably the biggest and most impressive water falls of the world in the border triangle between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Travelogue Argentina 2003
Iguazu

February 8th, 2003

Dear friends,

Did I tell you that it was a fantastic idea to come here? Guys, start saving money, quit your jobs or take a loooooong holiday and travel to South America !!! If you are worried about the situation in Argentina : Don’t. The country has problems but still everything is very high standard and tourism is not affected at all.

As I had written I went to see the tourist-tango-show on Tuesday evening. Yes, it was a great show, the Tango was good, very accurate and artistic BUT unfortunately without the passion and emotion I had seen the evening before. And Tango without passion is like Spaghetti Napoli without tomatoes. To be fair I have to mention the one couple that had passion. All in all it was a nice evening, but considering Tango it couldn’t top the day before.

By the way: I had to buy a T-Shirt and some underwear for the show because my backpack still hadn’t arrived. But on the search of a cheap shop I stumbled into the fascinating shopping pedestrian zone of the city and another beautiful park directly behind it.

Argentinia, Iguazu: Circling above the falls.
Circling above the falls

Another call to TAM and they promised me, that my backpack would arrive Wednesday morning. At six (!!!) a.m. they called me in my hotel room and told me, it had arrived now. Not at my hotel, only at the airport. I turned round and didn’t get up earlier than at 10:30 when it actually was delivered to the hotel. Then everything happened very quickly: I called Aerolineas Argentinas, packed my things, got into a taxi, at twelve at the airport, at one in the plane, at three turning circles (one for the passengers on the right side of the plane, one for the ones on the left) over the waterfalls of Iguazu, likely to be the most beautiful and giant falls of the world. I had decided to go there directly because the possible routs via Uruguay and Brazil looked difficult and none of the places did really catch my interest.

In the bus from the airport I met Priti an Indian woman from England . We ended up taking a room together because it was cheaper that way and more fun visiting the falls together. After dinner we suddenly heard Samba-drumming and followed the sounds: We were very surprised to find a bunch of kids between 7 and 12 years old. We had entered the local primary school practising for the carnival. It was great: those kids were really good and highly motivated. It is useless trying to describe in words what we saw that’s impossible. But it was simple authentic, local life undisturbed by tourists …

Argentina, Iguazu
The first glance of the falls … the smaller ones. The biggest were so huge that I could not take photos of them with my camera.
 
Argentina, Iguazu
 
Argentina, Iguazu
Little bridges take you directly to the falls … if you are willing to get wet.
 
Argentina, Iguazu
The falls seen from the Brazilian side. Argentina has the more beautiful falls but you can see them better from the Brazilian side.
 
Brazil, Iguazu: A Toucan
This Toucan was sitting directly next to us. Maybe it hoped for something to eat. Or for a chance to flee its cage. Or it was just wondering what a strange kind of birds we were.

Thursday we went to the falls. Unfortunately I can’t give you more than some keywords and my recommend that you visit Google and search for Iguazu. It was INCREDIBLE, BREATHTAKING, MINDBLOWING … I will put the photos to my homepage as soon as they are ready and I find some time for putting them online. I am sure that these falls are unique. I remember only two things which impressed me as much: the Maya ruins and the jungle of Tikal in Guatemala (travelogue in German only) and the paradise in the northwest of Crete (I forgot the name). In addition to the falls we saw birds and butterflies (Priti has a pair of binoculars with her which increased the joy we had significantly). Five times we got really wet, either by the falls or by gentile rain, five times the sun dried us again. We took our time for every detail while masses of tourists passed us, soaked it all up.

Friday we went to the Brazilian side of Iguazu: without a doubt Argentina got the better falls but Brazil got the better view on them! This time we got wet only once. After the falls we visited the bird park. Unfortunately some of the cages are a shock to everyone who loves animals but most of them are huge, nice to live and fly in. You can walk through the cages and have the birds directly next to you. Amazing. The butterfly house, our main reason to enter the park, was not that fantastic as we hoped, but it might be due to time of the year that there weren’t soooo many butterflies.

Saturday we revisited the Argentinean side of the falls, mainly to return to a certain place on a peninsula were you’re almost in the middle of a fall (or at least you get as wet as in the fall). But the night before it had rained so much that it was not possible to take over and we had to change plans. This day we saw lots of animals in the park: huge lizards, butterflies and birds. The second dominating event was returning to Devil’s Throat, the center of this endless chain of waterfalls, where we got caught by tropic rainfalls which (once again) wetted us from tip to toe. We had seen this part of the falls before but it had become even more fascinating after the rainfalls of the last night. Only two days before Iguazu was a demonstration of the nature’s power and beauty, today it showed its mighty violence. We ended our day with a quiet boat ride through the jungle which was the perfect thing to round up our impressions.

Tomorrow Priti and I fly to Salta in Argentinas Northwest which we both had chosen to be our next goal. From there I will continue to Bolivia .

All the best from Iguazu , Argentina

Volker

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© Volker Umpfenbach

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