Iguazu Falls

December 10, 2017

Located on the northern tip of Argentina on the border with Brazil and Paraguay are the world's largest waterfalls system, Iguazu Falls.  A quick two hour flight from Buenos Aires, Iguazu is easily accessible from Argentina's capital. Although the waterfalls span both Brazil and Argentina, the Argentinian side offers many more trails and access to several different panoramic views. In 2011, Iguazu was voted to be one the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, joining other infamous locations such as Halong Bay in Vietnam and Table Mountain in South Africa as some of the most awe-inspiring in the world.  When deciding where to go with limited days in Argentina, visiting Iguazu Falls was high on my list from all the photos I had seen of it as well as the glowing reviews from other travelers who had already visited.

 

My day at the falls started off by meeting up with a tour group and catching the train out to the furthest part of the park where we were greeted with one of the most dramatic views of the falls called Devil's throat.  After walking across the 1000 meters of metal bridge over the river at the top, we were rewarded with the full experience of the waterfalls getting completely soaked on the platform at the precipice of the falls. As the wind passed through and cleared out some of the spray, we could catch clearer glimpses of the numerous spectacular falls below us both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides. Flocks of birds darted in and out of the spray adding to the exotic feel of the spot. 

 

 

After taking the return train to central station (about a 10 min ride), my group continued on to explore the upper falls. The trail winded through the jungle and intermittently opened up to platforms with stunning views looking down over the various sections. The roar of the falls through the trees always gave a heads up that a panorama was around the corner just before the opening became visible. However when visiting keep in mind that the trail is one way in the upper falls with all the platforms on the route out, so take plenty of time to stop and take pictures along the way!

 

At the end of the upper falls trail there are several restaurants where we stopped to get lunch before continuing on to the lower falls. The prices of food is notably higher in this tourist spot than out in town, but there are no restrictions for bringing in your own food and drink into the park if you plan ahead of time.  After lunch we walked from the restaurants down to the start of the lower trails, which provided the most comprehensive view of the falls in the park with extensive amounts of both the Brazilian and Argentinian portions in sight. The sun also came out and rainbows appeared by the falls adding to the impression that we had wandered into paradise. This was where I took several incredible photographs of Iguazu falls with the rainbows that had magically appeared at the bottom of nearly all of the falls. There were also lots of animal visitors on this portion of the trail with small packs of chorio and several multi-colored tropical birds perched in the trees watching as the visitors streamed past. 

 

 To maximize my limited time for exploring the falls, I booked one of the many available tours which included hotel pickup and train tickets inside the park. The organized tours do not provide much information about the falls that cannot be found on Wikipedia though and they limit freedom to explore at will since everyone travels as a group. Because the park is well organized and it is easy to get around, retrospectively I think that it would be preferable to take a self-guided tour which would save the hassle of getting stuck in a massive group of tourists arriving at the same spot at the same time and jostling for a good picture on the viewing platforms. However, any opportunity to visit Iguaza Falls whether solo or with a group should absolutely be taken. After witnessing it from the various angles in the park, I completely agree with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's first comment upon seeing the falls, "Poor Niagara." These massive falls are simply unparalleled for their scale and natural beauty and are well worth the trek to visit!

 

 

 

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