Puerto Iguazú, Argentina

So it’s safe to say that the day that we would be visiting the Argentinian side of the Iguazu falls didn’t start all that well for me…

 I completely slept in. Completely. I must have plugged my phone in at the end of the bed and proceeded to sleep through my alarm. Anyone that knows me well knows that I set at least four alarms every night , simply so I never sleep in. This time however – I was got. I was therefore woken up with a bang – literally. Camillo was thumping on my door and shouting through the wall that the bus was leaving in two minutes and they would leave without me!

 My room was a mess – my stuff was everywhere. I clambered over everything, threw all my belongings into  my suitcase and rushed down to reception only to be greeted by Camillo and [x] our guide looking at me strangely.

 ‘Why have you brought your case’? Camilo asked – ‘we’re not leaving here for another two days’…

 Embarrassed, I left my suitcase with reception and ran onto the bus apologising to everyone for making them wait for me. Turns out I had forgotten one main thing for the day…shoes. SHOES MAIRI.

 Luckily Aziz had a spare pair of flipflops in his bag which he lent me…. Safe to say not a fantastic start for me – well it can only get better hey!

 If a photo could paint a 1000 words, this photo would paint 2000. Think I look like I have just awoken dramatically?? Ha!

 Drama over, we hit the road and made it towards the Brazilian/Argentine border. We had to go through customs again, which meant another stamp in my passport – honestly my passport was half full of Argentinian stamps at this moment in time.

 We soon made it to the visitor centre at the Argentine side of the falls – the Iguazu Falls National Park. Having picked up our tickets we loaded onto the little train which took us deep inside the reserve.

The first thing we did, having got into the park proper was to run and pick up coffee provisions and empanadas – priorities right? Energised however, we set out on walk of the ‘Lower Circuit’ (Circuito Inferior) trail; one of two designated walks this side of the falls.

The Lower Circuit offers the best views of the waterfalls via eight designated lookouts, including the Dos Hermanos (Two Brothers) and Tres Mosqueteros (Three Musketeers) falls. (write more about this).

Having spent some time on the walk it was time to get wet and wild and properly immerse ourselves Iguazu – right in the falls that is. The tour started with us all clambering onto a four by four and being driven through a winding jungle track whilst our tour told us about the many different types of flora and fauna which could be found in this natural environment. We were all trying desperately to see the resident monkeys, the toucans; even the pumas – however luck wasn’t on our side! We did however catch a glimpse of the palm heart– the (rarest palm tree in the world). Ok it’s no Puma, but interesting none the less.

 

After the short drive we were dropped off and made our way down to the water’s edge where we were fully kitted out with life jackets and given waterproof bags for our belongings.

 

As we loaded onto the boat we spotted a little caiman sunning itself on a nearby rock which was pretty cool.

The boat ride frantically twists and turns you against the current and rapids of the river, swishing you from side to side before dunking you right in the middle of one of the falls. Visiting a waterfall (or set of waterfalls) the size of Iguazu was incredible enough but actually getting down to water level beneath the roaring cascades was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

When large amounts of water fall long distances, the forces involved are enormous. Considering a litre of water weighs a kilogram, being under such a volume of water falling from such a height is pretty intimidating!

It honestly was so much fun and we were all so pleased we decided to embark on the boat  – even if we could all pretty much ring the water from our clothes once we hopped back on dry land…!

Having made our way back to the central area of the park, again via the 4×4 jungle ride, we decided it was well and truly time to stop for lunch. In a similar way to the Brazilian side of the falls, the food options definitely aren’t great. We did therefore all just go pretty plane with chips and sandwiches, however filled up on the most delicious ice cream from Cremolatti which had been highly recommended to us. I opted for my favourite, mint choc chip, which was absolutely delicious.

One thing to be careful of whilst you’re in the national park, in both the Brazilian and the Argentinian side, particularly when you have food – take care around the coatimundi; often referred to as a coati. The Coati is a medium-sized mammal that belongs to the raccoon family. There are 4 species of coati that are native to North, Central and South America. Depending on the species, coati can be found in the tropical rainforests, dense forests, mountains, grasslands or deserts. Coatis are faced with accelerated habitat loss (as a result of deforestation) and they are often a target of hunters. Despite these factors, global population of coati is still large – particularly here at Iguazu – they are everywhere!

Although these little critters look relatively safe with their cute faces and elongated nose, don’t be fooled by their apparently ‘friendliness’ – there have been many instances of tourists, particularly children being attacked. Let’s just say their bite is definitely better than their bark.

Full and having (slightly) dried off, we headed off to check out the second walking trail the ‘upper circuit’ (Circuito Superior) which consists of trails and bridges that run along the top of the falls. The views here are literally incredible. You are able to look down over many of the largest falls including the San Martin falls and San Martin Island.

This circuit is a bit less than ½ a mile and has six lookouts and viewing areas. The catwalks present spectacular views of the ‘Devil’s Throat, the premier collection of fourteen of the highest, most powerful of the falls in the park. Honestly I cant describe how incredible the views are from here so I will just let the photos do the talking.

Towards the end of the walk, Grace and I decided that we wanted all of the interesting facts about the falls and proceeded to start an impromptu question time against our tour guide Eduardo who probably hated us by the end of it. We were insistent in asking about everything from suicides, to poisonous snakes, dangerous flowers and even cannibals. So interesting!

 

 

 

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