I was being all touristy and obvious this time as I arrived in the tropical rainstorm and gorgeous climate of Iguazu. The town itself, known as Puerto Iguazu is nestled nicely on the triple border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. Though the town itself is purely Argentinian.
I arrived early afternoon to the main bus station in Puerto Iguazu amidst a horrendous thunderstorm. It felt nice to see the torrential rain beat down. I enjoyed getting soaked while I sook my correct bus out to my hostel (I had booked a hostel a wee bit out of town – so as to be closer to the waterfalls themselves).
I caught a local yellow El Practico bus out to my hostel.
I stayed in the Hostel Inn Iguazu Falls, once the best hostel in South America and it’s easy to see why. Outdoor swimming pool, happy hour cocktail bar by the pool, wee rooms in separate outdoor buildings, buffets, breakfasts, internet, decent staff, bus stop into town and to the waterfalls outside, live salsa at night…
However there was no electricity, no hot water and no internet when I arrived due to the thunderstorm!! (and no discount offered, even a free beer to compensate would have been nice… even if it was Quilmes: Kill me).
The first afternoon and evening involved a wee dander round the area. I could have actually made it to the waterfalls that day, but thought the daylight time would be rushed so settled for an all you can eat buffet at the hostel and an early morning trip instead. I met some cool girls at night and roomed with Patrick and Jane from Sydney, a lovely couple who were heading to Bolivia next.
I got up early morning at 6am. I was actually awoken by the severe thunderstorms. It was immense!
A quick all you can eat breakfast set me up for the day.
I caught a bus to Cataratas Iguazu (Iguazu Waterfalls – Iguazu National Park) from the other side of the road from the hostel. It cost 7.5 Pesos and was a yellow El Practico Bus (the same bus which got me from the town to the hostel, and the same company which would take me across the border into Paraguay). The bus to the National Park only took about 20 minutes. There were not many other tourists on the bus.
On arrival at the entrance for Iguazu Falls, I was shocked to see NO queue to get in. Yes there was torrential rain, but surely that wouldn’t put tourists or travellers off! Especially when the point of the exercise was to see a waterfall.
I didn’t have enough Argentine Pesos to pay the entrance fee, which was dear at $85 Pesos, but these places must be used to that, so they let me swap my last $5 US Dollar note into Pesos so I could afford it.
In I went. It was quiet as a mouse. Was this really a big tourist attraction?
It was bucketing out of the heavens. Pouring. Raining cats and dogs. Perhaps people were put off by that, but it made the experience much better for me – less queues, less people in the way and real travellers. I was a bit confused by the silence but on I went and boarded the train no problem at Estacion Central – the main station inside the National Park. Estacion Central was about a 1 kilometre walk at most from the main entrance.
Estacion Central platform.
On the train to Garganta del Diablo.
Arrival at Garganta del Diablo. I met a couple from Washington DC, USA (the man was born in Peru) on the train and most of us headed directly to Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat), which was the last stop (the train only has 3 stops). I had heard Devil’s Throat was the best bit so wanted to do it first.
Once I got off the train, I made my way alone across the bridges that stretch over the massive Iguazu River. The Iguazu River is 1.1 kilometres wide at one point! And the walk to Garganta del Diablo is about 2 kilometres. It was a pleasant rainy walk against a typically murky sky.
The sky cleared a bit as I neared the end of the walk.
It was mostly a walk along wooden bridges over the Iguazu River. The build up was gorgeous and the river level was high – it came to just below the bridge. In fact the previous bridge remains but is broken having been destroyed by a flood in 1992. I could easily see why and with water levels so high, I wondered how long until the very bridge and platform we were on would succumb to rising water levels and itself collapse.
An Argentina flag flies on the way across.
Devil’s Throat then. Amazing.
I was alone on this journey which was a bit sad, but the smiles soon arrived as about 12 of us arrived at the viewing platform for the Devil’s Throat. You could hear the waterfall before you saw it. The sheer intensity of the wind and water get you going!
It was incredible. We all got soaked. Amazing! It was hot tropical water. I had to turn away from the wind a few times, and also to protect my camera.
Just standing on the edge of this dodgy wooden platform seeing gallons and gallons of water right beneath us flowing down so fast and deep was breathtaking. You couldn’t even see down to the bottom of the waterfall, such was the vastness of the drop and the quantity of gushing water.
It was sensational.
Flying the Northern Ireland flag at The Devil’s Throat. The girl who took the photo did her best against a wicked wind and constant water spray!
If you’ve been to the Devil’s Throat, you’ll remember it…amazing stuff.
I had correctly decided to bring my camera in a carry case hidden under my shirt, as I knew I would get soaked. I’d bet that a fair few cameras amongst other items (hats, etc.) would have been lost over the edge during the years of tourist visitors to Iguazu. Birds fly by in the true magic of Iguazu.
The drop is steep and dangerous. I spent about 45 minutes there just marvelling at the immensity of the falls.
Then I walked back to Garganta del Diablo station for the train to Estacion Cataratas. This is the more viewable but less incredible part of Iguazu National Park. The trains sometimes have delays and I was glad it was a wet day as I didn’t have to wait too long.
There were two circuits to choose from at the main Waterfalls area, and I chose the Superior Upper Route, as I believed I would see more waterfalls there.
Indeed there were, and some great views down into the river.
Eva waterfalls. Which reminded me of Eva Jun, my Taiwanese friend from October 2009. This area was split into many “smaller” waterfalls, most of which were so vast they eclipsed some of the falls I had seen in Australia and Taiwan in the previous year or so.
A map of Iguazu.
Salto Mbigua. Another of the mini waterfalls.
You really get a feeling for the shape of the waterfalls and the reason as to why Brazil and Argentina both own some of it. It really is an obvious border!
Relaxing in Argentina by the incredible Iguazu Falls.
One thing which you should not less pass, is the incredible walk through the rainforest. It’s Trees, animals and nature all around.
I saw a mother racoon rescue her baby by walking her courageously across a narrow ledge in the woods. There is a lot of wildlife and we saw many insects, including some which I thought were dangerous. At any rate I had my mosquito repellent on and had all my injections. I began taking Malaria tablets too just before this, just in case.
After the walk on the Superior Upper Route, it was time for money and souvenirs. I found a cash point/ATM and withdrew cash (inside the park still) and bought a drink, a bite and some postcards and stamps. I photographed the ATM as it says “Welcome Jonny S. Blair”! (First and only time I have ever seen my name come up on an ATM screen and in a magical place).
Leaving Estacion Cataratas.
Flying the flag at the entrance to the National Park/Parque Nacional Iguazu.
I got soaked again waiting for my bus back into the town of Puerto Iguazu, but that was pleasing and had all been part of the Iguazu experience. I had read that grown men giggle and cry when they catch sight of the waterfall and that black panthers can be seen there at night. Neither of those experiences were part of my adventure, but I will say that Iguazu was phenomenal.
The waterfall is right on the border with Brazil, so later that day I border crossed by bus and saw the Brazilian side, the full report here: Foz Do Iguacu – Brazil and here’s my report on Puerto Iguazu, the town itself: Puerto Iguazu – The Town and Tres Fronteras (the triple border incorporating Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay): Tres Fronteras
The immensity and intensity of Iguazu Falls (Cataratas Del Iguazu) were over for this lifetime…please check out the videos I made. I think they tell a story themselves and are quite amazing.
Where – Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Who Went – Me
Nationalities Met – US, Argentinian, English
Transport Used – El Practico Bus, Iguazu Train
Strange Currencies – Argentine Pesos
Key Songs –
MANIC STREET PREACHERS – TSUNAMI (“came washing over me…”)
ROBBIE WILLIAMS – ANGELS (“down the waterfall”)
WET WET WET – IF I NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN:
My Videos –
BREAKFAST IN THE HOSTEL BEFORE THE TRIP:
BUS FROM RUTA 12 TO PARQUE NACIONAL IGUAZU:
TORRENTIAL RAIN, ARRIVAL AT PARQUE NACIONAL IGUAZU:
TRAIN IN TORRENTIAL RAIN FROM ESTACION CENTRAL TO GARGANTA DEL DIABLO AT IGUAZU:
CROSSING THE IGUAZU RIVER ON ROUTE TO GARGANTA DEL DIABLO:
THE AMAZING GARGANTA DEL DIABLO: