Unbelievable. Breathtaking. Magnificent. Natural, God given beauty.
Those are just a few of the words that I would use to describe my most recent trip to the mesmerizing (forgot that one) Iguazu Falls in Argentina. As the falls are truly indescribable and it is not possible to merely transcribe their beauty through words, this post will be filled with my favorite pictures from the trip and not as much of my rambling… lucky for you!
After a taking a bus to Santiago, a plane to Buenos Aires, and yet another plane we (John and I) finally arrived in Puerto Iguazu around 9:00 AM Friday morning. You see, John and I were on a mission to get our Brazilian visa as we already have plane tickets booked to Rio de Janeiro for the end of this month. After reading a fellow travelers article, which I recommend to anyone trying to obtain their Brazilian visa while in Puerto Iguazu, we were banking on arriving at the consulate as soon as we landed, handing in the necessary paperwork, and receiving our visas. After a few complications (which included running around the town in search of a printer and converting our American $ to Argentinean pesos) we had all of the necessary documents and we had our 10 year Brazilian visas within 2 hours! 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics here I come!!!!!!!!!!
Exhausted from our travels, we went back to the hostel to wait for our friend Rebecca to arrive. We lounged a bit and then made the short walk to the “triple frontera,” where you are able to see Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay all at the same time. In the photos below, I am standing in Argentina taking the picture, the land mass to the left is Paraguay, and the land mass to the right is Brazil. Pretty cool stuff….
The next day we woke up early, ate breakfast and headed to the cataratas (cataracts)! We were there for around 7 hours and saw all but one of the falls. Green vegetation, tropical flowers,blue skies, rushing water, rainbows, and sunshine filled our day. I can’t say it enough… everything was seriously indescribably beautiful. Take a look for yourself…
During our day we had the opportunity to take a 20 minute boat ride, which literally took you so close to the waterfalls that there was water spraying at you from every angle. Being the water bug that I am, I was in heaven flying around in a boat, getting drenched by THE one and only Iguazu Falls. I was brilliant enough to wear a white t-shirt that day (hahaha), so once we returned to mainland (soaked from head to toe), I pretty much had a wet t-shirt contest with myself! Ha! Nonetheless, the boat ride was without a doubt my favorite part of the day!
After our boat ride we explored the park a bit more…
and took a train to the “Garganta del Diablo,” which is legitimately the most massive waterfall I have ever seen.
As if waterfalls and rainbows were not enough, the park was full of the most beautiful butterflies. It truly is incredible, and mind-boggling when you think about it, how unique and exquisite each pair of a butterflies wings are. It was as if each intricate design had been hand painted on each delicate wing. Unreal. Truly, natural, God given beauty.
It is beyond clear that everything witnessed and experienced throughout our day was AMAZING! However, there was just one thing that I did not like about Iguazu Falls… THE TOURISTS. I know that this is somewhat ironic as most would consider me to be a tourist myself (I prefer to refer to myself as a traveler!), but there were people everywhere. Most of these people, who came from all around the world, had absolutely no qualms about pushing you out of the way in order to capture pictures of loved ones in front of the falls. It was ridiculous. To boot, the park had a Disney World theme park kind of feel. With restaraunts and gift shops strategically placed along the man-made concrete path ways, I have no doubt that Iguazu could one day be acquired by Disney and developed into one to the most epic theme parks in the world. Roller coasters towering over waterfalls, a grandiose version of Splash Mountain, a night-time firework show over the falls, Mickey Mouse’s voice blaring throughout the park, and of course the creation of the new Iguazu Falls princess, Izzy. Ha! This became a running joke throughout our day and we had some fun pretending to be “imagineers,” dreaming up the most magical of ideas!
Other than dealing with the mass amounts of people, the only other seemingly annoying creature in the park was this little guy…
Known as the coati, the animal is native to the region and the ones in the park are clearly accustomed to all the tourists. They had absolutely no reservations about following people around and begging for food like dogs in the street. John even witnessed one leech on to a lady’s backpack! Hahaha! All earthlings and creatures aside, it was a great day. We were wiped and decided ordered pizza (thank god for pizza delivery) and enjoy each other’s company for the remainder of the evening.
Saturday morning, we took our time getting ready and then headed to Güiráoga, a small wild animal refuge. The refuge takes in hurt animals found throughout the area as well as wild animals that people have had as pets and need to surrender. If possible, they release the animals back into the wild when they are ready, or simply breed them and release their offspring. Being the animal lover that I am, I had a blast learning about all of the animals native to the region. We saw a multitude animals including various types birds (eagles, toucans, wild turkey, macaw, owls etc.), turtles, coati, capybara, and best of all, monkeys! The coolest monkey we encountered did not belong to the refuge, and was actually living in the wild. He swung right down from the trees and climbed along the railing beside us. It was awesome!
The other monkey we encountered, whom was being held in captivity, was not as pleasant as our friend pictured above. At one point in time, he actually reached his hand through the cage and grabbed my camera. Holding on for dear life, I yanked it away from him as quickly as I could. The camera still takes pictures, but it seems to be making some strange noises. I am just praying that it gets me through my next trip! Here is a picture of the little you know what…. :)
After the animal refuge, it was back to the hostel to chill until our flight that night. A 9 hour delay at the Buenos Aires airport made for a fun night of attempting to catch some shut eye on cold tile floors… not. We arrived back in Viña safe and sound Monday morning, just in time for me to go to class! WOO!
I REALLY hope you are able to appreciate the beauty of the falls through all of the photos, and if you get the chance, visit them for yourself! The pictures do not do them justice!
I’m headed to La Paz, Bolivia tonight! Much more to come next week!
Chao for now.
Just a few bonus pictures…