The trip to Puerto Iguazu was our first adventure in Argentina after spending 2 months living in Buenos Aires. The main reason (actually the only reason) for the trip was to visit the Iguazu Waterfalls, which meant the days beforehand had been spent studying the local weather as blue skies and sunshine make such a difference to the experience. We had fingers and everything else crossed hoping we wouldn’t be greeted by grey skies and rain!
After a 19 hour overnight bus ride, we arrived in Puerto Iguazu where we were staying for the next 4 nights, hoping that one of the next three days would be clear for our visit to the falls. As luck would have it the next day was perfectly clear, so we were up early and headed straight to the waterfalls.
The many waterfalls (called cataratas in spanish) are spread throughout the National Park in Iguazu with a great system of walkways and platforms which let you get up close and personal with the falls. The upper trails take you along the tops of the waterfalls, where you can see the water rushing over the sides and the mist rising from the falling water below. While the lower trails take you to the bottom of the falls, where you can see the power of the water falling as well as feel and experience the spray of the water. We decided to head first to the upper falls, followed by the lower falls, before saving what we’d heard was the best for last – the Devils Throat.
The first, and my favourite experience, were the upper falls that started our day. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen or heard, made even better because we were the only people on the viewing platform as we’d arrived when the park opened and so for the first hour or so had the place mostly to ourselves. Standing silently next to the rushing water, with blue skies and birds above, you could take in the stunning sound, scenery and power of this natural wonder. Although not on the grand scale of the Devils Throat in terms of size, sound and numbers in attendance, this was the highlight of the day for me.
After we’d spent several hours exploring the Upper Falls we walked downhill to reach the lower falls and get our first feel of the actual water. It was here that we decided to take a boat trip out onto the river to experience the falls from another perspective, with the promise of “at least one shower”. With our backpack safely stored in a wet bag, we set off expecting to get close to the falls and have some water splash onto us. After a stop on the water to take some touristy photos, the crew started to put on full waterproofing gear, which raised a few eyebrows. It was justified as moments later the boat sped off in the general direction of one of the falls and drove us right underneath – the rest as they say is history.
We were drenched as the water cannoned down on us, all aboard shrieking in joy and surprise. After what seemed like an age we finally made it back out to the open water, soaked through but full of laughter and smiles. Heading back towards the dock in the sun, we were suddenly turning again towards another waterfall and before we knew what was happening the boat was picking up speed. Again we flew into and under a waterfall, the power of the water making it impossible to open your eyes or even know where you were. It was worth every dollar and despite being soaked to the bone, all aboard seemed to be completely happy – I know we were.
Following our unplanned showers, which actually helped as it was a scorcher of a day, we wandered back to the main park keeping an eye out for more wildlife. We saw more amazing and colourful butterflies, coities and some very large fish swimming in the shallows. We had read that hummingbirds and even alligators can be spotted, but we didn’t see any.
The final stop was a visit to the Devils Throat, the main attraction and largest set of waterfalls in Iguazu. No words can do justice to the sensations you feel as you edge closer to the viewing platform. Firstly it’s the noise that hits you as you hear fast flowing water thundering over the edge of the falls, quickly followed by a rumbling below as the water crashes and sprays up and over the viewing platform. The scale, power, noise and experience of the water can’t be put into words – a truly amazing and memorable moment for both of us. All this despite sharing the moment with hundreds of other tourists all wanting the same experience and same photo.
It was a magical day that will have a lasting impact on us. To experience something so powerful in person was quite amazing. You also can’t help but enjoy a place that turns grown adults into giggling children as they are covered again and again with spray from the falls.