Posted by: Jena Davison | November 20, 2009

Iguazu Falls

If you saw me right now, you may think I have just taken a dip in the hostel pool, but you´d be mistaken. I am merely dripping sweat from the sweltering heat here in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. I have ultimately been living in a twenty-four hour sauna these past few days, as the thick humidity and lack of air conditioning here makes it seriously hard to breathe. Well, there is air conditioning, but it is only on from 7pm to 7am to conserve energy, making it barely tolerable to sleep in.

Puerto Iguazu is a small town that exists merely as a base to explore the well-known Iguazu Falls, or Cataratas del Iguazu in Spanish. It has a very tropical, jungly feel, but the town itself is basically only touristy stores and restaurants made for those heading to the falls. Iguazu Falls if easily one of South America´s biggest tourist attractions, and with good reason. They literally took my breath away when I went to see them yesterday.

I arrived on Wednesday afternoon around 1:30pm after an eighteen-and-a half hour overnight bus ride from Buenos Aires. Surprisingly, it was not bad at all. The seats recline almost into beds and with nothing else to do, I was able to catch up on lots of much-needed sleep. On board, they showed cheesy movies like The Proposal and served two sub-par meals, but they filled my belly just fine. Oh, and I got a small bottle of complimentary red wine, not bad at all! I befriended an older Irish couple who were sitting in the seats next to mine and they were quite entertaining for the first few hours until I hit my personal snooze button. However, just as I was getting comfortable–about a half hour into the journey–the bus pulled over and told us to all get off because there was a problem with the bus. We had to wait about a half hour for another bus to show up, which was a bit older, and we all re-boarded and were on our way.

The hostel I am staying at is conveniently located right across the street from the bus station, so when I arrived, I immediately checked in and put my bags down. I walked around the town for a bit, grabbed some lunch and browsed some of the artesenal shops here. Then I went swimming in the pool and met a bunch of guests staying here: a bunch of Israelis, some Argentines and a guy from Spain. It is crazy how many Israelis are staying here at the moment! Later on, I took a shower–completely pointless, because I was covered in sweat before I was even dressed, made some dinner and socialized with a bunch of the guests. My dormitory room was filled with all solo female travelers. I met an American named Adrienne who was planning on going to the falls the next morning too so we decided to go together. She lives in Lake Tahoe and is an avid skiier. She has just completely a week-long skiing trip in Antarctica! She showed me some of her pictures and they were unbelievable.

We woke up yesterday morning a little before 9am, had some breakfast, and jumped on a city bus to Parque de Iguazu. We spent about six hours exploring the park. First, we went on the upper, exterior trail, allowing us to see an overhead view, and then went on the lower, interior trail, where were were able to crisscross over the waterfalls. We decided to pay the 100 pesos ($25) to take a twenty minute boat road into the waterfalls, which left us soaking wet and giddy off of the adrenaline rush.

Finally, we took a ten minute train to the Garganta del Diablo, or Devil´s Throat, which is the most impressive part of the park. Here massive waterfalls plunge into a seemingly never-ending abyss, forming a thick layer of mist where full rainbows can be spotted. The falls in general were spectacular, but Garganta del Diablo in particular made me gape in amazement. It is not only the sight of the falls, but the surreal feeling that comes along with being there. I would highly recommend visiting there is you ever have a chance to come to South America.

Garganta del Diablo

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