Adventures at Iguazú
Last weekend, I went on a quick trip up north with my program to Iguazu falls, at the corner of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. We flew for an hour and a half on Friday, and stayed at a really nice hotel in the little town (Puerto iguazu) that’s there to hold the tourists who come to see the falls. Some of you may have seen the movie The Mission, which was filmed at the falls, about the Jesuit Missions that were there during the colonization of South America.
The area reminded me SO MUCH of being in El Salvador. It’s a sub-tropical rain forest, it was pretty humid and buggy, and there are toucans, monkeys and jaguars there. The falls are on a river (I think it’s just called the iguazu river) that separates Brazil from Argentina. At one point, the land just drops down, and there’s a long series of waterfalls all the way across, and about a fourth of them are on the Brazilian side.
On Friday we chillaxed at the pool at our hotel, I took a nap in a hammock and was totally in heaven. That night, I didn’t really feel like doing much—I’ve been sick and I didn’t really have an appetite and just felt blah—but I decided that since I didn’t feel like doing anything, that I might as well do something, so I went out dancing with the group. We went to a bar called Cuba Libre, and it was SO FUN. As you can imagine, I’m a terrible dancer, but once we got going it was just really fun.
Saturday morning, we got up early and had breakfast at the hotel and went off to the National Park with our tour guide, Paz. She was a really cute girl that smiled a lot and cracked little jokes all the time. Her name is Maria de la Paz, but she goes by Paz for short, which means peace. We walked (SO FAR) to La Garganta del Diablo (devil’s throat) canyon. After walking down a road forever, you turn off into the trees and walk on a raised walkway over the river for I would guess 2 km or more. The river sort of floods through a treesy area, so the walkway is a series of bridges between the various clumps of trees. The Garganta is a short canyon that you look down into from above (eeeeek!) and you can’t see very far into it because it is completely filled with mist. And Brazil is on the other side!
(PS, no, I didn’t go to Brazil, because you need a visa, etc. and its really difficult for North Americans. But apparently because the land is higher up over there, you can get a really good view of all the falls together. But when we were in a boat at one point, we got LITERALLY within 15 feet of brazil, we were so close!!).
We went back a ways toward where we started our trek, and went on the Circuito Superior (upper circuit) which goes along the San Martin falls. O, I should explain that looking at the falls from Argentina, there’s a loooong stretch of them, one after another the curves around to the left. And then there’s San Martin Island, where I hear there are ruins of the missions, and then past that is the Devil’s Throat. So on this new trail, we went on walkways along the top of a bunch of the san martin falls.
Then we went on the lower trail, which just gives you a different (and spectacular) view of the falls. Then we went on the Gran Aventura, a boat ride UNDER the waterfalls. I know. I was so scared! They took us in this dinky little boat under the san martin falls, over to the devil’s side, and back. And then we went down the river a ways, and got out and got into a safari-like truck for the last part, which took us back to the entrance to the park. The only problem was that right as we got into the truck, a thunderstorm hit, and we were completely uncovered, and already soaking wet from the boat ride because we’d been dunked so many times. But you know, it just added to the rainforest awesomeness, so it was good.
Sunday morning was also really good. We got up SUPER early again, and went on an excursion to go canopying (ziplining through the trees!) and rappelling. As usual, I was scared, and I’ve gotten really good at arguing with guides about how I am afraid of heights and they need to be nicer to me or I won’t do it. They usually get a kick out of that. So we walked up the rickety-est set of stairs I have EVER seen in my life. And then went on 3 ziplines, totalling a HALF MILE. I know, intense. So then we rappelled down a waterfall, and that was sweet, although surprisingly less hardcore than what we did in bariloche, because the guide was in control the whole time, which was really for the best because I wouldn’t have trusted myself with the ropes in all the water.
It was a fantastic weekend, and if you want to see pictures of intense waterfalls in a lush green jungle, I suggest following this link (even though you already have it bookmarked): flickr.com/photos/a_mesaros
Amor y besos a todos.
O, and I’m going to Tierra del Fuego tomorrow, so you’ll be hearing from me sooooon about that!