Friday, December 10, 2010

Don´t Go Chasing Waterfalls (Well, Maybe These Waterfalls)

Iguazu Falls.
A far trip, but definitely worth it.

We headed to the airport before 6 am to make it for our 7:55 am flight.... Only to be told that it had been rescheduled for 1:30 pm!  After some complaining we got ourselves onto the 10:30 am flight, and killed a few hours at a cafe.  The domestic airport had just closed and all of those flights were now operating out of a (barebones) new terminal at the international airport, so everything seemed to be screwed up.  The flight was short and uneventful and we were picked up by Jorge at the airport in Iguazu and taken to the Panoramic Hotel, checked in and then made our way to the park.

Persuaded by various accounts and a decent sales pitch we began our tour of Iguazu nowhere near the water. Instead we purchased the ¨Grand Adventure¨ tour, which includes a slow truck ride through the forest, followed by a slow boat ride up the river towards the falls, and then into and under the falls themselves. The truck ride and slow boat portion doubled the price of just the falls boat tour, but they were hardly worth it. Described as an eco tour, the truck ride was really just a ride from the parking lot to the boat launch some 4 km away through the trees on a jeep road. The tour portion consisted of a park ranger practicing her english and pretty bad canned jokes on us.  The only good part was that we saw a real live palmetto (hearts of palm). Later we ate them in our salads.

Dave, Jesse, Lynda & Steve gearing up for the Grand Adventure
During the rapids portion of the tour we drove slowly upstream in the rapids. Unlike other jet boats in the water that appeared to be diving through and bashing into the rapids, and otherwise having lots of fun, our larger boat was much more tame. The rapids portion of the ride was is best described as our boating near, but always remaining a safe (but not particularly fun) distance from the them. We later learned that the fun boats run from Brazil, where the thrills are more valuable than safety. A $140 USD visa entrance fee, however, rendered any visit to Brazil a non-option.
The fairly tame ¨rapid running¨ portion of the Grand Adventure.
The final portion of the Grand Adventure consisted of our driver taking our boat into and at times what felt like, directly under, the falls themselves. This was awesome. The whole tour would have easily been worth it for this portion alone, the fact that they sell just this portion for 50% of what we paid was only mildly frustrating (especially since mom and dad paid for our tours…).
They say you go right into the falls and they mean it.

Once the boat got near the falls they were stupendous. The falls are incredibly loud, and the amount of water flowing over them is hard to describe. It is massive.  As we approached some of the smaller falls the mist began to envelope us leaving me, my shirt and my camera damp.  This, however, was hardly the extent of the "wet" portion of the tour.  After cruising through the mist-zone of the falls we headed directly towards one of the medium sized falls.  Our boat drifted closer and closer to what can only be described as a wall of water.  As we glided into the cascade Jesse and I (and the rest of the boat) were totally submerged; after a few minutes it became hard to breathe!  The amount of water was staggering.  The whole drenched boat began chanting ¨uno mas, uno mas¨ and the driver gave us one more taste of the power of Iguaza falls.

Moments before we headed ¨into the falls¨
Moments after we headed ¨into the falls¨

It was really, really wet.
The remainder of the day was spent drying off on the upper and lower walking paths.

Hard to tell but we were soaked to the bone.

The lower path, aptly named, is a series of boardwalks at and around the bottom of the falls.  The upper path, also well-named, is a shorter path that strentches out along the top of the falls.  Both offer tremendous views.

Dos Hermanos Falls. 
Lower Circuit.


Yup.  Double Rainbow.

The falls seem to go on forever.

The following day we returned to the park to see the Gargantua del Diablo (the ¨Devil´s Throat¨).  This is the biggest fall in the series of falls and, like the rest of the park, was spectaular.  It is difficult to describe the power, energy, and sheer volume of water that continuously flows over the edge.  It is an awesome sight.  It is also a wet sight.  The fall kicks up a huge amount of spray and when the wind blows it in your direction it is as if you are in a torrential downpour, despite the cloudless blue sky overhead.

Iguaza lived up to its hype.  JDMesh would highly recommend a trip there (despite the cost and distance).  Here are some recommendations:

  • Take the Nautic Adventure (the launch is halfway through the lower circuit)  from Iguazu Jungle and skip the Grand Adventure.
  • Town is about a 20 minute taxi ride from the park (90 pesos).  There is also a 5 pesos bus.  Consider staying at the Sheraton which is in the park and allows for the most time in the park.
  • The park really emptied out around 3 PM, but stays open until 6 PM.  It was far more pleasant (and better for photos) to tour in the late afternoon


  1. I remember riding that very same horse once that I see on your new picture. I hope they have washed the saddle since then.

  2. lynda and steve, you guys are famous!

  3. Brian, i imagine your face looked similar to mine. Only maybe a little less joyful.


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