Day 86: Baaaaa!

Wed. 7th November 2012

So many incredible views of the fallsIt was a day when we initially felt that we were being herded like sheep – a price we’d have to pay for the sights. We had been told by our friends Rob & Katie that we would absolutely love Iguassu, and so it turned out. By the end of our trip, we had forgotten about the crowds as we lost ourselves in the immensity and grandeur of the spectacle. Our memories will be of the falls themselves – the crowds were insignificant beside them!

Watch out below!Not a very auspicious start though as we nearly overslept. I had correctly set the alarm time on my phone, but I had forgotten to update the clock in my phone to register the additional change of hour as we drove across Brazil. We are now on something like Rio summer time and are only 2 hours behind the UK now. So, it was a quick breakfast – fruit, lots of coffee and some bread and then we were on our way to the Argentinian border. Iguassu is at the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Hence some of the confusion as to how you spell the name Iguaçu (Portuguese), Iguazu (Spanish) or Iguassu.

Queues, queues, queues!Leaving Brazil was very straightforward, but as we got to the Argentinian border station we got our first inkling as to how the day was going to go. The car park was crammed full of buses and minivans and we were penned in a field for a half an hour wait whilst our guide went off to get our passports stamped. Once we got going, we joined the queue of buses to get into the National Park that surrounds the falls. The larger portion of the falls lie on the Argentina side and so the park there is correspondingly bigger. In addition therefore, the crowds were bigger too as we went through the turnstiles to the sheep dip ticket machine.

On the train up to the Devil's ThroatThe park is sufficiently large that there is a miniature train service to take you from the centre of the park to the head of the falls and so we headed off for the train station at a brisk clip in order to try and beat some of the crowds. After a 15 or 20 minute wait, we get on the train for the journey up to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) station and to join the throng heading out along the walkway to the falls.

Watching people watch the fallsThe walkway took us out, over 1km, across the broad river above the falls, crossing from island to island. It was barely wide enough for a single file of people in each direction and so it was slow going but eventually we hear the roar of water and see the mist rising up above the trees on the next island. Further on we start to see the rapids and the first signs of water disappearing over a cliff – and crowds of people standing and gawping. Then, we are there, above the falls, looking down on the Devil’s Throat and on the people standing where we stood yesterday as they look up at us. The noise of the falls is terrific, the volume of water immense – and this is only part of the falls. There is a short video below that shows a little of the sights and sounds.

The falls stretch on for nearly 4kmAfter retracing our steps along the walkway and back on the train, we have time for a walk along the side of the river to see more of the falls before lunch (and before our boat trip which is booked for 1:45). Here we got some of the best views of individual waterfalls and also out along the length of the cliff giving us a better feel for the sheer extent of the falls. Against the sheer spectacle of the falls we forget that we are sharing the view with a crowd of tourists and we get lost in the view and the sights.

Ready to get wet?Before we left the hotel, we had been told to expect to get wet and, in the heat of the afternoon sunshine, that seemed like a really good idea. We loaded up into trucks which drove us through the jungle that surrounds the falls and down to the loading pontoon for the boats that would take us up close. For the first section, up the river and through some rapids to the falls we could keep our cameras out and we got some great pictures of the falls (and of us with the falls in the background). Then it was time to put the cameras away and to feel as well as see the falls. As promised, we got absolutely soaked – great fun, and I’m pretty sure that I have had colder showers in a couple of hotels on this trip! All in all, a great way to finish our visit to Iguassu Falls.

Looking up at the falls from belowWhilst we went to see Skyfall last night, the rest of our group went to a restaurant close to the hotel and came back raving about how good (and good value it was), so we thought that we had better check it out. A good call – it was a BrazillianRodexeiro (?? should have taken a photo of the sign!) restaurant. For R$20 (£7) you got access to a buffet of salads, rice etc and the waiters would keep bringing out different barbequed meats until you beg them to stop. The highlights were some of the cuts of beef (singed outside, red inside) and the pork with crispy crackling. True or not, we felt that we have been deprived of (proper) meat for a while and so we gorged ourselves! A good way to end (another) great day.

This entry was posted in Brazil, RTW Trip and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *