Iguazú part 2: Argentina

After our day at the Brazilian side of the falls, we transferred via taxi to Argentina. Our hotel was a resort that was probably quite nice in the 1990s but was past its prime. On the plus side it was cheap by US standards and had a pool with waterslide that the boys made liberal use of in the late afternoon. The hotel also offered an all-you-can-eat buffet for dinner, and I am fairly sure they lost money on Jack.

The next day we headed to the main attraction – the Argentine side of the park. A small narrow-gauge train takes all visitors from the park entrance to one of two locations at the falls. We started at the end of the line, at La Garganta del Diablo (the “Devil’s Throat”). The Garganta is a U-shaped waterfall, the largest of Igauzú’s 275 or so falls. Nearly half the water in the Paraná River flows through the Garganta. The amount of water is astonishing, and being up close to it is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

Approaching La Garganta del Diablo. It’s tough to gauge the scale in a picture; it’s huge!
Part of the Garganta del Diablo, up close
One of many stunning butterflies we’ve seen on the trip

After soaking in the majesty of the Garganta, we walked the 3/4 mile or so back to the train station, where we caught the train to the intermediate stop on the line. While waiting for lunch, we were entertained by coatis. Coatis are raccoon-like animals that are smart, quick, and quite brazen. They have no qualms about climbing onto your chair or going through your stuff. We saw one make off with a box of crackers stolen from an unsuspecting and quite shocked tourist! To avoid incidents, most people eat their lunch at picnic tables set within a large steel cage. A taste of what it’s like to be on the inside of a zoo.

Cooling off after lunch

Reinforced by lunch, we set out for the “circuito inferior” – one of the 2 paths from this location. The name signifies only that the path is lower than the “superior” path; there is nothing inferior about it. The view of the falls from this path is simply astonishing. Sheets of green and white water cascade over the cliff, surrounded on all sides by lush vegetation. A mist of spray hides the bottom of the cataracts, and bird song competes for attention with the roar of the water. It’s no surprise that Iguazú often features in Hollywood blockbusters such as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (Igauzú also features in countless selfies, and the preening and posing can be ridiculous).

One of my favorite spots in the world. A tiny phone or computer screen can’t do this justice.

It was now late afternoon, and all of us were hot and tired. We elected to skip the “superior” path across the top of the falls. Refreshed by some ice cream, we headed back to the hotel. A thunderstorm moved in just as we were pulling away from the park. What timing!

I first saw Igauzú on our honeymoon, and feel incredibly fortunate that I was able to come back. Tourist attractions can leave you thinking “that’s nice” or “glad I saw it, don’t need to see it again.” Despite the heat, humidity, and dificulte of getting here, it’s one place I hope to return again someday. For now though, our trip continues.

Next stop: Buenos Aires!

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