Monday, October 22, 2012

Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil 9/14

From Buenos Aires, we took a long 21 hour bus ride to our next destination, the Iguazu Falls at the border of Argentina and Brazil.
See Google Earth KML file.

Crossing the border was relatively easy as Quarup was traveling with his Brazilian passport and Laure still had her Brazilian Visa from her last visit. If you are planning on visiting as an American citizen, it is best to get a Brazilian Visa ahead of time in the U.S. or arrive a day or two early in Iguazu to get it there.
See Google Earth KML file.

Argentina and Brazil each has its own Iguazu park that is worth visiting. From the Argentinian side, you can get really close to the waterfalls and enjoy the nearly overwhelming views. The Brazilian side offers more panoramic viewpoints that allow visitors to see most of the mile wide waterfalls. We decided to stay at a hotel for two nights in the Brazilian side, which allowed us to leave our bags there throughout our stay while we visited both parks.
Astonishing view at Garganta del Diablo.
Laure at Garganta del Diablo.
The falls seemed to go on forever.
The Upper Circuit took us to the top of many waterfalls.
The Lower Circuit took us to lower viewpoints. 
We decided to visit both parks in a single day, which turned out to be fairly easy by planning a little the previous night and hiring a driver. The two must-dos in the Argentinian side is to see the views from Garganta del Diablo ("Devil's Throat") and to take a boat ride, where the boat takes you about 20 feet from where the water falls. The rebounded splash and roar of the water was enough to dwarf us and remind us power of the waterfalls even at such distance. It gives us goosebumps to imagine the violent crash that would occur to any poor soul that got a little too close to the edge of the falls.
The boats got exhilaratingly close to the falls. 
We were completely drenched after the boat ride.
On the Brazilian side, there is more variety of outdoor activities such as rock climbing and more exposed hikes. It also has its own boat tour, although we heard it is not as exhilarating as its Argentinian counterpart. The one must-do in the Brazilian side is to walk on the paths along the river shore and take in the panoramic views of the waterfalls.
The Brazilian side provides wide views of the falls.
Catwalks allowed us to taunt the gods by walking all the way to the edge of the falls.
We also saw a lot of wildlife in both sides of Iguazu. We were particularly tormented by raccoon-like animals named coatis that kept trying to steal our food.
These cute pests named coatis love to steal empanadas.
Keep an eye out for centipede-like creatures.
Butterflies were abundant in the early spring.
Check out Quarup's butterfly.
Back when we were planning the trip, we did not originally intend to visit Iguazu. We added this side trip just before we bought the flight, which really paid off because the falls were so grandiose and astonishing that we will never forget the experience.