Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Iguazu Falls: The Brazilian Side

It was a stinking hot day when we arrived in Iguazu in Northern Argentina...the stink factor may have been caused by the fact that we´d been on a bus for 16 hours and were wearing hiking boots, jumpers and other completely inappropriate gear for 47 degree heat but we weren´t complaining, we knew that over the next couple of days we´d be seeing more water than Noah had seen from the window of his ark. And water was exactly the reason we´d come to Iguazu. In fact the word Iguazu means ´big water´.

Bigger than Niagara (but smaller than Victoria) Iguazu falls promised a lot but delivered a lot more. Iguazu lies on the boarder of Brazil and Argentina but the falls need to be seen from both sides. From the Argentinian side, you get an up close and personal view of different facets of the falls. From the Brazilian side you can see how they all fit together with a panorama that leaves you speechless...and very wet! Click on the image below to enlarge it if you want to see the world rankings of largest waterfalls.

We were a bit nervous about the hot weather breaking into a heavy downpour so we went to the Brazilian side first to ensure we didnt miss out. The problem was that we didnt have visas and organising one was a bit of a pain. As it turns out there are other ways of getting across on the hush by going on a Brazilian organised excursion. So the following morning some army looking guy rocked up to our hostel. He looked out our flip flops disapprovingly, looked at our passports quizzically and shook his head a lot as we tried out our horrible Spanish on him. Nevertheless, we hopped in his 4x4 and half an hour later we were in Foz do Iguazu in Brazil.

Upon entering the park, we were told just how we were going to get the falls. It was no simple measure. There were several modes of transport - some of which were entirely unnecessary. Although we had to sign an indemnity form it was more of a formality and our guide didnt really care if we had a number for our next of kin or not. Click on the picture below to see our first impressions of the park.alt=

So we signed away our lives and embarked on a gentle 10 minute walk into the national park whereupon we found our first mode of transport, very VERY well used bicycles. After 9 bouncy kms our tushes were well bruised and strangely my hands had big purple marks on them from resisting the downhills so hard. Weeks later I would learn the subtle art of gear changing that would dramatically improve my downhill riding experience. Click on the the photo below for a short video of my after thoughts...alt=

After that we dumped our bikes and took another walk into the unknown. Up and up we climbed into a tree house. It was here we would get a bird´s eye view of some of the wild life in the park. Sadly we didnt see much but in the murky water below we did see a baby alligator. Here you can see us schvitzing away in the tree house...

It was time for a boat ride and some lunch...where were these waterfalls? Were we sailing out to them now? No it was time for more physical exertion! We headed off to a little island where kayaks awaited us. Would we kayak out to the falls? Nope, we would row for a few meters and then jump into the water. No complaints this time, the water was a welcome relief.

Seriously, where were the promised falls? Only a jeep, bus and trail walk away. Here you can see a sneak preview of the first of many views of the falls, if this photo was all we saw it would have been enough but it wasn´t. As we walked on the view became more and more spectacular...click below to hear how we mistook these baby waterfalls for the real deal...alt=

Now that we had seen the falls in all its glory, it was time to take a speedboat under them to experience the real meaning of water pressure. If only we had brought some shampoo with us, we could have had the most luxurious shower since arriving in Argentina! Click on the photo below for a quick video taken just before our speed boat went under the falls...alt=

Watch this space for the next installment of Iguazu - The Argentinian Side...

No comments: