Posted by: Dave | February 24, 2009

Iguaza Falls and Brazil, or not.

Iguazu Falls are special. They´re an overwhelming display of the earth´s raw power and a reminder that the land was shaped by forces that have nothing to do with humans.  I really don´t know what else to say about the falls other than that I was completely awed by the amount of water that tumbles over the myraid walls at any one time. This is not a waterfall (singular). This is a series of giant waterfalls that span as far as the eye can see. For most of us, the “go-to” visual for a waterfall is a river that´s cut in half and the water falls straight down and continues below. This is not Iguazu.  Iguazu is a large river that basically lost one of its sides… so some water falls here, some there, some later on. For about 3km. Imagine the Mississippi just lost it´s side for a mile and  half and the water dropped 270 feet. That´s Iguazu.

I arrived at Puerto Iguazu, the nearest city in Argentina to the falls, on Friday morning after my 18 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires. That was completely uneventful and easy, so we can gloss over it and get to the real subject – Iguazu Falls.  There are two places to view the falls: on the Argentinian side, where you get closer to the falls, and on the Brazilian side where you get more panoramic views.  The park is pretty well maintained, and is the most expensive of the parks that I´ve been to… AR$60 or $17-ish US.   The pictures really tell the story and give a far better feel than I can explain, but I need to add one detail: I think this is the hottest place I´ve ever been. It was about 100 degrees with 100% humidity. And no breeze.  I guess it is the middle of the jungle after all…

Brazil on the left, Argentina on the right, and one part of Iguazu Falls in the middle. That fall is called Garganta del Diablo.

Brazil on the left, Argentina on the right, and one part of Iguazu Falls in the middle. That fall is called Garganta del Diablo.

A different part of the falls... on the Argentine side.

A different part of the falls... on the Argentine side.

For some context, look at the viewing stand in the middle of the picture to get an idea of how tall the people are.

For some context, look at the viewing stand in the middle of the picture to get an idea of how tall the people are.

Two Black-headed Vultures look through Las Ventanas...

Two Black-headed Vultures look through Las Ventanas...

Lots of water...

Lots of water...

There really is water falling everywhere.

There really is water falling everywhere.

The San Martin falls... lots of water!

The San Martin falls... lots of water!

A toucan checking out the falls!

A toucan checking out the falls!

The view from the top of Garganta del Diablo

The view from the top of Garganta del Diablo

Butterflies everywhere...

Butterflies everywhere...

Using a slow shutter speed to get some different effects

Using a slow shutter speed to get some different effects

Another look at a part of the falls

Another look at a part of the falls

I have so many pictures (and I´ve had a nightmare getting them uploaded today), so I´ll attach a gallery of the full collection once I get home in a couple of weeks.

I had intended to go to Brazil on Sunday, but at 9am when I got to the border, I was informed that my lack of a visa to travel to Brazil would keep me out. Yeah… I got the Heisman from a Brazilian border official. That´s a pretty weird feeling.  Americans can´t visit Brazil without a visa… which is a silly thing that´s happened post-9/11 as Brazilian didn´t like our fingerprinting rules.  All reports were that the visa wasn´t needed for a day trip to the Brazilian side of the falls… but that leniency has been set aside temporarily. The guard I talked to blamed it on Carnivale, which is in full swing in Brazil. Oh well. So I went back to the Argentinian side and checked out some different angles that I hadn´t seen on Saturday.

Weird feeling, getting blocked from visiting a country.

Despite that hiccup, it was a phenomenal experience. Once again I was graced with great weather (including a cool t-storm overnight)… and Iguazu Falls goes very close to the top of my must-see-in-your-lifetime recommendations.

I´d really like to post more photos, but the computer situation is a real hassle and I don´t want to spend 5 hours inside an internet cafe when Buenos Aires is beckoning.

I leave tomorrow for Peru.  Will update from there before heading out on the trek to Machu Picchu.

Thanks for checking in…

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the vicarious visit you’ve afforded Mom and me. Iguazu Falls appears to rank with the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef on any bucket list. Great photos and descriptions.

  2. These photos are absolutely amazing! Love the toucan!

  3. Wow!

    Those must be some of the largest Waterfalls on earth!

    I love waterfalls.

    What a great place to hang out and take pictures.

    I bet there is wildlife everywhere there.

  4. Hey Dave! After 18 hours on a bus, you deserve a great treat like those incredible falls! Wow! Love your photos!


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