On our last day in Puerto Iguazu we finally got to see Iguazu Falls! After days of rain, and afternoons of getting tipsy and munchy, we finally got a nice, sunny day, climbed on the bus and spent most of the day at the falls. We talked about the Brazilian side of the falls, but I think about 80% of the falls are on the Argentinian side so we might as well stay there even though we were told in advance the Devil’s Throat was closed.
We paid our ARS130 each and entered the Iguazu National Park… 🙂 The Devil’s Throat was closed, and apparently will be until later in the year (as we’re only publishing this on December 28 2014, it was reopened yesterday). Walkways and the railway out to that part of the waterfalls were completely washed away during the huge recent torrential downpour, and inaccessible; however that still left all the other loops and trails open for exploration! It might be the best part of the falls and I really wish we hadn’t missed it, but its not like we had a choice.
After you get through the entrance you follow the Green Trail for about 15 minutes through the wetland jungle. Here we split up from the others who were more interested in taking a boat ride near the waterfalls to get a close up experience, but we decided to head straight to the top. The Upper Circuit was a really short trail on the map so we decided to hit that first. Just like the Devils Throat, due to unusually high flooding the last few outlooks were unfortunately closed off for the day so it was a short hike. We took our time hanging around Salto Bossetti and above the Dos Hermanas, but by that time crowds were swarming in so we only hung out for a few minutes before retreating back to the entrance. Although our time was short, this was definitely the best vista over all of the Iguazu falls.
Heading north we decided to head towards the Lower Circuit first or the Yellow Trail. It only takes about 45 minutes without too many people if you take your time, and we got a lot of great views of the area, the Brazilian side of the Falls, the Iguazu river which was swollen with choppy brown water from the flooding, and especially the Island San Martin right in the middle of the falls. It was gorgeous to see and very misty but due to the flooding the ferry to the island was closed at the time and we couldn’t get any closer or check out what must be a beautiful trail with the best waterfall vista, the Orange Trail on the island. On all our photos the water is a rusty brown color, though many people assured us that usually it’s beautifully clear; I didn’t mind it at all – it’s kind of special… it looked more real and genuine. At some lookout points you stood next to the crashing cascade of water, at others we were ‘on top’ of it, feeling like you’re going over the lip of the waterfall yourself. It felt surreal, but it definitely hit home how powerful that much water is, especially when it has direction and some momentum.
We continued on the metal railing platforms which offer a great vantage point over the whole Iguazu bowl, I think the waterfalls are all 60-80 meters high, and there’s a couple hundred all banded together which made it look, and sound like the top side was the edge of another continent draining onto a lower one. It’s taller than Niagra Falls in North America, and wider than Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia. There was a constant roar as we walked from platform to platform, sometimes walking over smaller waterfalls that with one quick tumble could sure whisk you to a watery grave. We were hoping to see the main lookout point of the island, but the whole western side of the island was continuously submerged in a towering blanket of mist from the falls, it never let up, although the mist rainbows made up for that.
The best part of the Lower Circuit for me is getting right up to the Dos Hermanas waterfalls. The closer you get there’s a line waiting in the muggy mist to grab a photo. But it’s an amazing angle and the closest I got up to the falls, so getting soaked braving the solid waterfall mist was definitely worth it, (Marelise wussed out).
After finishing the Lower Circuit we took a break to watch the roving packs of Coati’s looking for tourists simple enough to feed them, and slowly headed for the exit. They look like cute anteater raccoons, but apparently they pack a mean bite. Although the Disneyesque Jungle train that usually takes people towards the Devil’s Throat wasn’t running on that side, we hopped on the Train for a slow, relaxed magic carpet ride back towards the entrance.
Honestly it was a couple months ago and my words can’t do Iguazu any justice, so just check out our photos and share in the Awe we felt.