Day 27 – Iguazu – the Centrepiece Highlight of our trip!
We started our Wednesday with breakfast at the hotel and then were only slightly delayed waiting for 2 of our tour group (Carmella and Carlos from Spain) who slept in – but no problems. The only other 2 people were a mother/daughter from Puerto Rico – Carmen & Pidgeon(?). The mother ended up passing on the tour as it involved lots of hiking and she was not up to it. Our tour guide Jorge (George) switched from Spanish to English throughout which was fine.
We started with the hike out to the Garganta del Diablo (Devils Throat), then followed the Top Trail. After lunch the other 3 took the optional boat tour into the falls, but Mike & I opted for the Low Trail hike with Jorge guiding us (and glad we did!).
Words fail me to portray my senses at seeing and hearing Iguazu Falls. I have visited mountain ranges, glaciers, buttes and mesas, deserts and fjords, waterfalls and coral reefs; been on safari in the Serengeti, catamaran sailing in the Great Barrier Reef, and climbed Kilimanjaro – but I think Iguazu has impressed me the most of anything. I can’t imagine being the first European to witness the site – and the native locals must have been just as awed even if accustomed to them.
Some random facts that I picked up from Jorge:
– 2.7 kilometers of continuous waterfalls
– Argentinian park created in 1934 as the 2nd National park in Argentina
– in 1984 Iguazu Falls were declared a Unesco Heritage Site
– over 270 cascades (falls) make up Iguazu Falls
– highly variable water flow depending upon the season and amount of rainfall – fully fed by rainfall, no lakes upstream
– Devils Throat is over 100 feet higher than Niagara
Even the technology to make them accessible is remarkable – the effort and construction skill needed to build the walkways is exceptional!
The butterflies and other wildlife were also memorable – So many butterflies landing on you and on everything around – all sizes and colours. Jorge showed us one which was blue/grey mottled and the male makes a loud ticking sound to attract the female. We also came across many Argentinian raccoons, alligators, turtles along with birds, hanging birds nests, and many spiders with huge nests. But sadly we spotted no monos (monkeys) – which is apparently not usual.
While Mike was photoing on our afternoon tour, Jorge and I talked orchids, which are unfortunately not in flowering season right now but the forest is full of them. He showed me photos of his at home – some on his trees, some in pots, some cultivated from wild and others bought – including the strawberry orchid which smells of …. yup, strawberry.
In the evening we joined our nuevo amigos (Carlos, Carmella and Pidgon) at La Rueda again for a fantastic dinner and had a wonderful time late into the evening. We’ve exchanged email addresses and will share some photos with them – they shot all video so really want some of Mike’s photos.
Michael was in photographers glory with such spectacular views. Weaning down to a reasonable number was impossible, so below are some of Michaels photos, followed by 3 of his videos – be sure to watch with the sound on to get the full effect! I took many GoPro videos also, but editing is more complicated and they will follow at a future date. Tomorrow we head to the Brazilian side for even more views – can’t wait!