Iguazu Falls

1-4 January

We slept fairly well considering the New Year’s Eve revellers continued well into the morning – many were letting off ‘bangers’ nearby, which startled us from the early clutches of sleep, but after a while, we no longer heard them, and slipped into oblivion.

Nic and her welcome drink at Los Troncos (all sugar, no alcohol!)

The Devil’s Throat…and the people ready for their close up!

The view of the pool from our balcony at Los Troncos

The queue to get on the train to The Devil’s Throat at Iguazu Falls

The beginning of 2011 meant packing for a new destination. The shopping has not blown out our luggage beyond belief (surprising, I know!). Have been quite restrained in this area, actually! Didn’t sleep in as long as expected, and so managed to get everything sorted with plenty of time to spare, using the excess time to finish off all the remaining food in the fridge for lunch – left over ‘Verve’ included!

Raccoon-like animals, ‘coati’, at Iguazu

The walking path to The Devil’s Throat

Our flights to Puerto Iguazu (the town nearest the falls on the Argentinian side) were uneventful, thankfully! We were met at the airport and taken to the nice little family resort called ‘Los Troncos’ (Los Troncos) We were greeted by impeccably presented and knowledgeable staff, who saw us to our rooms, and then gave us welcome drinks in the pool/lounge/restaurant area once we had freshened up. This B&B really is geared for families, in terms of facilities – the rooms were very big, sleeping a couple (in a loft bedroom, with double bed that wasn’t long enough for John!), and 4 single beds downstairs. It did have a lovely balcony off the loft that overlooked the pool and jungle-like vegetation surrounding the place, which was perfect for drinks and blogging and skyping loved ones back home. All in all, a pleasant and very economical place to stay.

The walkway and falls

The walkway and falls

We walked into the centre of town (a few blocks away) for dinner. Puerto Iguazu was a very welcome change from the cities we have recently visited – it really was a country town. When we asked Belen if it was safe to walk into town, she actually looked very surprised and said, “Of course!” Nice change not to have that concern constantly at the back of our minds. Our dinner was had at ‘La Esquina.’ Just what the doctor ordered. Instead of having the endless buffet on offer (which is often the undoing of us BOTH!), we instead had the local river fish, surubi, grilled to perfection, with a side order of grilled vegetables. Bliss! We then enjoyed a leisurely walk home by the street lights, making friends with the many stray dogs escorting us on our journey.

Nic and John at The Devil’s Throat

Is this magnificent, or what?!

The next day was our first at the Falls. At a fairly reasonable time we caught the yellow tourist bus to the National Park (about 30 minutes journey or a bit less), but still didn’t manage to beat the crowds. Or, we DID beat the masses who were to descend on the park later in the day – we just didn’t have it all to ourselves. I think for a place like Iguazu Falls, there will ALWAYS be crowds! We took the little park train to ‘Devil’s Throat’ – the “biggy” of the falls – and walked along the metal bridges and walkways to the overwhelming display of nature at its best. There was a vertiginous sense of falling as we approached the roaring mass of water. Everyone on the walkway wanted their ‘moment’, and they were clambering for the best position – I think at one point there was even shoulder barging! The thunder and spray of the falls was exhilarating, but the squeals of excited tourists (and the points of their elbows!), and the offers of the pushy ‘professional’ photographers began to grate. But taking a deep breath, the annoyance and press of the tourists disappeared as we stood there, enthralled; stunned by the enormity of it all.

…And again!

Yet, another cool looking bird in South America

…and butterfly…

...and lizard...

…and lizard…

...and flower

…and flower

Instead of taking the return train back to the centre of the park, we opted for the eco adventure canoe ride. Saw some interesting birds, and an Argentinian couple lose their phone over the side of the boat (well…it slide out of HIS pocket, and SHE wasn’t very happy about it). No caman on this trip, though. Nocturnal, and all that. Shame.

A different view of the falls

We had a rushed lunch at one of the many fast food options around (vege pattie on white bread with a scrap of tired old lettuce – noice!), and explored many more walks and viewing points. The falls really are so vast, that there are many opportunities to savour the amazing aspects of their magnificence! Absolutely jaw-droppingly-breathtaking. The tourists were a complete pain in the arse, though! How hard is it to move to one side on a walkway, so that us fit, agile people can pass the chainsmoking, slowpokes?! It’s not rocket science, people, just common sense and manners!! After a couple of hours of ‘perdon’ and ‘permisso’ and shoulderbarging, we went to the Sheraton for drinks and afternoon tea. Ah, yes, born to this way of life!

This is the point of the falls that we were later to attack in our boat!

The next day we went to the Brazilian consulate to sort out Nic’s visa issues (located in a little house just around the corner from where we were staying). No real problem. Just had to put in another application and pick it up the next day. Nic was still a little miffed that she was treated with the same disdain as those disorganised tourists who haven’t done their homework and just turned up expecting to be let into the country – the bloody passport was stolen, you knobs! She wasn’t unprepared!!

Another lovely little section called ‘Two Brothers Falls’

The view from the Sheraton

Tiny little bird and large flower

After lodging visa application, caught later bus to the National Park with just the right amount of time to spare before our scheduled hairy, lary jet boat ride on the river and underneath a section of the falls. Sodding brilliant! (But John insists on saying ‘sodden brilliant!’) Got completely saturated and loved every second of it! So very cool! Got extra bit of joy from the hilarious Japanese family having the time of their lives, as were we, giggling and squealing with excitement. Exchanged many a big grin and ‘thumbs up’ with them.

On our safari on the way to our boat ride adventure

The falls from river level

A tad wet!

Afterwards, to dry off, we walked to a small hidden waterfall (nowhere near the amount of tourists as other walks…probably because it was ‘hidden’) – the Sendero Macuco Trail. It was about a two and a half hour return trip through relatively unexciting forest, but it was lovely and cool, and allowed us the time to dry off from our drenching. However, on the walk back from the waterfall, we encountered a little community of monkeys. There were SO MANY of the them, about 15-20, all around us, on the track, hanging from branches, suckling young right beside us. One was crouching on the track with her baby on her back, and when we stopped to look, another came up behind her and protectively put a hand on the baby’s back. So sweet. We didn’t try to approach them, of course, but thoroughly enjoyed watching them for 15 minutes. Such a wonderful, perfect moment!

Our fun with the monkeys begins!

How cheeky and cute is he?

Commandos!…and NOT because they are not wearing underpants!

From our primitive, yet wonderous, experience in nature, we headed to the Sheraton for lunch. More wonderful fish and shrimp, prepared beautifully, accompanied by some fantastic Argentinian wine (again!). Our timing for lunch was superb – it was so lovely sitting, eating and sipping while a storm blew in – watching the falls and the every changing weather, rain, thunder, brilliant! Spent the evening back at ‘Los Troncos’ blogging while eating crisps, drinking wine and reading. Life’s hard!

Dinner time for bub

‘What are you looking at?’

The next morning we moved at a fairly leisurely pace – packed, picked up new visa (FINALLY!! YAY!!!), and got ready to head to Brazil. Because of the timing of things, we decided to abandon plans of visiting the National Park from the Brazil side, and just made our way to the airport. In the end, we probably could’ve paid a little visit – how were we to know that our plane would be delayed an hour or so?? Oh well.

Los Troncos

About bontaks

Nic is the the ‘Bon’ part of ‘Bontaks.’ Together we are Nic and John – two travel-addicted teachers who enjoy every opportunity to go places, meet people and experience life.

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