Saturday, July 11, 2009

Let the water flow

While parts of Argentina might be dry with desert - Misiones certainly isn´t! After a 20 hour bus ride from Cordoba, I woke in the Misones province, in the north of Argentina, and bordering Brazil and Paraguay, to the sight of moist red soil, mist, and jungle. This was a very different Argentina to the one I had just left.

The reason I was there, to justify the hours on the bus was the magnificent sight of Iguazu Falls. Iguazu falls is right on the border of Argentina and Brazil. In fact there is a different national park on each side - one Brazilian, one Argentine. Each with a separate entrance fee, and requires crossing the border between Brazil and Argentina. It feels just the teensiest bit like a tourist trap.

It´s the first place I had been that really felt touristy. However there´s not really anything that will prepare you for the sight of the falls, and there´s a realisation that the multitude who visit every year are justified. It´s an impressive sight! In particular, I found the most incredible part (most people do) is the Garganta del Diablo, the Devil´s Throat, where the Iguazu river flows over the edge of the basalt plateau in a horseshoe like shape into the chasm below. The spray from the massive volume of water means that you can´t see the bottom of the falls. I read that the volume of water going over the falls was the equivalent of every Australian taking a shower at the same time, in the same place.

I visited both sides of the falls - the Argentine side has more to do, i.e. more trails, viewpoints and quite possibly more opportunities to be alone amongst the nature. I loved watching the butterflies flit around from plant to plant. The Brazilian sight had some great viewpoints of the fall... and also a path where you are sure to get soaked from the spray from the Garganta del Diablo. However you can see what there is to see in a couple of hours, which for me worked out well, as my bus to Buenos Aires left at 4.30. And I still needed to get back to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina...

I didn´t see a toucan or a jaguar. But a coati did pinch my lunch. Somehow that didn´t quite make up for it.

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