DISCLAIMER: This post will be filled with images of Kieran and I shamelessly trying to capture the beauty of Iguazu falls, and yet, I do not think we did it any justice…
We arrived to Puerto Iguazú, Argentina from Montevideo, Uruguay by plane on January 29, 2015 late at night and luckily our B&B host had arranged for her neighbor to pick us up from the airport. We stayed at Casa Yaguarete where we were hosted by Lorena and Andrea who were simply awesome. Andrea was the “silent partner” and the cook while Lorena is the firecracker who was all jokes at all times of the day – even when their brown lab pup Boris was having serious liver problems. By the end of the trip, I must admit, I was a little sad to leave because they were just so wonderful to us. The great thing about this property is the social aspect of meeting other fellow travelers and hanging out with them during breakfast and dinner. On our first night, we met a few folks who were leaving the next morning and who gave us some great tips on how to attack the beast that is Iguazu falls.
The following, is what Kieran and I recommend for your Iguazu trip based on our day to day activities . . .
January 30th, 2015:
Iguazu falls is a HUGE park (one of the natural wonders of the world) on the boarder of 3 different countries (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay). However, you can only enter the park from the Argentina side and the Brazil side.
Day 1 of the Iguazu trip should no doubt start with the Brazilian side, because this is where you get the overall picture of the massiveness of this park. It’s super easy to get to the Brazilian side from Argentina (just a 40 minute bus hop away) and once you pass the border (which takes minutes), you are basically at the park. The Brazilian side is extremely well organized and very clean with a gorgeous hotel right inside the park. However, this side of the park, doesn’t require more than a few hours (I think we saw everything within 3 – 4 hours).
As a US citizen, you are required to have a visa to enter Brazil, so if you do not have it, I think just going to the Argentinian side where you do not need a visa (you just need to pay a reciprocity fee of $160 to enter the country) is plenty wonderful. For EU citizens, a visa is not required for either Argentina or Brazil (Kieran lucks out again).
At the end of day 1, we were exhausted and luckily Lorena had a nice dinner waiting for us when we got back. That night, we got to meet a few other fellow travelers Sarah (from London who is one of the most relaxed, well traveled people I have ever met) and Hans (from Brooklyn, who is a traveling nomad just like Kieran and I who also happens to be a photographer). Hans is a recruiter by day and works while traveling; when Kieran heard this great news, he immediately suggested that I get a job ASAP to support our traveling hobby (in his dreams).
January 31, 2015
Day 2 starts even earlier than day 1 as the Argentinian side of the park is huge and can take up to 10 hours to hike through the entire thing . So, myself, Kieran and Hans were out and about at 7:30 in the morning catching a taxi to the park (which opens at 8am). Below is a map of the park (as you can see, the Brazilian side is tiny by comparisons to the Argentinian side).
Unlike the Brazilian side, this side is far less organized and of course, everything is cash only because of the “dolar blue“. But man, it is STUNNING!!! I highly recommend to start your trip at the top and then work your way down the park (it is very hot at the top and best to get it out of the way while it is still somewhat cool and while the park is kind of quiet). The top is called the “devil’s throat” and it is spectacular – the sound of the power of the falls is numbing (in a good way when surrounded by hundreds of tourists yelling at each other to take a picture). Side Note: I wish the selfie stick was never created – I wanted to break at least 10 while standing there trying to enjoy the peacefulness of the falls.
After the devil’s throat we were off to do the upper trail hike (these hikes are actually very easy; I know, shocking that I would say that). You are really up close and personal with the waterfalls and being that we had a photographer with us in tow, while he was setting up his tri-pod and getting the best shots, Kieran and I really just got a chance to take it all in and not rush through it (oh, and I got to play with the tri-pod – but shhhhh, don’t tell Hans).
After the upper trail, we decided to stop off for lunch and this is where I lose my dignity and likely end up on youtube (though I choose not to check). The guys get Subway sandwiches (yes, in the middle of nowhere in Argentina) while I get a few empanadas.
The park is completely infested with Coati’s which are so unafraid of humans that these rat like animals pretty much sit on your lap. So, I get my lovely, hot empanadas and while the guys are still in line, I go outside to save us all a table. I put my fully paper bag wrapped empanadas on the table and sit down. Then, FIVE of these lovely rats jump through me onto the table and within seconds eat through the bag and carry my empanadas away while I sit frozen in shock and the tourists around me are screaming and taping the whole thing (god bless the rabies shots).
Turns out, the park is so used to these incidents that when I went back to buy a few more empanadas, they just gave me everything for free (or maybe they just felt extremely sorry for me). Needless to say, I spent the rest of the lunch standing up while shoving hot empanadas down my throat.
Next up was the lower circuit and this is where you get really soaked and can “taste the rainbow”. There are really no words…so here are a few pictures …
Just to put it in perspective, here is a slo-mo video of the roar of the falls..
And the final modeling shot of Kieran by Hans Guichardo.
After 9 hours at the park, the 3 of us came back exhausted and yet fully “in awe” of what we saw. We spent a lovely dinner together exchanging stories with Sarah and Hans. To anyone who is considering to see Iguazu, I highly recommend the Argentian side of the park, but if you can do both the Brazilian and Argentinian, then DO IT! You won’t regret it!
The next day was Sunday, also known as rest day for us or as we call it planning our next travel destination. We decided to continue our travels through Argentina and Sarah decided that she would join us at least for the flight portion. So, the 3 of us bought our plane tickets and the next morning we were off to Salta, Argentina!