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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Argentina/Brazil - 1 February, 2002

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Campsite, Puerto Iguazu S2537.362' W05432.912' 202 m
Parque Nacional Iguazu . . . 15 km
-  Tour falls by train, foot and boat . . . 31 km (by foot, train, truck and speed boat)
Argentina-Brazil border (Iguazu) . . . .
Finish Campsite, Youth Hostel, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil S2535.946' W05431.486' 208 m 54 km

Leg 2 Total:

10,165 km

Leg 1 Total:

9,010 km

Galapagos:

771 km

Grand Total:

19,136 km

 

Weather: Overcast with occasional lightning, thunder and rain.  Hot.

 

 

Today we go visit the mighty falls of Iguazu on the Argentina side (we are not sure why all these major falls, such as Niagara and Victoria Falls all seem to be on borders between countries) and it is quite an experience.  We will view them up close and in your face, from on top, from the middle and right at the bottom of the thundering water.

 

We pack up our camp (we will be heading to Brazil this afternoon), and head to the national park, arriving there at 8:30 AM.  Just as we get there, it starts to rain.  We already have our rain jackets out (as protection against the spray from the falls), so at least we are prepared for it.  After a bit of futzing around, we are ready to go on our tour of the falls.  We first take a quick look at the museum - not bad, but we want to get out in the action.  From the falls we take a short walk to the train station, from where we catch an open sided train up to the end of the line.

 

We then enter a long catwalk on the river to take us across to the awesome Garganta del Diablo (the Devil's Throat), a semi-circular falls at the beginning of the huge complex of falls that makes up Iguazu.  As we walk along, we note how high the river is (it has been raining for 10 tens straight - very unusual) and the waters are now at the same level that washed away the old catwalk.  The one we are walking on is brand new - lets hope that it is stronger than the last one.

 

It is an unbelievable experience standing jus over the thundering water that is pouring over the cliff face here.  We are drenched by the spray from the falling water.  The sound is overwhelming and it is mesmerizing to just stand there and watch the tons and tons of water pour over the edge into the abyss below.  Just have to make sure that we do not fall over the railing and join the rushing water in its death drop.  The Devil's Throat forms the most powerful waterfall in the world in terms of volume of water flow per socond

 

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Unfortunately we seem to be on a bit of  a schedule, and we need to leave before we really would like to.  Back along the catwalk to the train, which we take back to the main part of the falls.  We then go on a number of walks around the falls from here.  First is the Circuito Superior, where we walk along the upper edge of the falls, seeing the water fall below us down the many individual falls that make up the Iguazu complex of falls.  There are some stunning views.

 

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Then it is back to the starting point to go on the Circuito Inferior, where we get to view the falls from the middle level.  This gives us the opportunity to get up close to the falls and to really feel their power and violence as the tons of water passes over the edge and thunders onto the ledge below.

 

Argentina02_Iguazu08_Inferior_Jac_C293_Web.jpg (75442 bytes)

At one point, the trail takes you right up to the base of one of the falls.  The noise and spray are awesome.  You feel like you are in the middle of a storm generated by a jet engine with the rush of spray-filled air that is displaced by all that water.  Being in the middle of a car wash must be nothing in comparison.

 

Then it is back up to the top, in a bit of a rush, only to have to wait for the start of our boat trip.  After about 45 minutes, we head off in an open-backed truck for a half hour ride through the jungle to the river at the base of the falls.  The ride is interesting, but not really what we are here for.  Once at the river, we all hop into a boat for a ride up to the falls.

 

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It is an over-powered, medium sized boat that roars up the river against the massive current.  There are quite a few bumps on the way as we pass over the small rapids that dot the river.  After a short ride, we emerge into the amphitheater pool of churning water at the base of the falls.  The boat pauses here and we are able to take a few pictures of the falls in front of us.  This is enough in itself, but there is more.

 

After a few moment, the boat roars up towards the falls on the right and we head right up to the base of the falling wall of water.  The noise, wind and spray are overwhelming.  Our senses are over loaded, as the boat takes us right up to the curtain of water.  After a few moments, the boat turns away and we head back and the up left side to the falls on the other side of  Isla Grande San Martin.  And this ride is even more exhilarating.  He takes right up to the rushing water - it does not seem possible to get any closer to the wall of thundering water.  The bow of the boat seems to be just feet away.  He turns away and we all yell for more and, while we are not sure if they normally go around for a second time, he obliged and we raced up to the thundering water once more. We just took in the spray, the roar and the rush of air.

 

The boat then takes us the short way to the base of the trail that takes us back up to the top by foot.  Our ride had been videotaped and we would have liked to buy the tape, but the co-driver had disappeared in a rush so we did not know where we would be staying that night to have the videotape delivered to us.  We get back to the top of the falls and the car park at 3:30 PM and wait by the truck to head off.

 

We will be taking another Dragoman truck across the border - our truck went ahead to get us a spot at the campsite.  This truck is a bit roomier, so we are able to fit the extra people in.  It is an uneventful crossing of the border, and we meet our truck on the other side of the border.  On our way to the campsite, we stop at a shop where we are also able to change some money.  We have a bit of an accident on our way out, however.  The Encounter truck had pulled in behind us, and when we left, our truck backed right into it.  Smashed the windscreen, put a nice dent in the front and damaged the bull bar.  How embarrassing.  And Jacqui, Paolo and Lars were very sorry to have had our truck hit the truck that had given us the lift to Potosi.

 

After the drivers sorted things out, we headed onto our campsite.  It is a pleasant place, just a little crowded.  After setting up, we do some research on some activities to do and then get ready to head out.  We go for dinner at Refain, a huge complex that has a buffet dinner with a live show.  The food is very good and we stuff ourselves, but the show is nothing special in the sense that it is a compilation of acts from around the world.  We did not really come all the way to Iguazu Falls in Argentina to see a western song or belly dance performed for us.  More local acts would have been better.

 

Then back to the camp to go to bed.

 

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