28 September 2010

iguazu falls, argentina

I went to las Cataratas de Iguazú at the intersection of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina expecting to see a pretty waterfall, take a few photos and head off. Instead, I was absolutely blown-away-impressed. I can see why Eleanor Roosevelt, upon seeing Iguazu Falls for the first time, said, "Poor Niagara!"

When you enter the park, you walk across the gigantic Iguazu River on these catwalks that don't feel particularly sturdy compared to the water rushing by not so far below.

Especially when you see the old catwalks that washed away in a flood in 1992:

But it's amazingly open, and you feel like you're walking on water.

As you approach the falls, you can see the spray coming back up from the splash of the waterfalls far below.

And again, you're on these metal platforms suspended over the water that make you feel like nothing is separating you from the thundering waterfall.

I was mostly impressed by the power of the waterfall. This was no pretty little trickle. It felt like the ocean was dropping right in front of (and below) me.

I loved the simple, barebones bridges and viewing platforms they had.

We spent the whole day just walking around, seeing Iguazu from different angles. Each side was lovelier than the previous. If Iguazu were a woman, her beauty would be legendary.

Going to the "lower falls" was a definite highlight of the visit, and you get to be (soaked) right at the foot of the falls. Perfect for a hot day of hiking.

The view was different but equally stunning:

Later, we could see the viewing platform from above:

Speaking of hiking, the trails were beautiful, and there were waterfalls of all shapes and sizes everywhere.

As if the majesty of the falls weren't enough, there were more butterflies of all colors and sizes than I'd ever seen, and they flitted around us with no fear at all. It made the waterfalls and forests feel enchanted. There was one I never got a photo of that had black and white stripes like a zebra with a bright red border. It was almost shocking to see.

There were lizards and monkeys in the trees, as well as coatis (leaner South American version of the racoon) all over.

The coati is a pretty neat animal. I didn't know this about racoons, either, but they're double-jointed and have ankles that can rotate beyond 180 degrees, enabling them to climb down trees face-first. My inner nerd thought that was pretty cool.

We really enjoyed the little town of Puerto Iguazu, and we found the cars and view from our room charming:

In the airport, we discovered just how seriously they take their tea:

We also liked that the National Yerba Mate Institute's hot water dispenser was located conveniently next to the battery recycling bin.

As luck would have it, we actually got an aerial view of Iguazu Falls when we flew out:

Next time I need to feel peaceful and get away to a mental paradise, this might be the image I conjure up:


  1. Beautiful, thank you for the amazing pictures and the feeling of the place.
    I got a google alert because I wrote a book entitled "What Would You Do If You Had No Fear? Living Your Dreams While Quakin' in Your Boots"

    You sure are living yours! Diane Conway

  2. Hi, Diane,

    Thanks for your comment and kind words. I love the question, "What would you do if you had no fear?" I'll check out your book to see what your take on it is. :-)