Those massive Iguazú Falls

Sunday 25 to Tuesday 27 February

It was another short flight from Córdoba to Puerto Iguazú. Flying seems the most economical way to move around Argentina.

We walked into town to find money and information.  We found the bus stop to the falls. It’s a 20km journey from Puerto Iguazú. I must be looking old, or tired, as frequently in South America young people have given up their seat for me. Am I impressed or depressed?

There is a little train that takes you to Devil’s Throat, the most impressive part of the falls. From there is a long boardwalk to reach this part of the falls. They were fantastic. I always try to take a photo to match my first impression. The boardwalk took us from island to island. There was the remains of a previous walkway, destroyed by floods. At 500 pesos each for entry, keeping the National Park running must be a priority. On the way we saw fish, they are small above the Falls as there are no predators, they all live below the falls. There were also a couple of turtles and a cloud of pretty yellow and green butterflies.

There were cheeky birds, unfortunately encouraged to stay around because the tourists are feeding them. 

And it was here that my run of broken things continued – this time a screw on my sunglasses fell out, probably into Iguazú Falls. 

After queuing for a long time to get a real and very refreshing lemonade, we set off for the lower circuit. We figured the lower circuit would give us better views of the falls rather than viewing from the top. We were not disappointed.

It was here that we saw monkeys and coatis. The monkeys will chase the coatis away to protect their food. We even watched a monkey cleverly open a rubbish bin and dive in to find ‘something’. But most extraordinary was the bigger male monkey who climbed a tree and shook it. This broke the spider webs that were hanging between trees, creating a feeding frenzy. One of the monkeys even caught the spider as it dropped from its web and quickly munched it. 

When we returned to the hotel we took a walk down to the Three Borders Park lookout point. Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil meet at the confluence of the Rio Iguazú and San Antonio River

Next morning we walked into town for breakfast, and then back along the Rio Iguazú. First we found a memorial to Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who ‘discovered’ Iguazú Falls in 1541. We have long learnt that a monument to a European’s discovery is rather meaningless. The subject of the ‘discovery’ has been around and known to and used by the local indigenous people for ever. Or perhaps I am becoming blasé, with all my travels?

More interestingly is a statue of el Vasco de la Carretilla (the Basque of the wheelbarrow). Guillermo Isidoro Larregui Ugarte came from Basque region Spain and worked in South America. In 1935, after a bet made with friends, he pushed his wheelbarrow more than 20,000 kilometres through much of South America, before settling at Iguazú Falls, on River Iguazú in Argentina. He died there in 1964.

We left Argentina to travel to Brazil. It is across the river, by taxi. It was quick and easy, the taxi driver stopped at the Argentinian border and we were processed whilst sitting in the car. He stopped again on the Brazil side where we had to queue to be processed. Once again very quick. And what about the tourist tax for Iguazú Falls in Argentina? We were never asked for it. 

It is raining, the tropical downpour type that doesn’t last long but leaves the atmosphere hot and steamy. How lucky are we to have had bright blue skies and fluffy clouds for our day at the falls. Perhaps that thing called fate is giving us some decent weather when we need it, now that we have booked our passage home.