Iguazu Falls is truly one of those breath-taking places to see nature in all its glory. The falls form part of the Amazon River that runs throughout the Amazon Jungle and across South America.
In 2008, I visited Iguazu from the Argentinian side which offers the best views of waterfalls. Iguazu is a must should you visit Brazil or Argentina, it’s also an opportunity to visit the border of the Amazon and discover its beautiful nature.
The word Iguazu come from the native Guarani and Tupi words “y” meaning big, and “ûasú” meaning water.
The Guarani legend of the falls says that there was once powerful serpent god, named M’poi, who was worshipped by the people along the river. Every year a maiden had to be sacrificed to appease this serpent god. There was a beautiful maiden named Naipi who had pleased M’poi and she was to be sacrificed and become his wife. A brave warrior in the tribe, named Taroba, had fallen in love with Naipi and together they planned to escape in a canoe on her wedding day. M’poi was furious when he found out, and in revenge created a huge gorge in the river. This gorge in turn created the huge waterfalls, so the lovers would fall to their death.
We decided to take the bus up to the town of Puerto Iguazu, it was much cheaper and we had the time. However, it was exhausting as that summer in Argentina was really hot.
Taking the bus from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu in Misiones, will take you about 15 hours. You can get the bus at the main bus terminals in BA and book your ticket on arrival. The buses are luxury liners and rather comfortable. We slept on the bus until we reached our destination the next morning. You can take a flight, but I heard those are ridiculously expensive, however it’s recommended if you’re strapped for time.
Puerto Iguazu is a small town which lies at the border of the Amazon, and your nearest stop before going to the conservation area which offers the tour routes around Iguazu. The town is sleepy, and mainly has accommodation for tourists. It was summer, and being so close to the jungle meant it was hot and extremely humid. Our hotel came with a PC room (by now they should have wifi) and a pool to relax and cool off.
Our hotel had this big mess up and didn’t have the room we booked for. So we were split up. Their services also offered a free BBQ the evening. We were only there for 2 days, before returning back to Buenos Aires.
On arriving at Iguazu you will be greeted by a ranger who will ask you to watch your belongings and not litter etc. There are strange golden coloured raccoon looking animals called coati that roam all around the premises and forests. They are rather used to humans, and will attack any bag they can get their paws on.
There are 2 sides to visit the valley of waterfalls. The one side you get to walk over wooden bridges above and below to watch the falls fall into the rivers below.
From the ground you can walk up to the walk way that lies right below one of the big falls. The sound of the water fall is extremely loud, but it’s really refreshing to stand nearby one and let the refreshing water mists cool you off from the jungle heat.
The trees and vegetation here are so abundant and dense, that water drips down from the branches due to condensation. There’s plenty of birdlife which can be seen flying above the treetops, large lizards scuttling between the bushes and lots of pretty colourful butterflies in different sizes. The butterfly collection in the forests here are amazing, I’ve never seen so many species, some were extremely huge and they gathered on just about any surface!
The air is also much heavier due to the density and high levels of clean oxygen provided by the forests.
The Devil’s Throat (El Garganta del Diablo)
To reach the other side of the valley to view the biggest waterfall, you can take a little train, known as the Ecological Train. It’s rather cute and charming and a bit of relief for not having to walk in the heat.
On board the Eco Train
You will walk along another long wooden walkway (El Paseo Garganta del Diablo) and view the wonderful ravines along the way. Then you will hear a loud thundering ahead as you near the giant waterfall known as The Devil’s Throat. This is one huge roaring waterfall, and it curves right around the valley. Little birds live and dart between the cliffs behind the gushing water. It was truly a sight to behold, and let you know how insignificant you are against the forces of nature.
Above El Garganta del Diablo (The Devil’s throat)
We had some time to spare before we caught the bus home to our hotel. Me and my friend decided to take a small walk through the forest to check out a waterfall to take a swim in. This walk was a tad bit creepy with lots of random scuttling in the bushes and walking past big spider webs with big spiders which had long yellow legs. As the sun was setting, I decided to stop to take my shades off, but the minute I stopped I was attacked by mosquitoes in all directions. Best to keep walking!
We eventually got our bus and relaxed before our trip back to Buenos Aires. Iguazu is pretty awesome, and a great way to experience just a small piece of the Amazon jungle. There is more wildlife to observe and capture, and I will definitely make a point of doing that should I return.
Iguazu Falls is also one of the 7 wonders of the world and also the largest waterfall system in the world, majestic can hardly be a word to describe this amazing work of nature.
It was said Taroba was turned into a tree, and across from him Naipi into a rock in the gushing falls. Every time a rainbow appears at the falls, Naipi and Taroba will cross it and meet again.
- Iguazu might be on the very border of the Amazon, but it’s not in the heart of it. You don’t need any special vaccinations. Me and my companions checked if we needed any shots before, we left and it stated we didn’t. Plus, the mosquitos came out in the evenings, and the park is closed before sunset.
- Wear comfortable closed shoes,and sunscreen
- Keep your bags above the ground as the coati will attack it.
- Bring lots of water
- Stick to the walkways and paths. You don’t want to be on the next episode of “I Shouldn’t be Alive”.