Travel Journal: Iguazu Falls, Argentinian Side

9 - Iguazu Falls Argentinian Side

The day after visiting the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls, we went on to the Argentinian side!

While the Brazilian side appeared smaller and had a walkway and observatory tower that didn’t take too long to cover, the Argentinian side has a lot more to offer. It is a bit more built up and definitely caters to the tourists with several trails, a short ride on the Rainforest Ecological Train that takes you to the Devil’s Throat, or Devil’s Gorge, jungle walks, an interpretation centre, and a few boat rides to pick from so it was almost like a theme park. We definitely saw more people on the Argentinian side and there were a few more lines (the one waiting for the train and mini bus/4WD truck rides through the park were quite long but at least they moved quickly).

The Argentinian side offered more activities and has a greater number of falls to view, but if you are short on time or prefer to enjoy the falls without enduring lines or too many tourists milling about, the Brazilian side is your best bet. Be mindful, though, my friends and I got to the Brazilian side late in the afternoon, with just enough time to enjoy the falls before entry to visitors closed so I don’t know if it does get more crowded earlier in the day or during peak season. But if you have a few days to spare and have already shelled out the cash to get to Iguazu anyway, I recommend visiting both sides.

When we first got to the main entrance, we had to wait to deal with the entrance operators who would tell us about the various entry packages and activities and helped us settle which one we wanted. I think it was about at this point that I was rolling my eyes because it was yet another fee on top of all the other fees we paid for Iguazu – airline fees, another tourist entry fee into the area, hotel fees,et cetera. The fee wasn’t too bad on its own, but coupled with all the other fees we had to pay just to get to the damn falls, well, it did seem a lot just to see a waterfall, even if it was a pretty damn spectacular one. If I knew the fees went towards helping preserve the environment of the falls, I wouldn’t mind it so much. Actually, I am wondering if it does go towards preservation? Does anyone know?

Ultimately, though, the park entry fee does give you bang for your buck. I’m really sorry, it’s been just over a year now since I actually visited the falls (yeah, I know, super belated post!), so I don’t remember exactly how much we paid in terms of costs, but it does grant you access to a lot of activities and trails at the falls, as you can see on the map below:

15 - Iguazu Argentinian trails map

There’s the Upper Circuit and the Lower Circuit trails for walking (I love that these circuits’ names in Spanish are the Superior Circuit and the Inferior Circuit. Poor Inferior Circuit!), where you can check out the scenery and waterfalls from various view points. There is also a fun speedboat ride which takes visitors up close to the falls. Be warned – you will get wet through and through! Make sure you  bring your bathers as there are plenty of opportunities as well to take a swim by the side of the river. The guys running the boats also life vests and waterproof bags where you can keep your belongings and cameras safe and dry, and they will let you know when to put your cameras away safely if they’re not waterproof and when it’s safe to take them out for some snappy times.

18 - Speed Boat through Iguazu Falls

Looking at the river below which leads between these large misty falls, yes, we did go through and yes we did go up close to the falls and got really, really soaked!

19 - Speed Boat through Iguazu Falls

There is also a slower, gentler boat ride where visitors can check out the flora and fauna of the river up close. They will also do their best to find a crocodile for visitors to view – the guide explained that whoever spots a crocodile first would let the rest of the boats know where to find it. And sure enough, we spotted one specimen, near camouflaged amid shadows and branches on a small islet. We almost didn’t spot it at first, but after some careful looking, you could make out the creature’s eye watching us!

The first attraction we visited, though, was the upper side of the Devil’s Throat which is located on the Argentinian side (with the base located in the Brazilian side). To get there, you must take the Ecological Train to the Devil’s Throat platform and follow the walkways leading across the river, passing by lots of colourful birds and butterflies and spotting the occasional river fish and turtle.

3 - Iguazu  Bird

2 - River Fish

You know when you’re finally getting close to the Devil’s Throat. The walkway starts to get pretty slick with water so be careful and make sure you’re wearing shoes with sturdy soles. And you can see the foam in the distance!

16 - On the walkway leading to the Devil's Throat

It was just as amazing topside as it was at the bottom. For miles about, the river looks calm and smooth but as you reach the Devil’s Throat, it turns into a veritable witch’s cauldron with  water crashing within and lots of yellow-white foam and mist, causing it to look like a violently beating cake mixer full of frothy yellow-white cream!

6 - Devil's Throat

From there, we moved on along the walkway to yet more falls around the Devil’s Chasm. It was fantastic! For those of you who have waterproof cameras, this is the time to use them! Everyone was completely soaked in the  mists coming off the falls and the roar of the water was thunderous! We had so much fun just chilling in the cool mists, watching the cascading, crashing waters explode around us.

17 - Devil's Chasm

The walkway to the Devil’s Throat can get pretty crowded with tourists and…. butterflies. Actually, all throughout our time at the falls on the Argentinian side, we were treated to spectacular clouds of butterflies everywhere we went. They were so tame, they would land on people’s arms and shoulders and hair and cling on for as long as they can without being startled. In fact, later that evening, as we headed to the airport to catch our plane back to Buenos Aires, we found all flights to the capital put on hold due to a heavy storm and mass flooding in the city. My friend called her cousin in Buenos Aires who reported seeing people floating on boats through the streets and added that a factory in the city had also suffered an explosion, releasing poisonous toxins into the air. We relayed the news to some of the other people waiting at the airport with us and one of them commented, “Oh my god… all that happened over there? And here we were at Iguazu, just looking at butterflies and rainbows.” You had to laugh at the disparity!

7 - Butterflies on Sneakers

4 - Iguazu butterfly

5 - Iguazu Butterfly

Speaking of butterflies and other fauna… the coatis. These furry little mammals look adorable and sweet but there is a reason why there are signs all around, warning you not to feed them. They are fierce and will bite hard! And more likely than not, you will have to go for a rabies shot. So beware of them at all costs, keep your food away from them and take pictures only from afar!

8 - Coatis

Back to the falls… there are a huge number of falls to be seen at Iguazu on the Argentinian side – the Salto Floriano, Salto Deodoro, Salto Benjamín Constant, Salto Unión, Salto Escondido, Salto Mitre, Salto Belgrano, Salto Rivadavia, Salto Tres Mosqueteros, Salto Dos Mosqueteros, Salto San Martín, Salto Adán y Eva, Salto Bozzetti, Salto Ramirez, Salto Chico, Salto Dos Hermanos and Salto Alvar Nuñez. You will see most of these walking along the Upper and Lower circuits and along the footbridges. It was hot and humid in the park and we were incredibly tempted to plunge into the refreshing looking falls, though we refrained as we knew we would definitely be swept away! For those who want a quick dip, you can do that down by the river where the boats are located.

10 - Iguazu Walkway

11 - Iguazu heights

20 - View of Falls from a riverside trail

22 - Iguazu Falls amid the Jungle

My particular favourite, though, were the Adam and Eve falls. Set a little apart from the others along a long walkway, we were treated to sight after sight of gorgeous rainbows, especially a spectacular sight of two rainbows curving round to meet each other in a semi-circle and looking very  much like a magic rainbow bridge that you could step across. It was truly like going back to prehistoric times or as if we had actually stepped into the Garden of Eden.

13 - Iguazu Rainbow bridge

12 - Iguazu Adam and Eve Falls

14 - Iguazu Rainbow

And that, it would seem, is a fair way to describe the Iguazu Falls, appropriately named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Yes, they can be expensive, and yes, having to deal with hotel bookings and petty officials can be exasperating, but in the end, when you’re standing there, with buterflies dancing about you and a cool delightful mist on your face, watching rainbows cascade through the magnificent falls among the lush green jungle, you would no doubt find yourself thinking, ‘it was definitely worth it.’

21 - Iguazu river rainbow jungle

 

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