Travel Journal – Iguazu Falls (Brazilian side)

I’ll be honest here. When my friend first proposed visiting Iguazu Falls while we were in Argentina, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. The trip from Argentina to Iguazu was pretty pricey, especially as they’ve set a much higher price for foreigners, and I was hesitant to spend a lot of money and at least two to three days of our precious time in South America visiting a waterfall. After all, once you’ve seen one waterfall, you’ve seen ’em all, right?

So it was with a little bad grace that I agreed to come along on the Iguazu Falls trip. We took a plane from Argentina to Iguazu (I can’t remember how much we paid now but I do remember blanching at the price), dumped our things at our hotel and hired a taxi driver who would drive us back and forth between the Falls for the next two days. As we were only spending two days there, we agreed that we’d head over to the Brazil side first, with passports in hand. I was still thinking, ‘yeah, waterfall, whatever.’

And then we got to the falls. And we saw this.

1 - Iguazu Falls (Brazilian side)

Amazing, right?

Igauzu, in the indigenous language of the native Guarani Indians, means ‘big water.’ They’re right about that, for sure. It was definitely big!

The legend of Iguazu goes like this: the Guaranis used to sacrifice a beautiful virgin each year to the giant serpent who lived in the river, a god named Boi, or M’Boi. One year, the sacrifice was to be the maiden Naipi. But her lover, the warrior Taroba, who tried to appeal to the elders to release her from the sacrifice. Some stories tell that Naipi was bred to be one of the sacrifices; others say Naipi had not been one of the original sacrificial maidens and that it was the serpent who spied her walking along the river one day and, taken by her beauty, demanded she be made the sacrifice that year. Whichever way, the elders refused to anger M’Boi, who was the son of Tupa, the Supreme God. So that night, the lovers tried to escape in a canoe. Angered, M’Boi chased after them and drove his serpentine body so hard into the ground that it cracked the earth and divided the rivers, causing the formation of the falls and separating the lovers forever. He then turned Taroba into one of the palm trees along the river and Naipi into a rock on the other side of the falls and they remain forever separated except on days where rainbows form to create a bridge that allowed the lovers to meet.

On a more modern, historic note, it’s been said that when Eleanor Roosevelt first laid eyes on Iguazu, she exclaimed, “Poor Niagara!”

These falls were truly stunning. All that unrestrained power and grandeur, set amid the jungle, it truly felt as if we had gone back in time in the Amazonian jungle. Except, of course, there were nice, neat walkways and lookout points built into the side of the paths.

After exhaustively taking photos of our first glimpse of the falls, our taxi driver reminded us that we could also follow the path and keep walking around until we got to the observation tower and catwalk across the chasm known as the Devil’s Throat (love the name!), the lower part of which is situated on the Brazilian side.

As we walked along the path, we caught glimpses of the fauna that lived around the falls like this happy lizard here.

2 - Smiling Iguazu Lizard

3 - Iguazu bird

5 - Butterfly at Iguazu

I’ll write more about the fauna we saw at the falls in my post on the Argentinian side as we saw, especially the amazing clouds of butterflies on that other side.

6 - Iguazu Falls

Whatever you do, do not forget to bring your camera to the falls as you will definitely kick yourself out on missing out on capturing such breathtaking views.

I’m not surprised to learn that at least one Indiana Jones movie was filmed around the falls. It’s definitely the setting for an exciting adventure quest!

7 - Iguazu Falls

I would say well done to the authorities of both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides as they have worked hard to keep the environment pristine, a challenge when you have got masses of tourists coming to view the falls. I find it really sad when the authorities of beautiful, majestic environments try to push as many tourists as they possibly can and forget all about preserving the beauty and fragile ecosystems instead. This happens a lot in Asia, I find!

Another butterfly along the path 🙂

8 - Iguazu Butterfly

The view turned truly spectacular as we approached the Devil’s Throat. Check out that catwalk below that runs along the base of the Throat. It’s such an amazing engineering feat that makes you really wonder how they managed to build this catwalk without getting swept away by the water!

9 - Iguazu Panorama

I also love that the design of the catwalk with its smooth wooden beams. For some reason, it makes me think of Japan, the setting of those wooden beams against the lush greenery and misty water. You can’t hear the roar of the waters while looking at these pictures so it looks amazingly serene there! But the force was amazing, and it was so much fun walking along the catwalk to check out the gushing, pounding waters. Be warned – you will definitely get very wet!

10 - Iguazu Falls and Mist

13 - Devil's Throat Iguazu Brazilian side

11 - Admiring Iguazu Falls

It didn’t take us too long to finish walking around the catwalk and climbing the Observation Tower which afforded us some pretty spectacular views from above as well.

14 - Walkway along the falls

15 - View from the Observation Tower at Iguazu Falls Brazil

 

 

As we had arrived in Iguazu in the afternoon, we didn’t have much time to spend on the Brazilian side and, as it was closing time for the park soon anyway, we headed back across the border to the Argentinian side.

As we were leaving, we saw a helicopter taking off and a sign advertising helicopter rides over the falls. It was too late for us to take a ride but in the end, I’m glad we didn’t when I later found out that the Argentinian side had banned helicopter rides due to the adverse effects on the environment.

As we crossed back onto the Argentinian side, our driver stopped us by the side of a bridge and told us this was the Parana River and it was at this point, called the Triple Frontier, where the border lay between three countries – Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. He also told us that because of the location between three different countries, this was a hotspot for river crossings to traffic drugs between borders!

12 - Triple Frontier - Brazil Argentina and Paraguay border

Coming up soon: The Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls!

 

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