As some of you figured out, the Mystery Snapshot I posted is a photograph I took in January 2005 of Las Cataratas de Iguazu, more fondly known as Iguazu Falls. I took the photo from Argentina, but it is technically the point at which Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay all meet. For a steep fee, Americans can buy a one-day Visa, cross a little bridge, and see the waterfalls from the Brazilian side, but EVERYONE knows that it’s a much better view (and there are more trails and beautiful things to see, of course) from the ARGENTINEAN side. (Argentines are proud? What?! I don’t know what you’re talking about…)
Visiting the falls in January is visiting them in the dead of summer, when they are at their fullest and the Amazon is bursting like a wet sponge with humidity. My friends Kerry, Molly and I flew in from Mendoza, Argentina. I vividly remember seeing this mist rising from an endless patch of lush green tree tops as the plane descended. It was a mist created by the crashing falls, and it was so powerful and grand that it could be seen from thousands of feet in the air.
My photographs of Iguazu are alright, but you should definitely Google images of the falls to get a better idea of how impressive they are. The one thing I should mention is the sound. Imagine the constant ROAR of rushing, angry, powerful, water that constantly moans from beyond the trees. It’s so loud when you’re nearby that it’s hard to hear anything else. This YouTube video captures the sound pretty well, and tells you a little more about Iguazu.
While sometimes you can look UP at the waterfalls, there are also some lookout points where you are literally above them looking down and INTO the falls, like you’re doing a strep throat test of a wild monster foaming at the mouth. One of the waterfalls (the longest in height, at almost 300 feet) is aptly called La Garganta del Diablo or “the Throat of the Devil,” which I think captures the scary yet beautiful power of the falls.
Along with elevated trails above the water, hikes through the Amazon, and beautiful paths and lookout points to enjoy as you approach the many falls, I also recommend taking a boat (as many people do) in and out of a couple of the safer falls. It’s one thing to hear and see the falls, but it’s another thing to dash through them and let them pour over you, if only temporarily.
Do feel free to share your experience with the falls if you’ve had one. There is much more I could say about them, but I’m a little pressed for time. They are absolutely beautiful, though. And even though Iguazu is a bit of a deadbeat town, a short weekend trip to Iguazu is completely worth it. The “almost” World Wonder is truly an amazing sight.
Tonight, I head to Buenos Aires for a month where I’ll be on a writing assignment for VIVA Guides (joined by my friend Shannon). Whoohoo! About one week after the trip, I move to Quito for my new job and adventure. Right now, I feel a bit like I’m caught in the current of one of these waterfalls. Life is rushing and roaring around me and I’m completely in the middle of lots of noise, change, and maybe a bit of chaos. But, I’ve gotta say… it’s all pretty beautiful.
It’s time to see things from the Argentine side of the noise, again.