What could be the best way to start my life in South America? To enter a continent I’ve never been too in a hemisphere I’ve never been too, what better way could I start than with a 2 week Brazilian holiday with all my closest friends! To celebrate my arrival which coincided with Leon’s birthday we took a trip to Iguazu falls with Pepe Adventure as the first leg of our holiday with Leon, Bo, Carla, Sarah and half a dozen of our friends from England. Having arrived in Buenos Aires 3 days previously and experiencing the cold of the winter here we all couldn’t wait for a holiday in the sun! The disappointment of going from a relatively warm English spring to a bitter Argentine winter was crushing! We took a flight to Puerto Iguazu on the Argentine side of Iguazu falls and took a pre-organised private bus to check into our hostel, ready for a full day at the falls the following day.
Early the following day we began our journey to the falls. The weather was perfect from the start, the sun remained warming but not too hot, at the time of year we went it would not be uncommon to be rained off so it was miraculous that we didn’t see a drop of rain for our entire time here! Our adventure began at the gates of the Iguazu National Park, where we embarked on an 8km open topped 4×4 ride through the jungle of the park. A tour guide was on hand to explain, in both English and Spanish, the various flora and fauna in the area while multi coloured butterflies fly all around us. Its incredible to me how I could have been so close to civilisation not an hour ago yet here I am in the middle of a rainforest! All very surreal! The 4×4 drove us down to a floating platform where we changed into life jackets and took a boat INTO the falls. Its difficult to put this experience into words, to have the noise of the powerful engine on your boat completely drowned out by the sound of millions of cubic tonnes of water crashing around you is quite something. Knowing that the drivers has done this multiple times does little to steady your nerve when approaching a wall of water, but with a quick turn of the wheel our boat is drenched in a fine spray feet from the falls, and in an instant we are soaked!
After a few rounds into the falls our boat takes us onto the next leg of the journey, a walkway that runs parallel with the falls and has various spectacular lookouts along the way. The route takes us past many of the lesser falls through to a cafe area where you can buy all manner of sandwiches and snacks and fast food. The whole cafe area is full of coati, a tropical member of the racoon family, and it’s so strange to see them scampering around semi tame feeding on any leftovers visitors leave. They are very bold so you need to keep your eyes peeled as they will steal from right under your nose!
After lunch we headed up towards the climax of our visit. Garganta del Diablo aka -The Devils Throat. This is the horseshoe shaped crescent over which half of the rivers water flows is one of nature’s most impressive sites, Leon has been here many times so to give us the best possible introduction. He led us all along the approach in a chain while we kept our eyes closed, which meant we had no visual reference, only a deafening roar that got ever closer. Once at the viewing platform we had a 3 second countdown and opened our eyes together and no matter what image your mind tried to paint for you about what this magnificent sight could look like, the real thing blows it out of the water! It took about a minute for my brain to even register what I was seeing; it becomes obvious very quickly as to why this site was voted into the 7 new wonders of the natural world. We all left happy and wondering how on earth we were going to top that!
By Richard Porter. Richard works at The Argentine Experience.