‘Go-mance’ Courtship with Travel: Destination Patagonia, Part 3

After a brief return from Patagonia to Buenos Aires, our 21st Century magic carpet was anxious to keep moving north to see the magnificent Iguazú Falls spanning the borders of Argentina and Brazil. This massive series of falls is second only to Victoria Falls (Zambia, Africa) in size and, as Eleanor Roosevelt was credited with saying when she saw the Iguazú Falls, “Poor Niagara.”

Before starting our two-day excursion to Iguazú Falls, we traveled by four-wheel jeep to Yacutinga Lodge. It is located in a wildlife reserve, deep in the pristine part of the Misiones jungle, almost entirely surrounded by the upper Iguazú River. This was a magical place where nature guided the construction of a beautiful lodge and small guest cabins. Materials collected from the site, such as rocks and fallen trees, were included in the design, strengthening their conservation philosophy.

We hiked, swam in a pool surrounded by tropical flora and fauna, kayaked on the Iguazu River and ”planted” fallen orchids by tying them to trees while learning about the symbiotic relationships in a sub-tropical preserve. A farewell empanada, warm from the oven, was our farewell gift from Yacutinga Lodge, sending us on our way to view the mighty Iguazú Falls.

Our first glimpse of Iguazú Falls was from the Brazil side. Let me tell you that getting a Visa to enter Brazil for only a few hours was nothing short of a marathon (a nod to the upcoming Olympics).  It took more than two months, lots of money and the use of an outside processing company.  BUT it was worth it as the view was breathtaking. Brazil and Argentina have both done a marvelous job of managing their national parks, which includes the falls, in order to enhance the visitor experience. There are metal catwalks that keep slippage to a minimum, and many well-placed platforms and walks that allow unrestricted views of the falls.

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IMG_3032Iguazú Falls – The Facts

  • The Iguazú National Park was established in 1934 and was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984; the Brazilian side was awarded World Heritage Site status in 1987
  • There are 275 separate falls, the source being the Iguazú River
  • The Iguazú Falls is second only to Victoria Falls in size
  • The altitude of the Iguazú Falls ranges from 197-269 feet
  • The Union Falls section is the largest cataract at Iguazú Falls
  • A Spanish explorer, Álvaro Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, was the first European to view these spectacular falls in 1541
  • On November 11, 2011, Iguazú Falls became one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature

A deck constructed over the river provided a perfect overlook to view the magnificent Garganta del Diablo, “the Devil’s Throat,” which is the apex of a huge volume of water rushing over a collection of nearly 300 individual waterfalls, some 1.7 miles wide, and up to 270 feet high. As we watched, the water roared over the edge sending spray in every direction.

It was an amazing experience that permeated our bodies in both sight and sound in a very visceral way. It was hot and humid but a myriad of trees and heavy mist from the falls provided a respite as we traversed the catwalks. We spent several hours walking and taking in the sights at every twist in the path. Butterflies displaying every hue of the rainbow were everywhere and they landed regularly on our glistening shoulders. It was hard to draw ourselves away as the day drew to a close.

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IMG_3168We returned to our bus to travel only 30 minutes or so to cross the border back into Argentina and our hotel, Portal del Iguazú. A few of us jumped in the pool before a great dinner. The next day we got up early to beat the bulk of the crowds and access the first tram ride that brought us to the easterly side of Devil’s Throat for a completely different perspective on this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  After exiting the tram we had several choices of pathways that led us to various vistas. We saw so many different kinds of birds, monkeys, and even an alligator, lounging in the brush along the river’s edge.

IMG_3051The highlight of the day was a “Mr. Toad’s” wild motorboat ride through several rapids, and then, not just to face a tremendous wall of water, but slipping underneath the roaring San Martin Falls.  We were, of course, wearing life jackets but had to remove all items that might be washed away such as glasses, flip flops, hats, cameras, etc. that were all packed away in a dry bag. The boat crew took great pleasure in soaking us to the bone more than few times! The captain held the boat steady right under the falls…WOW. It was the perfect ending to our Iguazú Falls experience.

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IMG_3192As our magic carpet continues to transport us around the globe, it’s hard not to realize how much there is to learn, see and do. I can hardly wait to share my Thailand and Cambodia adventure in my next installment!

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. – Saint Augustine

Lynne Wonacott
Lynne Wonacott is a retired Project Manager for a civil engineering company but is always looking for new opportunities/adventures. She spent the last three years as the Project Manager for the OneSAFEPlace facility which is the culmination of the dreams of many to provide a safe place for victims of domestic violence. She is currently serving on the City of Redding Planning Commission and she loves to travel, garden and spend time outdoors. She was born and raised in California, has three children, seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter. She moved to Redding in 1992 and has developed wonderful, lasting friendships through work and play. She hopes to share her love of travel with others by telling stories about real places and real people to close the gap of misunderstanding one another worldwide. Lynne is an avid fan and unabashed ambassador of Overseas Adventure Travel, and is happy to share more about this travel tour organization with anyone who'll listen.
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3 Responses

  1. A. Jacoby says:

    Sigh . . . . wish Ed McMahon would call me with a cash infusion into my travel fund! Such beauty just waiting to be seen. Thanks or sharing the pics.

  2. Joanne Lobeski-Snyder says:

    This article is so beautifully written and the photographs are superb.  What a wonderful adventure to a World Heritage Site.   Just being able to see the types of butterflies and birds and other wildlife in this area would make this a memorable trip.  Thank you so much for taking us on this trip.

  3. Richard C. says:

    What a splendid article and photos.

    One of my 10 favorite films, “The Mission” (1986—Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn, Liam Neeson, and even  Daniel Berrigan), was filmed around Iguazu falls. The stunning cinematography, hauntingly beautiful soundtrack by Ennio Morecone  ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oag1Dfa1e_E), and the brilliant depiction of moral ambiguity, competing political powers, religious conviction,  and innocent victims makes this 18th century tale compelling even 30 years after its release.

    Thank you Lynne Wonacott for sharing your superb experience.

     

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