January 19, 2010

Welcome to Iguaçu !

On the 1st of January, we left Buenos Aires to make our way to the waterfalls of Iguaçu, at the border with Brazil. 18 hours by bus, that sounds a lot with the buses here in Argentina are really comfy. We took a bus with food, better than the food served on the plane! Finally the hours went through quickly and we arrived in Puerto Iguaçu at 9 am.

We were staying in a small hostel close to the bus station. After a quick shower and breakfast, we were ready to discover the famous waterfalls! Being the 7th largest waterfalls in the world, they are located right at the border between Brazil and Argentina. You can access the waterfalls in the both country, so we decided to spend the first day on the Argentinean side and the second day on the Brazilian side.

The falls appeared 200 thousand years ago in the place that is known today as “the 3 frontiers” marked with stone pillars, where the Iguassu river and the Paraná river meet. A geological fault produced on the Paraná river made the Iguassu river become an abrupt cascade of approximately 80 meters high. From the Devil’s Throat, it covers 23 kilometers. Depending on the water level, people can see anywhere between 160 a 260 falls, with an average flow at a rate of 1500 cubic meters of water per second. It was definitly the largest waterfalls I had ever seen!

We spent the first day in The Iguazu National Park, created in 1934 and declared “Natural Heritage of the Humanity” by UNESCO in 1984 due to its scenic beauties and to the great biological diversity of the subtropical forest. We started by taking the train to go to La Garganta Del Diablo (Devil’s throat), which is the most impressive waterfall. You walk to a three ring-shaped balconies permitting a special view of the colossal “throat”, a giant horseshoe-shaped waterfall 150 meters  long, and 80 meters high. Here the water falls with such potency that it creates dense clouds of vapor as it pours into the river below. Impressive!!! As it was a Saturday and during the Summer holidays, it was packed but we arrived to get some great shots.

Let's present the gang (left to right): Christine, Irène, Moi et Stephanie

 Then we did the lower circuit which leaded us closer to the falls while walking the forest. We decided to take one of the boat which goes under the falls and you come back… completely soaked!!! It’s a fun experience! And it was already time to leave because the park was closing.

On the boat...

The Second day, we decided to go to the Brazilian side. We took a bus going through the border to Foz de Iguazu, the Brazilian city closest to the falls. When crossing the border, you have to be stamped out by the Argentinean customs but you don’t need to go through the Brazilian one if you only spend a day. Then we took another bus to the Park. The Parque National Do Iguacu was listed as Natural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 1986, two years after the Argentinean Park, and is one of the largest forest preservation areas in South America.

You have a beautiful panoramic view on the falls while walking along the cliffs. As it was a Sunday, we thought we were in the Champs Elysées!!! You almost have to queue to see something. But it was worth it. An advice, avoid going during a weekend and especially during the summer vacations!

And it was already time to go to her next Stop: Salta!

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