(Iguazu Falls, Puerto Iguazu, Argentina – 15 Nov 2013) On many lists of top places to see in the world you will find Iguazu Falls. Like the Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu, Petra, the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, and the Great Pyramids of Egypt (to name a few), people from all walks of life and every corner of the globe will spend their time and money traveling to see these places in person. Why is that when you can see them in photos or read about them to your heart’s content?
It is because….only being there counts in full. Photos, with their lack of depth, will fail to satisfy. Videos, even with their HD clarity, motion and sound, will inevitably fall short. Words, no matter how well-chosen and carefully ordered, are no substitute for reality.
That said, now I will share with you photos, videos and words of our visit to Iguazu Falls.
Walls of Falling Water
Iguazu Falls is a spectacularly beautiful spot of earth. The falls themselves are a wonder… and the jungle that surrounds them magnifies their mystique even further. In just the walk from the park’s entrance to where the falls begin- a considerable hike, by the way -we encountered a troop of monkeys passing overhead through the forrest canopy. Exotic-looking birds flittered into view for only moments at a time, though their chirps and songs were ever-present.
As we approached the first set of falls- ahead of the main group -our ears filled with the deep rumble of falling water. Another turn in the path and sight was matched to sound. Dos Hermanas (Two Sisters), they were named. Jessica and I had arrived early enough to beat the crowds, so we had them all to ourselves for a while.
The sisters were just 2 of the 172 total waterfalls that make up Iguazu Falls. Sometimes it’s obvious what counts as distinct waterfalls (as in the case of the Two Sisters) and what doesn’t. In most other sections of the site, however, there were too many great curtains of overlapping, stacked and tumbling walls of water to count them up. How many waterfalls are in the photo below? Who knows and who cares? They are all beautiful.
Argentina has done an awesome job of building bridge-ways and cemented paths throughout the park. Signs and arrows easily direct visitors to every thrilling lookout point. Here we are at the top of the Devil’s Throat. Don’t get too distracted by all the silly jibber-jabber and look at how the water drops off into the void. So cool!
So much fast-falling water created clouds of mist that rained down onto the on-lookers. Jessica was smart and wore her water-repellant jacket. I got all wet.
This bridge-way takes visitors headlong into the plunging water.
Visiting Iguazu Falls in single day is totally doable and surely the way most people do it. However, we were very glad to have planned it for two days; no rush, no fuss…and the second day ticket prices were half-off! The thrills kept going on day two when we boarded a boat and literally plunged into the falls.
Animals of Iguazu
Below is a coatis. These peculiar looking animals are about the size of a large house cat with tails and noses that both are disproportionately long for their bodies. Coatis mostly hung out around the snack shacks or wherever else people were eating. Signs were everywhere warning people not to feed them. One such sign even contained a graphic color photo of a boys hand that had (supposedly) been scratched or bitten by either a monkey or coatis. The odd little creatures looked harmless enough to me, but Jessica was having none of them, shooing them away with attitude whenever they approached.
The top two pics in the collage below are of the same butterfly- swirly black, white, with red on the outside, and black and translucent blue on the inside -crazy! Next, we have a coatis stopping traffic. Lastly, a friendly bird we nicknamed Kevin (because he reminded us of the long lost bird from UP!).
Yellow butterflies were EVERYWHERE. One of the walking trails looked like a butterfly highway. These three happy flyers are on their way… to where, we could not tell. In the river above the falls, we saw several gigantic catfish. A very nice looking spotted lizard gives us a glance before slinking deeper into the jungle. Here is one of only two turtles we saw. I wonder if most of the turtles wind up surfing the falls…if you know what I mean.
The specialness of being present at this grand place was never lost on us. Though it seemed downright crowded with people at times, we know that relatively few people in this world will ever visit Iguazu Falls. While we certainly hope you enjoyed seeing our pictures and videos from there, our far greater is our hope that one day you will be able to see the falls of Iguazu for yourself.