Need to see both sides
03.01.2010 - 03.01.2010 35 °C
Today was our visit to the Iguazu falls. These falls are 75m high and 3km long with the majority on the Argentinian side of the border. Iguazu has the greatest annual flow of any waterfall in the world. And today, it was above average (due to the recent rains in the area). The maximum flow is 12,000 m3, about the same as Victoria falls (peak flow). The Red Deer River when it flooded in 2005, was about 1500m3 for comparision (average flow is 300m3). Niagara Falls peak flow is about 2800 m3. It is nominted to be one of the modern seven wonders of the world.
Our day started off at 6:30 this morning. Darwin had a great idea to get up and watch the sun rise at the falls. One advantage of staying at the Hotel das Cataratas is the National Park does not open until 8:30, so guests can take full advantage of the trails alone without loads of tour buses. So we took real advantage of it and were first out the door this morning. We walked about 100m and voilla....the falls to ourselves. You will see a picture of the two of us in the photo gallery, that we adore. Just the two of us, with the spectacular view all to ourselves. That will be a great memory. But before we had this view, we had to maneouver around these creatures called Coati. They are Brazil's version of the racoon. They had snouts like anteaters so we were not quite sure what was in front of us (30 of them), but Darwin quickly got them to run back into the trees(with very few colourful words to describing the disease infested little #$%^@^*.)
We walked the Brazilian side of the falls which gives you a great panoramic view. It was overwhelming and breath taking. After breakfast, our guide (nelson) drove us to Argentina so we could see the falls from this side as well. Note to Kim (we did not take the immigration papers we got on the cruise ship. We were okay getting back and forth as we filled out another form in Argentina. However, it is HIGHLY recommended that you take these with you as cutoms could have fined us. Nelson forgot to tell us we needed these papers. He only instructed us to take our passports. It is definitely worth having a guide take you to the Argentina side due to transportation needs and immigration with each country. However, not sure why a tour company would charge for the Brazil tour because it's right at your hotel. It takes about an hour to do this path and no guide is needed. Nelson did not join us this morning, so thought you should know for future reference. If you are staying at a hotel outside of the National Park, then you would need a guide for the Brazil side as well).
It takes approximately one hour to drive from Brazil side of the falls to the Argentina side. Once there we walked the lower circuit (approx 4 km) and part of the upper circuit. We then took a train to Garganta del Diablo (Devil's throat) to see the major cataract of the entire falls called Salto Union. From the Argentina side, you get a close up view to most of the falls. The pictures we posted are just some samples of the scenery. Not sure how to sum this up other than to say, for any nature lover, these falls are a MUST for the bucket list. Our only disappointment was not seeing a rainbow, but these falls were captivating and very powerful. I could not stand at the edge of the outlook at Devil's throat because the platform was a catwalk and besides everyone was pushing each other to get a good view. At one moment I completely froze and Darwin could see that I was very nervous and got me off the catwalk and back to the main walkway (Kevin not sure if you would have made this part of the journey either).
One surprise we did not expect were the immense amount of butterflies in the park. There are over 300 species and we got to see a few up close and personal. Literally - they actually land on your body. It was freaky at first and then a delight. Monica, I posted some photos for you to look at. I thought of our club today taking pictures of these guys. You would have loved taking photos here today. They were everywhere. I started to get more excited about the butterflies than the falls at times.
Nelson then took us to a local fish restaurant back in Brazil for a late lunch. It was beside a local marina. It was a buffet and then they bring you samples of the local lake fish. Darwin tried Dorado (Doug I know you like fishing these fish, but not too fussy on the taste) and some other fish that I could not eat. But they did have Tilapia, which was delicious.
Their marina was interesting. Darcy, we couldn't be marina snobs with our sailboat here. They have garages for their boats, and then folks come to their "garage" for the weekend and have it decorated/beds etc and bar-b-ques out back. Never saw anything like that before.
Back to the hotel for a much needed swim. Tomorrow we are going to relax at the hotel. Since Nelson took us to the dam yesterday, we have a free day tomorrow so hope to enjoy some sun by the pool