Posted by: adventuressetravels | November 11, 2011

Iguazu: Mother Nature at Her Finest

“Look, Look!” a family of 5 or 6 ring-tailed animals that looked like a cross between a ring-tailed lemur and a red fox were frolicking on the edge of the jungle.  I couldn’t believe our luck.  Their little pointed faces were adorable!

“I think they’re called coatis,” said one of the girls from my hostel reading from the brochure she had gotten at the information desk.  She went on to tell us that we weren’t supposed to feed them because they could get aggressive.  Apparently coatis had become something of a pest in Argentina’s Iguazu National Park, especially in the picnic area.  The delicate little faces looked up questioningly at us … Did we have food, they seemed to ask.

A few yards farther large yellow-beaked toucan perched on a low-hanging branch; not 15 feet higher in the branches, the white face of a capuchin monkey stared out at us.  Every step seemed to reveal another type of creature.  We marveled at the diverse array of wildlife just hanging out clustered along the path.  The animal residents of the park were clearly accustomed to human visitors.

Butterflies of all shapes and sizes flitted around our heads, filling the air with a rainbow of colors.  They ranged from the songbird sized iridescent blue morphos  to smaller orange and black fellows who alighted on visitors’ shirts or sipped the moisture off of their skin.

In the background of the jungle music of bird calls, we began to hear a low rumble, like far-off thunder.  The noise grew as we followed the signs toward the main attraction.  The air thickened with added moisture, and the temperature cooled as we approached the waterfalls.

My breath caught in my throat when at last the falls came into view.  The torrent of white, blue, yellow, and even rainbows of water poured over the massive 269 foot cliff,  loomed before us.  It stretched out endlessly, crashing over cliffs with incomprehensible force.  It was easy to believe that this immense cascade of water had killed people who had gotten too close. So this was the appropriately named Devil’s Throat, el Garganta del Diablo. 

Clouds of water droplets flew off the waterfall, enveloping tourists in clouds of mist, and soaking our clothes.  Soon, even the most avid photographer had to put his camera away for fear of mechanical failure.

When we were soaked to the skin and had had our fill of this wonder of nature, we followed the well-marked path to take in the smaller falls.  Following the trails we passed nature’s spectacular display of water.  Each varied setting of the smaller falls offered a different type of beauty. Water poured over cliffs, others cascaded down drop-offs, white steaks in the middle of lush jungle vegetation, and flowed into the pools below us each new fall offered scenery so striking that it looked photoshopped.

Climbing down some steps, our group reached the park’s ferry boat to San Martin Island, a free service which takes tourists over to a sandy shores of an island in the middle of the falls’ lake.  I waded into the deliciously cool water; it was a pleasure on the steamy tropical day.  Swimming in Iguazu’s waters was the perfect end to a beautiful day

On the Border between Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu is far and away one of South America’s most popular tourist destinations.  A UNESCO world heritage site, Iguazu’s mile and a half of 275 cascades dwarf even North America’s impressive Niagara Falls.  Entrance to the park is $60 Argentine pesos (about $20 USD) and it worth every penny.  One of the wonders of the natural world, Iguazu is truly something everyone should try and see in their lives.

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