South America 2013 travel blog

Jungle hotel

Bird of Paradise

Devil's Gorge





Boat ride under the falls



Trying Mate tea


Brazil side




Amazing pack job

Today we are off to one of the new 7 wonders of the world, Iguazu Falls, on the Argentinean side. It will be a full day once we enter the Parque Nacional Iguazu. The park gets over 1 million visitors a year that come to see the ‘Big water’, the meaning of Iguazu in the native language.

There are 2700 km of waterfall of which 600 are in Brazil which we will see tomorrow. At its highest it is 75-80 m high. Our first stop is the biggest portion the Devil’s Gorge or Throat which is horseshoe shaped and is about 60% of the falls. After a 1 km walk and seeing mist in the distance we finally get our first glimpse and it is very impressive.

Victoria Falls was beautiful but this is spectacular. The enormity of falls is hard to describe and the roar of the rushing water almost deafening. We get very wet just by the mist when the wind changes direction so who knows what the pictures will look like as we can’t see out our glasses nor can keep the lens of the camera dry. We take a thousand pictures I swear and this is just one of 4 stops.

Next we head to the lower view which brings us ¾ ways down the base to get up close and personal to the two sisters and the smaller, so to speak, falls. Again the mist at the end of the walkway and the wind created by the falls almost blow you over and you are wet again. But we know that is just the beginning.

We had been warned about the boat ride which is next and we are wearing our bathing suits. Once on the boat, the shorts, shoes and backpacks go in dry bags which we soon see are a must. The big zodiac takes us up close to the smaller side of the falls and the Devil’s throat. So close in fact we go under the falls and are absolutely drenched, not once by four times. We can’t see a thing but Alan is smart and has brought his swimming goggles. Everyone is in hysterics, laughing so hard and chanted to go back under again.

Now that we are thoroughly soaked we head down the river at high speed and run through wild rapids but the warm temperature, 35 degrees, and the wind are drying us quickly. Have to say this was a definite highlight and everyone has a permanent grin on their face.

We hike up the hill and get on Jungle jeeps for a 20 min ride back through the jungle. The area is rich in many different butterflies, so many that you are almost swatting them away from your face. Once back at the main centre we have a quick lunch while we shoo away the Coati, an annoying animal that looks like a bit like a raccoon but vicious teeth.

Then our last stop the upper falls, where we walk about the top of the falls for more impressive views of the falls including a double rainbow over one of the cliffs.

It is very muggy now and we can’t wait to hit the pool back at the hotel. Hard to believe we have been away almost a month and this is the first day we have used our bathing suits.

Tonight they are having a big bbq and music so we are staying at the hotel for dinner. Of course now I have a cold, started with Mary, then Judy, Gail and now me and Colin. Sounds like from the Aussies off our ship who are also here. everyone has it. A very sore throat and cough...Gail will be glad I have my own room tonight.

The BBQ is huge, appetizer, salad and then grilled meat. They deliver it in little hot grills that have ribs, steak, pork, sausage and sweetbreads to every 4 people but it is as much as you can eat. Tonight I will not get my money’s worth of food but the music will make up for it. The musician is playing the ukulele with guitar backup and he is fabulous. The first set is traditional songs but the second is songs we all know and the whole restaurant is clapping, swinging their serviettes and having a great time, a lot of fun for sure.

The next morning we are off to Brazil. On the change between the Argentina and Brasil (yes John this is the correct spelling in Brasil) we stop and Matias gives us as demonstration and taste of the mate tea which is very different. It is considered a very social thing and you share. If you refuse it is rude and you are expected to finish the cup and then more hot water is added and passed to the next person. When you times comes again once you say ‘no thanks’ then you are bypassed until everyone is finished. It is bitter but not too bad and a few of us by cups, the metal filter and straw plus the tea to take home.

The Brasil side of the falls is very different perspective as you get a much more panoramic view. Your first view is from the two sisters to the wide San martin falls and once again is spectacular. As you move along you get closer and closer and finally find yourself soaking wet again on a platform at the base of the Devil’s Gorge. Another million pictures today, culling through them will be difficult. As we wait for the elevator back to the top of the falls we see the Skyte, like a sparrow, that has it nest behind the falls and watch as they fly right through the massive flow of water with their tiny bodies.

Another great memorable day at Iguassu (the Brasil spelling). We are now off to Rio and while our plane is late we arrive to meet our new guide Andrea. On route to the hotel we are able to see Christ the Redeemer on the top of the mountain glowing, definitely the symbol of Rio. Our hotel is right on Copacabana beach which will be a fantastic location for our afternoons that are free on this part of the tour.

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