After about 2 weeks in Buenos Aires, I at last made the decision to go to Iguazu Falls, realizing that I had to leave the city and do something. I booked a ticket through my hostel with Via Bariloche, probably Argentina’s best bus company, for the equivalent of about 60 pounds, pretty good considering it’s about an 18 hour journey.
The falls, which divide the Upper and Lower sections of the Iguazu river and runs along the border between Brazil and Argentina, although 80% of the water flows over the Argentine side.
For this reason, and if Visa’s are not too expensive, you can do 2 day trips, one to the Brazilian side, one to the Argentine. I timed my coach ride so that it would arrive at about 8:30am the next morning, meaning I would have a full day for the Brazilian side (despite its lack of water).
The bus I took was easily the best bus I’d had in South America. It was effectively a business class seat on a plane, with ample leg room, almost fully reclining chair, air con, blankets provided, and movies in English. After leaving Buenos Aires Retiro station at 2pm, we were given lunch, and at about 8pm given dinner, and breakfast before we got off the coach the next morning. Effectively plane food, it was still much preferred to the pringles and biscuits that made up most of my other bus journeys, plus it came with wine.
Once I arrived at my hostel in Puerto Iguazu (Timbo Posada- decent), the town nearest to the Falls in Argentina, I dropped off my things and got a bus through the Brazilian town of Foz do Iguaçu to their side of the falls. The walk they recommend takes about an hour, and takes you along a ridge beside some of the falls, but mostly looking down on the Argentine side, with people in boats having a good time. At the end of the walk you reach one of the larger waterfalls, and a wooden walkway takes you along to the edge of it. The whole experience is rather short, but has pretty amazing views and being able to walk so close to the drop off from one is special. You can really feel and hear the full force of their power as you get soaked by the spray.
I got back to my hostel at about 3pm, and caught up a bit on this, added some photos to facebook, and got an early night. The next morning I got up early and got a bus to the Argentine entrance to the falls. Due to the vastly higher percentage of the area that Argentina owns, there’s a lot more to do, with various walks, boat rides and even a train to take you round.
I’d recommend taking the Nautical Adventure ride into some Iguazu’s most ferocious falls (it’s safe), and if you have a go-pro or waterproof camera, as someone on my boat did, you’ll get some awesome footage. This is seriously one of the more awesome things I did on the whole trip in South America, as the spray reduces you’re visibility to near zero, and the boat brings to you to brink of the falling water.
Another great part of the Argentine side is the Devil’s Throat, La Garganta del Diablo in Spanish. I have to say, this is definitely in the top of 5 of things I did while away. It completely blew me away. I did a walk from the main restaurant area to the walkways which take you there instead of taking the train, so all in all it took half an hour or so to get there, but that felt like a build up to something special. The walkways are also pretty spectacular, giving you a view of the river pre-falls, and on my way back I actually saw an alligator resting on a rock. You can hear the Throat before you can see it, a cacophony the result of half of the river’s water falling in one narrow U-shaped chasm. It’s the purest expession of water’s power you can experience without being in a Tsunami, or an extra in the Film The Day After Tomorrow.
What I wrote shortly after going: “The Devil’s Throat. Quite simply one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. An expression of the pure power of water, and as if to display this, I watched a butterfly flutter calmly into the falls, attempting to help me realize man’s lack of power over nature, probably.” It was magical.
If you’re in Argentina or Southern Brazil, you have to go. It’ll blow you away.