My itinerary next took me to the exact opposite end of the country – Foz Iguazu, on the border with Brazil and Paraguay. It was a long day’s travel to get there, with a change of airport at Buenos Aires. My airline had warned that many people wanted to travel that day and urged me to check in early. When I arrived, I realised that the reason for the warning had nothing to do with the volume of passengers and everything to do with…….el fútbol. All the passengers and many of the staff were watching Argentina beat Poland on a huge screen. As a result, check in was slow but good humoured.
The far north of Argentina was completely different to Patagonia, with lush green jungle and hot, humid weather. I set off to view the famous waterfalls. First I headed to the Brazilian side of the river, where there are the best panoramic views. Crossing the border was quick and easy and soon I was admiring an amazing spectacle. Foz Igauzu is not just one waterfall, but dozens or even hundreds of falls spread out over a few kilometres.
Visitors follow a path running along the river bank, giving a range of views. After a short walk I stopped for drink, and was met by a small friend (a coati) looking for food. I had none, which was just as well, since although coatis look cute, they can get aggressive in their search for something to eat.
She was probably hungry because she had to feed this lot……..
The path reached the main set of falls on the Brazilian side. There, a walkway led out into the middle of the river to the Garganta del Diablo – the Devil’s throat, probably the most spectacular fall of the lot. The cool spray of water (I was soon soaked), constant roar of water and amazing view into the heart of the falls made for a unique experience.
The next day, I visited the falls from the Argentine side. I set off early to avoid the mid-morning crowds and had the pathway along the “lower circuit” almost entirely to myself. This side of the river offered a very different experience – you could approach the falls more closely along walkways running through pretty jungle.
I finished the “lower circuit” just as the first tour groups began to arrive and started the “upper circuit”. This had more amazing views, but at times was unpleasantly crowded. It was hard for someone small like me to get a view, and when I climbed up onto the railings to take photos, I worried about getting knocked off by tourists jostling to take selfies. The path back from the falls went through some interesting jungle, where I saw a baby crocodile…
After the two classic circuits of the Argentine side, I tried a much less popular short trail through the jungle. The signs at the start promised of the possibility of seeing monkeys and toucans, and gave advice about what to do if I encountered a puma or a jaguar. This raised my expectations, but sadly I saw only some birds, huge butterflies and giant ants.
The short hike took me about an hour, and it was now one o’clock. I had “done” everything and thought about going back to my hotel, but instead went back to try the upper circuit again. Maybe all those tour groups had a lunch break? I had guessed right – in the heat of the early afternoon, I had the upper circuit almost to myself and could now focus on taking pictures without being jostled.
An added bonus was that the early afternoon sun made rainbows at many of the waterfalls
The second visit to the upper circuit was a great way to end my visit to Foz Iguazu, which is one of the wonders of the world – a destination truly at the end of the rainbow.