Along the border of Argentina and Brazil runs the Iguazu river which is broken into the upper and lower part by the spectacular creation of mother nature that is Iguazu Falls. This was very high on my bucket list and ever since deciding to come to South America I’d been dying to see it. Its the biggest waterfall system in the world and in total there are over 200 individual waterfalls contained within a National Park spanning Brazil and Argentina, and in my opinion – based on photos I’d seen – far more spectaculatlr than Niagra Falls. It’s recommended to see both sides if you have the time and budget since they offer totally different views of the falls. When I started writing this I was going to cover both sides in the same post, but when I started putting it on to paper the words just kept spilling out so I decided to do one for each side. I mean its only fair that I do them both justice individually. Well words will never be able to do this unimaginable beauty justice, but I’ll try!
So we took the overnight bus from Bonito to Foz de Iguazu, the town closest to the waterfalls on the Brazilian side, which took around 12 hours. We booked the Che Lagarto hostel here, we had previously stayed in another of their hostels in Rio and it was super lively and fun, but this was the complete opposite. It was mostly older people and families and there was zero atmosphere, but we didn’t really mind – we were only staying here to go to the falls, and there was no bunk beds which was a nice change!
The bus from town to the National Park takes around 45 minutes and it costs about R$5(£1.20) and the entrance to the national park costs R$65(£17). We arrived at around mid-day and it was lovely and sunny. From the entrance it’s about a 15 minute drive to the falls, but there is a bus that takes you there (included in the entrance fee), stopping along the way at various trails were you can hire bikes or take electric cars through the jungle. We didnt bother stopping at any of these as we wanted to get straight to the main attraction. We got off one stop before the end which is where the smaller falls begin and you can walk all the way along to the main part. On the bus and on various signs around the park it warns you about ‘the coaties’. These viscous animals that can attack you, may have rabies and will aggressively steal your food. And under no circumstances should you feed them! So I was cautiously looking around for these monsters, and then we spotted these innocent little raccoon type animals appearing from everywhere and we relaxed a little. They are pretty cute, but they really are little scavengers trying to get food from any available source.
As you start walking along the trail you begin to hear the rush of water and the first few falls pop into view. Seeing it for the first time in the distance I got this insanely excited feeling that I was about to experience something spectacular, something that not many people I know have seen, or will ever see! At first glance it made me think of an extremely ellaborate water feature – water trickled and poured down green walls from every available point. Like everywhere! Its unbelievable! Its just too much for your eyes to take in. The scene is just spectacular, and from the Brazilian side you really get a panoramic view of the waterfalls, starting small and gradually growing in size as you get closer to the main body.
The largest part of the falls is Devils Throat, or girgantium diablo, and as you get closer you begin to feel the spray from the water and see the real power and vastness of it. The sheer volume of water is just insane! Add to that the rainbow arching over the top of it and butterflies of every colour fluttering around it really does feel like something out of a fantasy film! We took the extremely crowded walk way out to the middle of the Devils Throat and I could have stood there for hours watching the uninterupted mass of cascading water, wondering where the hell it all came from! Well we did actually. We just couldn’t tear ourselves away. Its literally jaw dropping! And being there and experiencing something I’d been googling for the last 6 months is a feeling you can’t really put in to words.
Eventually we did tear ourselves away and we went to the restaurant at the top of the falls and enjoyed an amazing dinner reminising of what we had just experienced and thinking how can it be any better from the Argentinian side?!
The restaurant was also a very pleasant surprise, if ever so slightly pricey. We paid R$60 each (approx £15), but it was an all you can eat buffet with a huge selection of salad, meat, fish pasta, vegetables and it was really delicious!
To fully appreciate the Brazilian side of the falls you need about 3 hours, although we were there for about 5! If you want to take any of the other trails then you will need an extra couple of hours, and these aren’t included in the entrance fee, so you will need a little extra cash.