The month is nearing to its end, so our time in Brazil is drawing to a close. Here we take you on a tour of the wonderful Iguazu Falls, one of the greatest natural wonders we have ever seen.
The Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls
After bidding farewell to Sao Paulo we headed towards Foz do Iguazu, which was to be our last stop in Brazil. The area is famous because of the majestic Iguazu Falls, which span the border between Brazil and Argentina. We decided to visit the Brazilian side first, then cross the border and visit the Argentinian side.
We were lucky enough to find great accommodation on both sides of the border. In Brazil we stayed at Hostal Natura, a hostel-campsite situated on a family-run farm. Luckily we had a room, as the weather in Southern Brazil was much colder compared to the Northeast (after all, we were in the Southern Winter).
The son, Anwar, was running the bar, offering killer caipirinhas for 7 reais a pop. Not the same as in Jeri, though; there’s something about an icy-cold cocktail that goes hand in hand with sun and beach. And the weather in Iguazu was more British than Brazilian, especially in the evening.
The mother Alda prepared breakfast and dinner for all the guests. The food was absolutely delicious, comforting and abundant. I could not believe we had pizza for breakfast. And for dinner on our very last night in Brazil we had barbecued picanha, the Brazilian cut of meat famous throughout the world. A nice last meal for two meat-lovers such as ourselves.
The waterfalls are absolutely outstanding. Carlos, an interesting man we met on our Nordeste road trip, considered them the best natural wonder of Brazil. I couldn’t quite see how it could beat Lençois Maranhenses, but I wouldn’t wage judgment before I’d seen the falls.
The Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls offers the grand overview, the postcard image. Walking down to the first viewing platform I couldn’t believe my eyes. There’s something about waterfalls; the spray, the noise and the power of the water, creating something that feels entrancing and deadly at the same time. Iguazu are a collection of falls, one more breathtaking than the other.
The Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls
On a sunny day, rainbows play peekaboo behind the mist, butterflies and birds dance around those who are lucky enough to be part of this natural wonder. The falls became bigger, stronger and more spectacular the further we advanced down the track; until the last one, la Garganta del Diablo, The Devil’s Throat, whose strength is such that it creates mist is so thick it hides the waterfall beneath a cloud.
The following day, the sadness of having left Brazil faded quickly once we entered the national park on the Argentinian side. Argentina offers a closer view of Iguazu Falls, with walking tracks allowing the visitor to walk either on the top or the bottom of the waterfalls – if you’re planning to visit the Argentinian side, make sure you check out this post with great info and tips!
This is possibly even more spectacular than visiting the Brazilian side; the strength of the water is breathtaking, the wildlife abundant. We saw caimans, river turtles, monkeys, toucans and coati, a raccoon-like creature that can be found around the trails scavenging rubbish bins.
And, of course, hundreds of butterflies, fluttering around our heads, hovering than landing over our faces to lick our salty sweat. Some were sapphire blue, others had a psychedelic blackwhite pattern over their wings; we named them 88 butterflies.
The Garganta up close is what really steals the show. Standing on top of it is scary and mesmerising. The water roars down so powerfully that it’s impossible to see where it crashes down into the river.
It is there, for the first time in my life, that I have appreciated the power of nature. A power that transcends words; it was as if the heart of the land, it living energy, was suddenly being thrown over the edge, down into the river below.
We stood on the edge of the Garganta for a good 15 minutes, mist blowing over our bodies, until we were soaked to the bone, trying to take it all in. Unfortunately, no picture or post will ever be good enough to convey what we felt.
Excellent accommodation near Iguazu Falls
Our B&B in Puerto Iguazu was also excellent. As we met with my parents there, we were lucky to be able to enjoy a higher level of comfort. Secret Garden B&B keeps the promise that lies in its name; it really is secret! We asked and asked and it took us a good half hour to find it.
Once again, the host is what makes the place special. John was born in India, but has been living in Argentina for about 30 years. Not only was he extremely kind and personable, also he took each guest’s needs to his heart. John organised a ‘happy hour’ every evening, where he served caipirinha accompanied by a variety of nibbles.
The one I enjoyed the most was flatbread accompanied by a zingy coriander chutney. What a better way to wind down after a day of sightseeing. Argentina looked rather promising from the very first day. And much more was yet to come – travelling Argentina is truly amazing!.