Iguazu (“Big Water”) Falls. No kidding!!

12 Nov

In the native people’s language Iguazu means “big water”. The argentines call the falls “cataratas” which I’m told is “cabeza de vaca”. Cow head?? I don’t get these argentinos!! We spent the day exploring the national park in a combination of wonder, awe, and feeling like herded cattle.  We didn’t realize we were having a guide, Hugo, who for some reason only calls me out by name throughout the day. It seems having thousands of people in small groups led by a fast moving, mostly Spanish speaking guide holding an umbrella in the air to herd us to/from the tiny trains, catwalks, and viewpoints is how this park rolls. Not our style, but it did help us maximize our day by moving people along and pointing us in the right direction, I guess.    Moooo.  See, and now I’m part cow, too.  The number, size and strength of the falls here is phenomenal! We spend all our time on the Argentine side, because all the Brazilian side is good for is panoramic views. We wanted to be up close and personal. The photos will illustrate more the magnitude (especially the ones still to come from my camera). We cover all the main areas (see the map): Garganta del Diablo (the devil’s throat), Upper Circuit, and Lower Circuit.  We walk on a series of metal grated walkways elevated over the racing rivers, slopes of the mountains, and steep drops of the “smaller” falls.  These walkways take us out to balconies to truly experience the power and volume of water rushing from the falls! “Big Water” is definitely an understatement.  The highlight definitely was our safari nautico! You can see in one of the photos a tiny boat down on the river headed straight into the falls. That was us about an hour later. Suited up in life jackets, our belongings in dry bags, and the basically pointless poncho donned, we embarked on the Rio Iguazu. We buck rapids and go fully under the huge falls on the right of the map photo, then on the lower left. It was amazing to peek at through one squinty eye while my other eye was squeezed shut to keep the massive amount of water from stealing my contact lens. I was on the outside edge of the boat- thanks, mom! – It was a drenching and breath taking (literally I couldn’t breath!) from all the water and laughing with so much excitement! The “Big Water” is like a deluge from an arsenal of showerheads and firehoses! We then zip down the river, rapids splashing, captain tipping the speeding boat from side to side for fun.   Once soaked and giddy, we climb an exhausting and breath taking (not in the fun way) amount of steps to reach our finishing point to put a dry shirt on a wet body. We board an open, high safari truck for a relatively uneventful, but informative, ride through the jungle to end our excursion.

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