Wet and Pretty Wonderful in Iguazu

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There are regrettably few times in life when we get to stand soaking wet next to one of nature’s finest wonders and think that the world is pretty wonderful after all. Iguazu is a place where this will happen to you.

The Basics

fallsThe amount of water which comes crashing over the edge of the waterfalls here is astonishing. It is apparently the second most voluminous waterfall in the world, after Niagara, with 1,756 m3 of the wet stuff falling every second. However, the shape and distribution of the falls here at Iguazu mean that many people rate it as the most visually stunning set of falls in the world. I first saw this place on a film called ‘The Mission’ starring Robert De Niro in which he was, well, a missionary here. It is a decent enough film but the sight of the giant falls just took my breath away. I knew I had to visit this place, although I was kind of hoping not to get a cross tied to my back before being chucked over the edge of the falls. The good news is that I got there and my stay was thankfully free of terrifying plunges from great heights.

Where to Stay?

This is the only tourist attraction where I have ever stayed which gave me the option of staying in one of three different countries. The falls sit right on the triple border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Of the three, Paraguay is the least popular with travellers, as it has the poorest tourist infrastructure and the border town of Ciudad Del Este has a reputation of being a slightly dodgy place where counterfeit goods are the big attraction. Having ruled out Paraguay with a heavy heart I did the only sensible thing and split my time between Argentina and Brazil. Overall, I preferred Puerto Iguazu on the Argentine side, but Foz do Iguacu has some good points too. The issue of the cheapest place to stay is something to check out before you travel, as exchange rates and inflation can vary greatly in this part of the world. When I was there the Argentine peso was great value, so I spent most time and enjoyed some of the famously amazing Argentine cuts of beef.

What to See?

Clearly you are here to see the falls, are you not? The good news is that you get a different view of them from Brazil as you do from Argentina. Generally speaking, Brazil is good for getting an overview of the whole thing and for getting up close to the Devil’s Throat. This is where I first got soaked, as you get to stand quite close to where the water comes pounding down.  I was lucky enough to get there when the place was empty and it was a very special feeling to see the force of nature so close to me. Once you get to the Argentine side you can spend more time close to the water, as there are more walkways (or so it seemed to me) and trails to follow. You can also get in a boat and get up really close to the water. Yep, I did this as well and got utterly drenched for the second time in two days. With my supply of dry socks getting dangerously low I decided that I would explore the area away from the falls on the next day. There isn’t really  a huge amount else to hold your attention but it is still worth giving yourself a day or so to walk around and soak up the atmosphere before moving on somewhere else.

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