It’s like a tumultuous Latin love story in a telenovela: Río Paraná meets Río Iguazú, they fight, they tumble over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, they divide and they meet again.
And we came to check this out, because the Cataratas del Iguazú can’t be missed—even if you have to travel through the jungle to see them.
The falls are located on the border of the Argentina province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. On the other side of the Paraná River from Foz do Iguaçu is Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. We stayed in Argentina but the falls can be reached from Brazil as well, and the two parks provide different experiences, based on the distribution of the falls.
We decided to start with the up-close experience in Argentina.
We took the bus from town to the falls, and it was pouring rain. Well, it is called the “rainforest” after all, there is a reason why the trees are so green and the falls so impressive. We got lucky, though: as we were waiting for the train that brings visitors inside the forest, the rain stopped and it was clear for most of the day.
Approximately half of the river’s flow falls into a long and narrow chasm, the U-shaped Devil’s Throat. Picture a 82 metres high, 150 metres wide, and 700 meters long waterfall—the one-kilometer-long Paseo Garganta del Diablo trail that brings you directly over it isn’t long enough to prepare yourself for the wet chaos.
For most of the walkway over the river, it flows fast but it’s calm and you can experience the quiet jungle. Well, quiet minus the mosquitoes, various undefined bugs, caimans and giant fishes. But it’s peaceful. And then, you spot a drop, a hole from afar. This is it. A giant gap, and water falling down so deep that you can’t see the bottom. You try, though, but after a minute you are blinded by the mist and completely soaked from head to toes. For all you know, the world ends here.
The Devil’s Throat is certainly the most spectacular waterfall around, but there are many other to check out—from 150 to 300, depending on the water level. And they are not that small! They stretch across the forest and you stand there, surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls.
The jungle experience is pretty cool too. The coatis are annoying, but you should have seen the look on Mark’s face when he spotted monkeys in the wild!
It was worth the mosquito bites (absentmindedly scratching leg…)