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Iguassu Falls – The king of all falls

Submitted by on August 1, 2011 – 7:32 pmNo Comment

This was our third leg of our so far exciting vacation. visiting the Iguassu falls. Interestingly, I found out about the falls, many years ago, when people had not even heard about this. Everyone talks about Niagara and Victoria, few mention Iguassu. But, I had seen pictures of it and its unspoilt terrain and beauty was one reason it had been on the top 10 places I wanted to visit.

We landed at the small Foz Do Iguazu airport late evening. We had to clear customs and immigration as we were coming from Peru, but that was a breeze. We were met by our English speaking guide, and taken to our hotel San Martin just 10 mins away. This hotel was close to the falls, not inside the falls. But, on hindsight hardly mattered.

If there was one disappointment on our vacation it was at the San Martin Hotel. While, well situated and has good surrounding ambience, the staff were to say the least unfriendly and cold, rooms were just OK and the food far below any standards.

The worst experience was with the reception and restaurant staff. If you have dinner there (and there are no other easy options), it will be a very mediocre buffet on a sit down basis. Waiters do nothing but take your plates away after you dine, and they will insist, and I mean insist on you paying a minimum of 10% tips on the buffet dinner.

Ok, here is the best part – they wont add this to the dinner bill, you cant charge the tips to your room account, you cant pay by credit card, and so the only way you can pay is by cash in dollars or Brazilian Real’s. So, if any of you go to that hotel, keep plenty of loose cash for these waiters, who will hover around you like hawks …

Anyway, to continue this story, we go and ask the reception to change our US$ bills, and guess what – … they said they cant exchange bills or change money, and ofcourse, they wont add the tip into the dinner bill or room account. So we ended up telling the waiter, we would give it to him the next day.

This was thankfully, the only unpleasant experience, and I guess this also took us by surprise as the entire city and hotels here live on tourism as their source of income. So certainly we were surprised that we found no service culture at Hotel San Martin.

So coming to the exciting falls itself, the next morning, due to the clear skies, our guide suggested we do the Brazilian side today.

We stared the day with a visit to the bird park. Here we saw a huge number of birds and species native to South America, in a beautifully maintained park. We saw very colorful birds such as Macaw’s, Grey Crowned Crane, Eagles, and many other birds. Will certainly try and cover that in a seperate blog.

Our tour of the falls started with an exciting helicopter tour of the Iguassu falls. The helicopter just seats 4, which was perfect as we were just four. The views were lovely and we got a good feel of the terrain and the magnitude of the falls.

After the 25 minute helicopter ride, we then proceeded to the park, got out just opposite to the Hotel Cataratas, which is the only hotel located within the falls. From here, we could take our trails along beautifully narrow trail walks, where the falls could be viewed in many ways, many angles and the many parts of the falls.

Now onwards, all we did was to capture breathtaking views of the falls, it was really awesome and spectacular. We got views of many falls as we walked along the trail, and went really close to the Devil’s Throat area. Of course we had our ponchos on, to prevent us getting too wet. The trail has been beautifully designed, allowing us to capture the views at our pace. Rainbows were beautiful, and could be seen from many locations. Almost at the brim of the falls, you could see the powerful flow and the thunderous sounds of over 2 Million gallons of water gushing down.

We also saw a huge amount of Raccoons, emerging from the forest, to grab any food spilt from the tourists, or even becoming aggressive by coming to the tourists to snatch food away.An interesting sight indeed.

We then had a late lunch in a beautiful spot, overlooking the falls, it was a buffet, but the food was just ok.

After lunch, we made our way to Macuco Safari. This was a combination of a jeep tour through the tropical forest and a speed boat ride to the falls.

The 1st part of the ride was nothing spectacular for us, as we just got back from the enchanting Rain Forest, but the speed boat ride was simply thrilling and with adrenal pumping speed and turns. We went so close to the falls that at one point we were almost under it. Of course, we got wet, but that was real fun. We wanted more.

An interesting sighting on one of our trails was a transparent butterfly. It really was completely transparent and beautiful. see picture. I had never seen one like this before and you could see through it as it was flying across greenery and the falls.

We then made our way back to the hotel, around 4 pm after some nice long walks and after taking in lots of spectacular views.

The Iguazu Falls – Argentina Side

It was another stunning day. We set out with our guide to cross the Brazilian border into Argentina. The separation of the two countries happens midway across a bridge. Customs and immigration seemed pretty efficient, and soon we were on our way to the the Argentina side of the falls.

Wow! It was once again a simply adrenal rushing time, when we were close to the falls. The sheer power and the mist everytime the wind blew, got us completely wet, as we approached the devils throat.

The power and the roaring falls coupled with mist and the sun, gave us a treat to so many rainbows. We saw in that one morning session, so many rainbows that surpassed all that we saw in our entire life. The interesting aspect was also that the rainbows kept appearing and vanishing every few minutes. That surely was a sight worth seeing.

After taking in the excitement of the falls, and some pictures, which I am sure would not come out well, due to wettening of the lens, I decided to have some moments just on my own. Savoring the sound, the force, the view … almost meditating, and wished, I could just sit there spending a few hours.

Ohh, it was very refreshing indeed. Refreshed my mind for sure and strangely, gave me a new found energy, something, very hard to explain. The power of nature by itself is a healing doctor that requires no appointments or medications. as I left the force of the waters, to get back to the trail, I knew this would not be the last time I come here.

We also visited the upper circuit to see more of the falls and the different sections. The walk itself was beautifully laid out, and it surely was a treat of heavenly beauty. Simply mesmerized me for sure. Also, on the beautiful walks between falls, we spotted Turtles, colorful birds, raccoons and vultures.

Returning back around 2pm, we had some rest and went to do some souvenir shopping at a very beautiful shop. The shop itself was huge, very colorful with thousands of items crafted beautifully. After buying gifts for our friends and relatives, we then headed back to the hotel for our last dinner and drink together. This was because the next day, Adit would be leaving back for Newark to start his first job.

A great trip, beautiful falls, definitely the best falls I had ever seen – completely unspoilt, and certainly more beautiful then the Niagara falls – in fact a must see for anyone who loves nature and falls. I believe they counted 275 falls here, which explains it’s pristine beauty. Oh, and if you go, make sure you experience the adrenal rushing Macuco safari.

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