This post by Andy
3:20am My cell phone erupts with vibration and ringing, signaling that it is time to get up. I roll out of my single sized hotel room bed and make my way into the shower. 2o minutes later I head down to the lobby and immediately into a waiting cab to the airport.
Thunder,lightning and the associated heavy rains are the feature of the cab ride, and upon arrival at the airport, we find our 5:10 am flight has been delayed due to weather. As 6 am nears, we finally board for our quick and cramped 1:50 flight to Iguazu Falls. We had decided to cheat a little and not ride out to the falls, as it would have added 7 to 8 days total riding and the geography between Buenos Aires and Iguazu isn’t feature laden. In addition, with Argentina being so expensive, getting out of the country a few days earlier will be nice.
Arriving in Iguazu, the weather had changed to hot, sunny and extremely humid, exactly what one imagines a jungle to feel like. Exiting the airport, the tourism folks there help us arrange a cab to get us to the falls and park. An extremely organized process with a fixed price, our lady driver was absolutely fantastic. She not only drove us to the park, but helped us with our entrance tickets as well as our jungle and boat ride tour. Getting into the park just as it opened was also quite the bonus, as our tour was not even close to full and much more comfortable.
The jungle truck ride was mildly disappointing. Not much really to see other than the flora. No animals appeared (and the area is filled with them), as most of the animals prefer to move about on cloudy days. I did manage to see something run across the jungle path in front of the vehicle, but I have no idea what it was. As the truck ride ended we walked down a long flight of stairs to a boat waiting by the river.
As we meander down the river, everything seems a little surreal to me. I’m not sure if it is because I am tired due to the early start, or if it’s more because after a year of planning, I am literally moments away from one of the feature stops on our little adventure. Iguazu has been called one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. I also ponder whether it will end up disappointing, as so many things can, and just not live up to the expectations I have for it. One single turn in the river ends all doubt. All of a sudden the falls are there in front of me, and they are spectacular.
The boat battles the rapids and brings us up close to one section of the falls. Everybody snaps pictures and takes in the moment. After a few minutes, the boat takes us over to another section, this one is named “Devil’s Throat” and is where the highest volume of water descends. After a moment or so for photos, the boat operators make us put our valuables in dry bags, just in case we get wet. After we have secured everything, they drive the boat directly under a part of the falls, soaking all of us! The tour ends with us dropped off riverside, with the falls practically surrounding us.
As Tim, John and I start walking up the trail, clothing drip drying from our bodies, Cash cruises by us wearing only his bright blue underpants. For the rest of the day, I simply call him “Captain Underpants”. Even by the time his clothes had certainly dried, he just stuck with his personal fashion statement. He did get a few looks, but we did see some people walking around in bikinis, so one must think anything goes.
After The boat below the falls, we spend the next few hours walking the trails above the falls, taking in the jungle as well as spotting a few animals. We took the park train to the Devil’s Throat overlook as well, and took photos from there too. One of the more amazing things to me was how calm the water was, right up until the point that it tumbled over the cliff to the river below. The falls seem to come out of nowhere.
With our tour of the park coming to an end, and our return flight not until 8:30, we catch a cab into the nearby town for dinner. After dinner, we return to the airport only to find that our flight back to Buenos Aires is also delayed. At about 10 pm we board the flight, finally reaching our hotel a little after midnight. Although a very long day, it was truly an amazing experience. Being away from family on Christmas day had been quite tough (I think for all of us), so this part of our adventure helped quantify our absence, at least a little.