Other Pages of Interest

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Iguazu Falls - Argentina Part 1

Iguazu Falls, Wow. This is a must-do trip for anyone that has more than a week in South America. Iguazu Falls are located in the northeast part of Argentina where Argentina meets Brazil and Paraguay. I have broken our trip up into three blog post installments, the Argentina side, the Brazil side and wildlife. I will add that I took over 1,000 photos during our 3 days in Iguazu and I don't feel like any of them really do the waterfalls justice. April was a great time to visit because it's still warm out but not riddled with mosquitoes, the heavy tourism season is over so the park is not crowded and the dry season has not started to the falls have plenty of water to, well, fall.

Let's begin at the beginning. After multiple hours of airport delays discussed in my Jorge Newbery post, we were ready to be at our vacation spot. We arrived at the Argentinian Iguazu Airport in the late afternoon and caught a cab (Andrés Vera, I highly recommend him as a driver and we used him for all of our other travel as well - check the Services page for his information) to our hotel, the Sheraton Iguazu Resort & Spa. There are quite a few hotels to choose from, but if you are able to swing the slightly higher room rate, the Sheraton is worth it. When booking rooms at the Sheraton, there is a choice between a jungle view and falls view room. There is a difference in the price here as well, but the falls view rooms are really spectacular. Even if you don't go for the falls view, the Sheraton is a great location because it is inside Iguazu National Park and the trails surrounding the waterfalls are only a few meters from the hotel doors.
Here is a view of the falls from our hotel room balcony:
The hotel is situated so that you see the falls from the restaurants, bars, reception desk and the pool. It's a pretty awesome backdrop. The park is easy to navigate and it is unnecessary to book anything prior to visiting the falls. I was concerned that we had not booked any tours or activities during our stay, but it turns out that this is completely normal. We were able to book our boat tour through a representative stationed in our hotel and the rest of our sightseeing took place through the amazing walking paths through the park that begin as you walk out of the hotel doors. Lets start with the walking paths.

It was hard to capture pictures of each other during the walk because we were all busy taking pictures of the Falls. This picture of Jon perfectly captures the walkways that line the Argentina side of the Falls. The walkways are secure, but terrifying to anyone with a fear of heights (ie - me). If you look closely at the walkway itself, it is made out of that metal see-through grating, and you are literally standing on top of the waterfalls. The photo to the right is not zoomed, that is how close you are to the falls, pretty cool.

Touring the falls was especially easy because the Iguazu Jungle tour company seems to be the only tour company around. We opted for the Great Adventure tour which includes a 25 minute jeep ride through the jungle and a 20 minute boat ride into the falls for $200 pesos per person. The tours leave every hour and include a bilingual tour guide for the jeep ride to talk about trees and wildlife in the area. The tour has quite a few stairs at the end to get back to the hotel, but nothing too strenuous. You want to wear a bathing suit and bring as few items as possible to the tour because the "shower" they promise is more like a "submerge". The company provides waterproof bags, but many of the bags were damp inside so we wrapped our cameras in our extra clothes and then put them in the bags. The captain takes the boat to two different waterfalls, but keeps his distance at first so that you can take pictures like this one. Rest assured that the captain drove the boat directly into the waterfalls. At first it was a little shower, and then it was a holy-crap-are-we-really-this-close-to-the-rocks drenching. There were a few moments when I was not sure we would get out of the boat alive. Once we did, I viewed the boat ride as a really fun time.

In an attempt to keep my blog posts shortened to a manageable level, I will stop here. Stay tuned for Iguazu Falls - Argentina, Part 2!

4 comments:

  1. Stank and BlakelyApril 22, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Everything about this sounds so awesome!! When we come visit I want to go to Iguazu Falls! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello,
    My family (with 2 kids 4 and 2) will be travelling to Argentina in September. We are planning on visiting Iguazu falls. I've read in several places that they recommend yellow fever vaccinations and malaria tablets. Do you know whether this is really necessary?
    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you plan to venture to Brazil, it is recommended (at times required for your visa) to receive the yellow fever vaccine. I got the vaccine, my husband did not and we have both been fine. Assuming everyone is in good health, I think malaria tablets are unnecessary if you are staying in the developed parts of Argentina, but consult your doctor for the best advice. Have a great time - you'll love the falls!

    ReplyDelete