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Friday, April 23, 2010

Iguazu Falls - Argentina, Part 2

Ready for the exciting continuation of Iguazu Falls - Argentina? I know I am.

Iguazu Falls is located in the Iguazu National Park which covers land in Argentina and Brazil. As of April 2o10, entry into the Argentina side of the park costs $85 pesos per person for non-Argentine citizens. The charges are less if you can produce a DNI, the national identity card for Argentine citizens. We found this to be the case throughout our visit to Iguazu, it helps to be an Argentine citizen, most fees are cheaper for you. And airline tickets are 50% of the cost. Not that I'm bitter... Anyways...

There are a number of trail circuits that park entry gains you access to, the main ones are the Upper Circuit, the Lower Circuit and the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat). The trail photos I posted in Iguazu Falls - Argentina, Part 1 were from the Upper Circuit. After the soaking boat ride, our boat docked at the end of the Lower Circuit and we hiked back to the hotel from there. As a side note, if you are not interested in the jungle part of the Iguazu Jungle tour, you can hike down the Lower Circuit to the river and pick up the boat tour from there, this also shaves some money off of the tour price ($100 pesos per person - half price - although the ride only lasts 12 minutes vs our hour long tour). This same dock is where the boats to San Martin Island depart. We did not do the San Martin circuit, mainly because we didn't have time. The walk starts with 172 stairs, so it's not for the faint of heart, but the island looks to be home to an amazing number of birds and situated right in the middle of the main strip of waterfalls so I imagine that it's worth the stairmaster training.

We decided that since we were already wet from the boat tour, a little mist wouldn't hurt. Here are Jon and I at arms length of one of the falls on the Lower Circuit:

The Falls seen from here are a little less frightening for those that fear heights, but no less spectacular.
After finishing the Lower Circuit, we stopped by the hotel to get cleaned up and have some lunch. The last big circuit to complete was the Garganta del Diablo, so we walked over to the small passenger train that transports folks from the park entrance and the Sheraton to the beginning of the Devil's Throat path. The train is pretty hilarious, it's similar to the park-touring train you may see at an amusement park, but much older and slower. As slow and uncomfortable as the train is, it is a welcome sight after all of the walking involved in the day. The train drops off at the start of a 1,100 meter trail that ends at Devil's Throat. Devil's Throat is the name of another waterfall, a huge, 2-tiered waterfall that wraps around from the sidewalk end to Brazil. The trail to Devil's Throat is a serene walk, riddled with animals and butterflies, you would never guess that just a few meters away the water drops almost 270 feet. I think this video describes the view better than any photo could.

The trails and scenery throughout the park is remarkable. I could have spent all day just watching and listening to the water. It is unbelievable how much water there is - it just keeps coming. In total, we had a very full day on the Argentina side of the falls and I feel like we accomplished everything that we really needed to, but given another chance, I would spend at least 2 days on this side of the falls. I think it's great to walk the falls with a camera, but given another day I would do all of the trails again but leave the camera at home and just enjoy the view.

More Iguazu Falls coming up next, stay tuned for the Brazil side of the falls!

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