Puerto Iguazu – Cataratas is the sound waterfalls make

30 Jan – 02 Feb

I was really quite excited about my bus ride to Puerto Iguazu – travelling in style with seats that become beds, wifi on board and all that jazz. And it was a pretty cool experience. I was definitely glad I spent the extra 100pesos to get a bed I could sleep in, because it was a very comfortable journey and I was very pleased. (:

Hot food on a bus! Awesome. Brazil, Jan 2014

Hot food on a bus! Awesome.
Argentina, Jan 2014

The bus arrived in Puerto Iguazu at around 11, ending the 23 hour journey and depositing me in the blistering heat. And it wasn’t even THAT hot – 34 degrees or so, but it felt awful. I was only supposed to meet my CouchSurfing host at 4 or 5pm, so I had time to kill. After wandering around for a bit with all my worldly possessions, I decided to send all my clothes for laundry and just have lunch and chill out in a cafe to escape the heat.

Tropical (recycled?) Christmas decor Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Tropical (recycled?) Christmas decor
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

I ended up spending the whole afternoon in the cafe, with no word from my CS host before I finally decided to make an appearance at his place. He wasn’t home, and after waiting for another a hour and a half and getting his neighbours to call him, I finally gave up and decided to find myself a hostel. Total waste of my time, and very rude of him not to contact me at all – needless to say, I was annoyed.

[I didn’t hear from him the entire time I was in Puerto Iguazu, and only got a message from him after I had left, saying his computer was broken, which was why he didn’t contact me. I replied with a curt message lecturing him about the spirit of CS and never heard from him again. It was the first time something like that has happened to me, and what a pity, because a vast majority of CSers aren’t like that, but it only takes a few to give CS a bad rep. Sigh.]

I ended up in a hostel right across the bus terminal, run by a lovely woman named Lydia. Being as annoyed as I was with this fiasco with my non-existent host, I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner at a Chinese restaurant! Besides, it was Chinese New Year, so it seemed particularly fitting. I asked for my noodles to be prepared extra spicy and I spent the meal crying – apparently two months of not eating spicy food killed my tastebuds. It was still a good meal and I went to bed feeling pretty damn pleased with myself.

A taste of home Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

A taste of home
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

The next day, it was off to the falls! The bus company that runs that route makes a killing, charging 70 pesos for a return trip (compare this to 15 pesos to go to Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil) but there wasn’t any other option, so off I went. Entrance to the park cost another 170 pesos, but included use of the trains within the park and access to the trails.

Exhibit about the park near the entrance which was really informative Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Exhibit about the park near the entrance which was really informative
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

It was pretty cool, walking around the park. I saw a raccoon like animal – the coatie which is apparently very common in the park,

Coatie at close range Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Coatie at close range
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

these cute birds,

Gorgeous colouring on the birds Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Gorgeous colouring on the birds
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

awful tourists (I could go off on a spiel about idiot tourists who feed animals in nature reserves, but I’ll save that for another post),

Stupid tourists #1 Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Stupid tourists #1
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Stupid tourist #2 Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Stupid tourist #2
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

 

I hope they get bitten Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

I hope they get bitten, scratched and robbed
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

and of course, the waterfalls!

Bridge to Garganta del Diablo - you can see the spray of the falls! Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Bridge to Garganta del Diablo – you can see the spray of the falls!
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

First glimpse of the actual waterfalls Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

First glimpse of the actual waterfalls
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Look at this picture and imagine the sound if a plane taking off Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Look at this picture and imagine the sound of a plane taking off
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

I wanted to head back to the park to do a different trail the next day, so it was early to bed for me that night. I set out pretty early the next morning, reaching the park at about 9 and setting off on the Macuco trail, a 3-4hour trek to a smaller waterfall and back.

Clearly marked! Iguazu, Argentina,

Clearly marked!
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina,Jan 2014

It was very peaceful on the trek, with the hoards of tourists preferring to wander around the main trails.

Bamboo section of the trail Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Bamboo section of the trail
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

I kept hoping to see exciting wildlife, but unfortunately I didn’t have any luck.

Not a snake. Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Not a snake.
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Spot the toucans! The only interesting animals I saw on my trek. Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Spot the toucan! The only interesting animals I saw on my trek.
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Despite that, the waterfall at the end of the trek was pretty worth it – I also took the opportunity to take a dip in the little natural pool at the bottom of the waterfall (despite the girl at the info desk warning me not to) because it was too hot not to.

This would have been gorgeous anywhere else, but next to the majesty of the Devil's Throwt, this pales in comparison. Still really beautiful though.  Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

This would have been gorgeous anywhere else, but next to the majesty of the Devil’s Throwt, this pales in comparison. Still really beautiful though.
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Then, it was back on the trail to head back to the main park, where I decided to take a boat tour down a quieter section of the river with some cute (but annoying) kids and their families.

Cute kid was amazed by... Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Cute kid was amazed by…
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

 

This! Giant lizard! Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

This! Giant lizard!
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Such a charming kid who sat next to me on the beat ride. Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Such a charming kid who sat next to me on the beat ride.
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

The highlight of the second day was the ten minute boat ride after that. Sounds ridiculously short, but it was amazing nonetheless. The boat took us right up the the waterfalls for an amazing close-up view of the falls, and a thorough (and very welcome) drenching. Amazing stuff and definitely worth the price!

The boat to the waterfall! Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

The boat to the waterfall!
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

All up in the falls! Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

All up in the falls!
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

We got closer than this, but that would have drenched my camera Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

We got closer than this, but that would have drenched my camera
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Heading back to the city, I happened upon two American guys I had met at the park the day before. I wanted to go to Tres Fonteras, the point overlooking the borders between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and they decided to tag along. It turned out to be a really cool view of the river separating the three countries, and a gorgeous sunset to boot. Yay for perfect timing!

Paraguay to the left, Brazil to the right Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Paraguay to the left, Brazil to the right
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

That evening being a Saturday night, I headed out with some of the people at the hostel to check out the nightlife of Puerto Iguazu. We came across some mad football fans celebrating a win in the streets,

Every win is an excuse to block traffic on the streets! Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

Every win is an excuse to block traffic on the streets!
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, Jan 2014

went to a bar to chill out, where I met Lydia there who invited me along to a pretty cool party. All in all, a decent night out. And the next day…well, new day, new country – I was off to BRAZIL!

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