Day #11,059: After the stunning views of Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side, Mr. M & I were pretty pumped to tour the Iguazu National Park in Argentina. Plus, I was secretly coveting another stamp in my passport.
In addition to passport stamps, I’m also a sucker for accommodations that include breakfast. The Bourbon Cataratas Hotel had a crazy extensive breakfast buffet. Omelette bar! Belgian waffles! Mango juice! I was one happy kid. Plus, I was feeling much healthier than I did on Iguazu Day One.
Having learned our lesson from the day before, we headed to the taxi stand across the street from our hotel and negotiated with a driver to take us the half hour to the Argentine side of Iguazu. I wasn’t sure how customs worked going back and forth across the Argentina border, but it turned out to be remarkably easy. Our driver just handed over our passports at the checkpoint, and sixty seconds later we were on our way.
The Parque Nacional in Argentina is set up a little differently than the Brazilian side; from the entrance, you take a toy ‘jungle’ train seemingly inspired by Disney Imagineers to the walking trails that wind over and around the falls.
We’d seen the legendary Garganta del Diablo Falls from Brazil the day before and couldn’t wait to see them up close. Our experience navigating NYC sidewalks paid off as we hurried past the rest of the crowd along the boardwalk.
Seriously, though, everybody else is just as excited about waterfalls as you are, so get your hustle on…
I can’t even begin to describe how mesmerizing the cataratas are… my insufficient pics will have to do.
Half of the Iguazu River’s flow (490 feet across!) pummels its way 270 feet down to form La Garganta. It was breathtaking, and Mr. M & I just stood at the railing staring at the awesome power of nature. We couldn’t tear ourselves away.
After we finally got guilted out of our choice spots along the railing (small children were trying to peer around us for a peek), we took the Jungle Train back to the main falls area and started on the Upper Circuit boardwalk.
Such a unique experience to look at waterfalls from the top down…
As my friend Shar decided upon seeing our pictures, Iguazu Falls is nature at its finest.
The Lower Circuit boardwalk brought us along the bottom of several of the falls.
As the cherry on top of a real sundae of a travel day, we even saw a rainbow.
At the end of all our trips, Mr. M & I do a recap of our favorite places, our biggest surprise while traveling, what we’d most recommend to friends, etc. Taking in Iguazu Falls from Argentina ended up being Mr. M’s very favorite stop of our Brazil trip. And my Most Surprising- I’m not sure why Iguazu isn’t more well-known in the U.S. After spending the day amongst nature at its finest, we were both convinced that Iguazu Falls should be at the top of Brazil’s celebrated natural wonders, along with the Amazon (and the also oddly ignored Pantanal). It was just so unlike anything we’d ever seen.
I love when the world reminds you that it truly is an awe-inspiring place.
Details of the Day:
Argentina Parque Nacional: You’ll need cash (Argentinian pesos) to pay the entrance fee at the park. Just have your taxi driver stop at the main gate, where you’ll find a convenient ATM.
To get from the entrance to the Garganta del Diablo viewpoint, you’ll have to take two jungle trains: the first will take you to the main trails, where you’ll disembark and wait for another train to take you the rest of the way. To avoid the mammoth crowds later in the day (especially during the summer season), take the train all the way to the Garganta del Diablo viewpoint.
Being Vegetarian in a Place That… Isn’t: Surprise, surprise! Brazil, home of the churrascaria, isn’t the first place you’d imagine an herbivore to graze. But it’s also totally do-able. Sure, you’ll eat a bunch of rice & beans… but you also get yummy pao de queijo cheese bread, a whole slew of tropical fruit juices & smoothies, and fresh mango up the yin yang. Slap it high. But I can’t sugarcoat it- you won’t get any love in the prime gaucho territory of Iguazu Falls. The region is surrounded by the largest concentration of cattle farms in the the country, and food is synonymous with not just ‘meat,’ but ‘beef.’ When we returned to the hotel for late lunch, for example, there was literally nothing I could eat other than a side of French fries (not a problem, as I love me some fries). Fellow veggies may do well searching out the touristy Italian restaurants located inside some of the bigger hotels… pescetarians will have no problem!