A week before a planned trip back to the US, I booked a mini-tour to Puerto Iguazú in the northern part of Argentina. At the junction of Brasil, Paraguay and Uruguay, it’s home to the Cataratas del Iguazú – Iguaçu Falls in Portuguese.
Each of the countries has its own airport, all in a relatively small area in the Amazon jungle. I toured the Güira-oga Refuge, a terrific program that rehabilitates animals that have been injured by interactions with humans: caught in electrical wires, hit by cars, poaching. Their goal is to release them back into the wild if possible. Those animals are not on public view, to keep them acclimated to their native habitat.
The birds, monkeys, big cats and some others that we saw on about a 2-mile walk were those that could not be returned to the wild because of their injuries. We were on a wooden pathway raised a couple feet above the jungle floor, winding past cages. Great visit.
My driver that day took me to a couple other places, including the overlook point where you can see all three countries. It’s a little bit upriver from the falls, and that was the next day’s trip.
Warm and humid, as you’d expect in the jungle. I used bug spray liberally, as I’d already discovered in the previous weeks that I’m allergic to mosquitos. Eeek! I overheard many other tourists complaining about getting bitten…
A huge park, designed for tourists with walkways, a tram-style train and gift shops. Only a few places to eat and fewer restrooms, it is a natural park and refuge rather than an entertainment complex. There were many walking options to see the falls from above, from below and every which way.
I took the tram as far as possible, then walked a couple of kilometres to see the Garganta del Diablo – the Devil’s Throat. Walkways were relatively flat here, extending across quiet parts of feeder streams. Plenty of birds and plenty of tourists, too.
The emotional impact of seeing the falls is hard to overstate. I wasn’t prepared for the rush, the thrill of connecting with natural forces. The spray carried by the breeze got everyone pretty well soaked but I wouldn’t have missed it. Totally worth wrecking my knee with all the walking.
And I did have the waterproof housing on the camera.