The Secret Garden
Iguazu Falls - Part 2

Iguazu Falls - Part 1

As I mentioned previously, the main attraction near Puerto Iguazu is the Iguazu Falls. People travel from all over the world to this sparsely settled area along the border of Brazil and Argentina just to see them.

And it's worth it: 275 waterfalls, ranging from 200-269 feet high, along 1.7 miles of the Iguazu River. It is just breathtaking.

We got our first glimpse from the plane; note the giant gorge at the top left (where the mist is rising) - that's where we walked out to in the pictures below (we came in from the right-hand side, which is Argentina...the left-hand side is Brazil).

P1000422Back on terra firma, we hopped on the bus outside The Secret Garden for the short ride over to Iguazu National Park. Here, you pay an entrance fee for access to the falls, as well as a large swath of jungle that surrounds them. The park is built to accommodate tourists - it has gift shops, restaurants, bathroom facilities, and a whole lot of people walking around. But if you go at your own pace, it is possible to separate from the crowd a bit.

On day one, we strolled through the park area and observed the local flora and fauna, like this crazy palm tree...

P1000549 And these pretty flowering ones...

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There are butterflies everywhere here...they'll even land on you! When we hiked a remote trail through the jungle, I saw a giant blue one but couldn't get a picture :(

P1000443 We decided to view the top of the falls this day, and save the real hiking (through the lower falls and jungle) for the next day. So we headed to the Paseo Garganta del Diablo, a one-kilometer trail over the river that feeds the falls, which brings you directly to Garganta del Diablo - The Devil's Throat. This is a 490 x 2300 feet, U-shaped cataract that marks the border between Argentina and Brazil (the area in the upper left side of the above picture).

Here we are walking on the metal bridge across the river...

P1000450 Water views on both sides, and lots of fish if you look down.

P1000448As well as turtles...

P1000451 And Urricha birds if you look up...

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Then you go around a bend and see huge clouds of mist rising up from the falls (and hear the thundering roar), and you know you're getting close to Garganta del Diablo.

P1000449P1000459Legend has it that in a village near the river there lived a beautiful damsel named Naipi. Seeing her charm, a god fell in love with her and asked for her hand in marriage. But the girl had a mortal lover named Taroba and the two of them fled in a canoe through the river Iguazu. In a rage, the god took his magic sword and cut the river and the earth in two, causing the couple to perish in the gorge. The throat of the devil!

Here it is, in all its glory...

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P1000468 There's so much mist, we couldn't really tell how far down they went... until we hiked down there ourselves on day 2. I'll save that for another post.

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Previously:

The Secret Garden

Vinciguerra Glacier

Gable Island

Isla Martillo

The Beagle Channel

Ushuaia

Trelew

Gaiman

Punta Tombo

Puerto Madryn

La Boca

San Telmo

Puerto Madero

Recoleta

Palermo

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