Visiting Iguazu Falls
After our trip to Antarctica, Amanda and I flew to Iguazu Falls to see some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls. Since we’re not big fans of organized tours, and had just spent two weeks on a cruise ship, we decided to make our own way to this semi-tropical region. We booked two nights in a hostel that somehow reminded me of a treehouse, and our room was barely big enough for the set of bunk beds. At first I thought our roll of toilet paper was wet, until I realized it was just THAT humid. The bathroom was a little moldy, another side effect of the extreme humidity.
When we arrived, it was too late in the day to go to the falls. But we realized that we were so close to Paraguay, it was worth looking into ways of getting there. The hostel manager, who checked on the requirements for us, came back and told us the visa for US citizens was a lot more than we were willing to pay just to check off another country.
He then proceeded to tell us another option where we could pay a driver a small fee in Argentina pesos and carry US$50 each as bribe money in case we got pulled over. Apparently people cross the border to watch the black market activities, which often were so out in the open you can see people just dropping illegal goods over the side of a bridge to someone waiting for them at the bottom. The hostel manager insisted that no one ever gets arrested for this illegal border crossing and that the bribe money always works in the rare cases where people even get pulled over, but I was a little skeptical. Not wanting to end up in a Paraguayan prison, we sided with caution and decided not to go.
In the end I’m glad we spent the majority of our time at the actual falls. Amanda negotiated us a lower price on the boat tour, which takes you right up into the falls. Luckily they hand out waterproof bags to hold your stuff so things like cameras don’t get ruined.
After the boat tour, we walked around the rest of the park admiring the falls from all different angles. Having grown up in the United States, the only major falls I really knew of were Niagara Falls. Iguazu Falls are so much better! The semi-tropical climate means there is so much more lush vegetation and interesting animals running around. We kept hoping to see a jaguar, but no such luck.
We did keep running into people from the cruise with us who signed up for the extension to Iguazu Falls through the cruise operator. They were staying at the expensive Sheraton located on the park property. While I’m sure they had more comfortable beds and better climate control in their rooms, I couldn’t help but wonder how much they missed by not venturing into the town.
We got to talk to locals working in restaurants and corner stores, we took a local bus to get to the park, and it was interesting to see the reality of this part of Argentina. It was by no means a pretty town, but it was more real than the bubble we would’ve been confined to had we stayed on the park property.
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February 20, 2011 @ 5:44 PM
Beautiful photos, this is one of the many places I would like to see some day.
February 20, 2011 @ 5:55 PM
Thanks! I hope you get there someday, it’s gorgeous!
February 20, 2011 @ 7:10 PM
My husbands mom is from Paraguay so he has been to Iguazu a million times. Every time I bring it up he says we should go someplace he hasn’t been. So I’m starting to think I’ll never get there! For now I’ll just live vicariously through your pictures 🙂
February 20, 2011 @ 7:31 PM
Thanks Kyle! Maybe go on a trip there with friends instead one of these days.
February 21, 2011 @ 4:21 AM
Darn men! That’s why I haven’t made it to Croatia yet! If I had the money I would be there in a heartbeat alone now haha. He can sit at home and think about what he did 😉
February 21, 2011 @ 7:24 AM
Hilarious! Go with the girls instead!
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures
February 20, 2011 @ 10:46 PM
Iguazu blew me away and left me totally speechless. It is a natural wonder that everyone should see!!! You look so cute in that pic 🙂
February 20, 2011 @ 11:00 PM
I totally agree, LOVED Iguazu Falls! And thanks, you’re sweet!
February 21, 2011 @ 7:49 AM
How beautiful! I would love to see it for myself. Thank you so much for sharing. Safe Travels to you!
February 21, 2011 @ 10:12 PM
February 21, 2011 @ 4:20 AM
What a great experience! I’m glad you didn’t sign up for the package deal, although sometimes it can be worth it it seems like this time you had a much more authentic experience for it!
What a beautiful place, I can’t wait to get a chance to see it!
February 21, 2011 @ 7:23 AM
I agree, sometimes they’re worth it but I always try to see if I can do it on my own first. In this case it was simple. I hope you make it there!
February 21, 2011 @ 11:09 AM
You got the full Iguazu experience, those falls are really beautiful
February 21, 2011 @ 10:13 PM
They definitely are!
February 21, 2011 @ 10:44 AM
I really want to go – we looked into going at Christmas last year, but time with family won out. Did you see lots of coatis? My husband went several years ago, and he said they were everywhere.
February 21, 2011 @ 10:13 PM
We did see some coatis at the end of the day. I was going to put a picture up of them as well, but I couldn’t fit it in. They were cute!
February 22, 2011 @ 3:18 AM
Awesome pics and post! wise choice on Paraguay, not sure if you watch Locked Up Abroad on NatGeo, but every one of their episodes starts out with the same type of assurances that you received that “everything will be fine”. Can’t wait to hit the falls next year about this time!
February 22, 2011 @ 7:23 AM
No I’ve never seen that show but thanks for reconfirming our decision! Scary!
February 23, 2011 @ 7:26 AM
Looks like you had great weather while you were there, the photos look lovely. It’s definitely a natural wonder that’s on my list!
February 23, 2011 @ 10:04 PM
It was super hot and humid, but yes good weather. I hope you make it there soon!
March 6, 2011 @ 1:13 PM
Enjoy your travels, I would love to go back there.
One of the things I loved about Iguazu (and maybe this is a silly thing to say) was the butterflies. I went in the spring and it was like being in a butterfly house at the zoo, except you are outside. I had so many butterflies land on me and my clothes and my camera. It was amazing.
If you are still in the Iguazu area and want to cross Paraguay off your list without paying for the visa, unless it’s changes since 06 there was a bus tour for the Itaipu dam, and you drove across the dam (which borders paraguay) and you technically drive through paraguay, but you don’t need the visa because you don’t actually stop in Paraguay. Then they take you to this place where you watch a movie about the dam (in brazil i think because the movie was in portuguese, but subtitled in english) and how it’s one of the biggest in the world and how much energy it generates.
March 7, 2011 @ 11:06 PM
I do remember the butterflies, they were beautiful! Thanks for the tip on Paraguay!
March 15, 2011 @ 5:49 PM
Iguazu Falls looks beautiful. I imagine it must be quite loud as well. What’s the water temperature?
March 15, 2011 @ 7:16 PM
The water was warm but still provided some relief from the hot temperatures. It was definitely loud, especially on the boat that took us right up into the falls.
May 19, 2011 @ 2:38 PM
Beautiful pictures, I like Iguazu Fall very much. It’s looks like you had a great adventure there and lots of fun. It’s great to see such fantastic places on Earth, Iguazu Falls is defintely on my ‘must-see’ list. Thanks for sharing!