According to legend, a god once intended to marry a beautiful woman named Naipi who instead eloped in a canoe with her mortal lover, Tarobá. Enraged, the god split the Iguazu river, creating a vast area of waterfalls. Naipi and Tarobá were condemned to an eternal fall.
The border of Argentina and Brazil is home to the resulting Iguaçu falls; 150 – 300 in fact, depending on the season. Their heights range from 60–82m and they span 2.7km. The average flow rate is apparently 1,756 m3/s which I guess is a fairly difficult statistic to imagine! Let’s just say they flow very quickly!
We spent a day exploring the Argentine side and an afternoon on the Brazil side, the latter thanks to Emily and John Greenbank 🙂 Both were pretty unfortunate days in terms of weather (rain and cloud) but the falls were incredible nonetheless. As I said in my last post, I visited them seven or so years ago and, I now realise, at a very opportune time of year. Whereas in April the water was clear with sunshine, rainbows and butterflies in abundance, in July it’s muddy brown but there seems to be a lot more of it.
Photography was a challenge to say the least! There was a lot of mist which retreated only for a few minutes at a time; the cloudy sky was very bright in contrast to the trees; the falls’ spray plus the rain made our cameras very wet very quickly, repeatedly; there were hundreds of people to contend with; I don’t own a tripod; it’s quite hard to make brown water appear pleasant! And all this on top of the usual reduction in quality resulting from me having to use this collage app! Hopefully it’s possible to look beyond these things and glimpse the sheer magnificence and enormity of these awe-inspiring creations.
The Argentina side was a bit disappointing as, once we’d paid our entrance fee (£17 each – 4 times the price Argentinian visitors pay!), we discovered that about half of the trails were closed. This included the ‘Devil’s Throat’ which I remember vividly from last time as it is basically a walkway over the top of the most breathtakingly powerful area of the falls. Still, here is what we did see:
It was possible to take speed boat trips, guided 4WD tours and helicopter rides but that was all very expensive so we decided against them. These once-wild coatis now rule the restaurant’s outdoor seating area and swarm to anyone they think may be in possession of some tasty morsels!
I’m not sure what these birds were but they were the only ones to brave the soggy weather.
That evening, we crossed the border to Brazil during their monstrous defeat. The next day we visited the Brazilian side of the falls: even this natural wonder could not escape football fever!
Though still mainly cloudy, the weather was certainly an improvement on the previous day. We explored from new angles and got close enough to the falls that we got completely drenched! I should also point out that, particularly at close range, the roar of the tumbling water is almost deafening. The first ones show the reality of the mist!
As the sun was going down, the sky did clear to give us beautiful light on the falls.
Here are some photographs from my last visit when it must also have been butterfly breeding season as we saw thousands of them! The first set are from the Devil’s Throat walkway.
We’re now in Rio De Janeiro (so footbally that the airport baggage carousels were made into goals!) staying with a friend of mine from university and his wife – Jonathan and Becky. It’s great to stay in one place for a little while and to enjoy some homecooked food, not to mention the convenience of having Portuguese translators! Our plan for Sunday is to visit Ipanema beach then watch the World Cup final on Copacabana beach. Helicopters have been circling overhead since Saturday morning, road blocks and protests are planned and there’ll be one policeman for every three football fans with seats at the final. Brazilians watching the game yesterday were very subdued where we were and some even blew up orange (for Holland) balloons at the end! Hopefully the viewing public today will get a bit more excited!
3 thoughts on “Argentina and Brazil: Wonderfalls”
Have been totally amazed by all your fantastic photos throughout your travels. Loved reading about your adventures. Will it really soon be all over??!! Enjoy Copacabana Beach, will be thinking of you whilst watching big game!
Thanks Yvonne. It’s great to know people have continued following along 🙂 Can’t believe we fly home a week today! Hope you’re well xxx