11 February 2010

Big Water Falling

Iguazu Falls is said to be one of, if not the, greatest set of waterfalls in the world. From what I've seen so far, I'd have to agree.

The falls form a border between Argentina and Brasil. We first visited the Argentinian side. It has many kilometers of trails through the jungle. Hiking allowed us to see the falls from the top, from below, and from a few look-out points that jetted out into the middle of the falls. Each view gave a different appreciation.

Yesterday we got our visa to Brasil which took only a few hours and need no additional supporting documents. It would have taken up to 6 days in Buenos Aires, plus we would have needed to provide proof of onward travel, copies of our student cards, credit cards, credit card statements, and so on. The easy border crossing here was one of the reasons we changed our route. You know my history with border crossings.

Today we strolled through the Brasilian side of the park. There was much less walking, it was all on paved trails, but the view was spectacular and the trip was well worth it.

It was interesting to compare the two sides. Both parks had a large infrastructure, obvious heavy environmental impact, and little in the way of environmental education. The parks are no wilderness parks, but more like a tourist-attraction based around a natural phenomena. Trecia prepared me for this by warning me it has a Disney-like atmosphere. At least the falls are protected and people spend their time, money and energy to see this natural wonder.

While not mentioned at either park is that a few kilometers upstream is the Itaipu Dam, which was for a long time the largest dam in the world. Not surprisingly, it also devastated the surrounding people and pristine wilderness and is considered one of the worst human-made disasters. How clean is this renewable energy source? As a bonus, you can tour the dam for $10-20.

Anyways, here are a few photos. I apologize if the pictures all look the same. I remember thinking the same thing when my dad visited the falls several years ago and showed me his photos. I assure you that the photos are of different falls and that there really are that many waterfalls. It is 3 kilometers from one end to the other, after all. The caoti photo, above, is for you Hillary.

Taken from the bridge across this deep chasm, this is the bridge's shadow disappearing into the waterfall below.

Swifts utilized the updrafts to help them circle the waters.

Getting up close and personal with the Argentinian side. 

After a 4km walk, we arrived on top of the falls, right at the edge of the Devil's Throat.

Enjoying the vast views from Brasil. 

I'm pretty sure I could huck off one of these in a kayak.

Looking over the edge in Brasil.

Trying to protect ourselves from the pounding water caused by the force of the falls.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this travel update, Danny. Your toe must be much better. How's your Portugese?