We get to the location and stop right before a huge gate leading to the National Park. That’s where Iguazú Falls are. It’s 9.30 am and surprisingly, the temperature is bearable. It’s supposed to be 35 degrees later today so the plan is to hide somewhere around noon. Until then, we want to look around a bit and maybe walk one of the tracks. We buy tickets, feed Amelka and go. It’s hard to believe that we’re actually here. I first saw these waterfalls in the picture when I was little and since then, I wanted to feel their might. A dream.
You can ride a train through the park, but we decide to cross the first section – the green track – on foot. It’s just 600 metres, nothing big. Tropical forest towers around us with colourful butterflies, insects and animals coming out of it. Coati, a type of nasua, dominates. You cannot feed them, but they can be really irritating and successful in finding food. Obviously, all of them are surrounded with people with cameras. We pass first railway station and continue along. This season, the water is very high and one of the far ramps is closed due to the stream being too violent. You can board a raft at the previous station and sail on it but we decide to give it pass.
We reach a small closed lighthouse and stand before two tracks – upper and lower one. We choose the longer one which is 1400 metres long. But don’t be fooled by the shortness of it. It will take you 2 hours to finish it. It has one major advantage – it leads through the forest, where the sun cannot reach you and close to the falls which makes the temperature bearable and sometimes even pleasant.
First, we see two sisters – Salto Dos Hermanas and then Salto Chico – the waterfall of the boy – small and intimate. We don’t know what’s coming and get amazed for the first time. We’re sweating, there are voices coming from all directions but it’s not as crowded as we feared. We were expecting a constant human stream but it’s very calm.
And then, we see the whole cascade. We come closer, almost touching the violent wall of water. It’s absolutely breathtaking and actually, we have trouble catching our breath at first. We’re wet and exposed to the wind – we needed such refreshment real bad. There’s quite a lot of people around but we easily find a place to stand and quietly enjoy the moment. It’s impossible to describe the feeling. Nothing will be the same from now on. To be honest, it’s just the first amazing moment here. You can say that Iguazú is a tourist attraction, but I’d love to see more tourist attractions like that. The beauty of nature in its best form. We look at it and know that it’s one of nature’s biggest wonders. We spent more than half an hour here. Amelka watches and smiles. The water gets blown in our direction from time to time, it’s really chilly. People around us keep taking selfies and other group photos but we stay in one place with a wall of water on one side, a chasm below us and a pool it turns into on the right. Below, we see some crazy boats which we’re going to try tomorrow. We watch them crossing the waves at high speed, disappearing in them and after a moment of suspense, reappearing again. Ania’s already looking forward to it as she loves such adrenaline kicks. In this case, me too.
Time to move. With a sigh, we continue our walk. For the next half an hour or so, we still have the view in sight. It gets more distant and panoramic. It takes some time to fit it in the frame. Finally, we have to turn in order to circle around. We pass two more smaller waterfalls, admire brown Iguazú river some 40 metres below and return to the lighthouse.
Time to rest. Ania says that she can’t remember the last time she was so amazed. And she rarely says things like that. We’re in a well air-conditioned cafe where the prices are far from reasonable. Acting sneaky, we take out empanadas smuggled from the city. Suddenly, we hear people speaking Polish. It turns out that that one person knows us, even though we don’t know them. Shocking. We exchange opinions about Iguazú for the next 20 minutes and ask about the Brazilian side which we will see tomorrow. It’s almost 2 pm. Time to hit the upper track.
This one is much shorter – only 650 metres, but you will need at least an hour to enjoy it. This time we walk over the falls we have seen from below before. We see how innocent the water looks before it turns into a deadly wave a few metres later. We pass Salto Bossetti and admire Salto San Martin – the second biggest fall of Iguazú Falls. It’s hard to write about it since Iguazú Falls is a whole made from smaller waterfalls (falls). It’s also divided administratively – 20% lies on the Brazilian side since the border goes through the middle of The Devil’s Throat. The rest is Argentine. One of the things Brazilians argue with Argentines is which side is more beautiful. We sit down and watch the running water and these damn rainbows. If the weather is cloudless, the conditions make the rainbows stay. It really messes with our heads.
Yes, a dream….
I’m happy we made it come true. We bow before this natural wonder because it deserves some respect.