With my aunts and my uncle reluctantly returning to the bitter polar vortex going on in Chicago, it was now just me and my parents. And we did the opposite. We headed to the jungle in the very north eastern tip of Argentina to see Iguazu Falls. I was so excited to show them my Argentina, and it was especially cool to start out with a place that was new for all of us. Iguazu Falls are at the tri-border of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, although most of the falls are in Argentina. There are supposedly 275 drops (not sure how that is determined) with the height reaching up to 269 feet.
There are all sorts of facts comparing Iguazu to other famous waterfalls, but no impressive facts can substitute for a day directly in the company and awe of these spectacular falls. It felt so good to be back in the jungle, hearing too many sounds of birds and insects to count, smelling the sweet fresh air, surrounded by so much life and green that you almost feel you are glowing green yourself. The jungle consumes you like that.
Iguazu is one of those sites where you have to just accept the crowds and understand that they are there in such abundance because the site is just that impressive. So we came up with our game plan for following the trails and walkways to soak in the falls from every angle. We headed on the higher trail, which took us to a platform directly over one end of the falls. From this angle we could see the water flowing gently, but swiftly to the cliffs edge and then powerfully plunging over where it appeared the earth had just stopped. Some flowed more gently and then there was one section of the falls that was the beast. Water did not flow or pour over the cliffs there, but seemed to simultaneously erupt and consume everything in its path. There was the massive force of water, but looking closely it seemed that there were fireworks of water, a million waterfalls within one giant one. Hawks swooped overhead and I couldn’t help but think what a fortunate, fantastical location these birds and trees were born into.
We took a small boat out onto an island where we could hike to more of a landscape view of the waterfalls. There were brave lizards along the path and crossing it, and the raccoon-cat looking hybrid coatis that were all over the place, tails up in the air, noses stuck in the ground hunting for food. I think we may have thought they were cute had we not already seen signs with gory gaping wounds from coati attacks, should you try to feed them. Every now and then a butterfly would flutter along side us, sometimes occasionally landing or posing for a picture. From this view, you could feel the mist grace our faces.
This was just a tease for what we’d do next. We got on another boat that took us to different sections of the falls, including into a waterfall itself. That was so intense. Like what a good water ride at a theme park tries to do when it imitates nature, but could never quite match. The water just pounded us and everyone was cheering and giggling and whooping so loud in a screaming match with the roar of water. We also went to the bottom of the falls that were spread out like a great theatre curtain waiting for the big show. Although I can’t imagine a more spectacular show; this was my favorite part…camera tucked away for a bit, looking up from the very bottom of the biggest, broadest waterfalls that I’ve ever seen, feeling like paradise is a secret, magical place for nature to show off in all its glory and I am physically in it.