Last week I took a few days off to visit Iguazu Falls with my friends Catherine and Katie. The trip came at a perfect time– I needed to reset my mind, see something spectacular, and just be silly with friends for a few days.
I was also excited for the opportunity to try out Argentina’s long-distance bus system, which is supposed to be relatively luxurious compared to buses in the U.S. Riders typically get to choose from three types of seats: total cama (seats that lie flat like beds), semi-cama (seats that recline a bit further than airplane seats), and regular seats. Since the bus ride was 16 hours and Catherine and Katie were coming back the same day from Mendoza (a 12 hour bus ride), we decided to get total cama seats on the way there.
True to form on long-distance public transportation, I barely slept– for most of the journey we shared the two-lane road with trucks that would WHOOSH by in the opposite direction, shaking the bus and convincing me of our impending demise. However, it was totally worth it because I got to spend several hours staring at the Argentinean countryside under a perfect night sky, and as the sun came up, guessing the different types of farms we were passing.
We arrived around midday and got to the park just a couple hours before it closed. At first the park was very quiet, offering us mellow streams…
Followed by some modest waterfalls…
And then this.
Every cliche or expression you can think of to describe something beautiful applied to these waterfalls. They were– incredible. Unbelievable. The entire time I kept asking, “How can these exist? How can this be real?” The mist created by the waterfalls added to the magical feeling.
During our first day, the most famous part of the park, La Garganta del Diablo (The Devil’s Throat), was closed because the river was too high, but fortunately for us it opened up the next day.
It looked like a hellmouth that wanted to swallow the world.
It’s hard to see in the pictures, but there were dozens of black birds diving in and out of the mist of the Devil’s Throat– they would fling themselves toward the cliff underneath the observation deck, presumably toward their nests. It was incredible to see two organisms thriving among the spray and force of a pounding waterfall– birds and the grass patches growing on the cliff rocks. (You can see the birds better in the video at the end of the post.)
The park is located in a heavily wooded area, so we got to see plenty of other wildlife too:
This a two-minute video compilation I made of the largest waterfalls in the park. The volume gives you a good idea of how loud it was around the waterfalls.