Puerto Iguazu Argentina
Up Montevideo Uruguay

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Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls. I kept snapping away every time I came upon an interesting natural framing, planning to weed out most of the collection later. But, now I don't have the heart to toss most of the good ones.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls. Rainbows everywhere.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A hint of a rainbow over a portion of the river below the falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Trailhead for the walkways leading down to areas at the bottom of some of the falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls. Just as I snapped the picture that tree jumped in the way.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls. Each area has a name, but do you really care?


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls. I kept snapping away every time I came upon an interesting natural framing, planning to weed out most of the collection later. But, now I don't have the heart to toss most of the good ones.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Rainbows like this one formed near many of the falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls. I kept snapping away every time I came upon an interesting natural framing, planning to weed out most of the collection later. But, now I don't have the heart to toss out any of the good ones.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Approaching the top of the Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls as seen from the top.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A portion of the extensive viewing platforms and catwalks at the top of Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites. To the left are the remnants of the old walkway destroyed by a flood in 1992 a few years after my first visit to the park.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A segment of the old catwalk system destroyed by a flood in 1992. Imagine the force of that flood to knock down such a sturdy, well built structure.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.

3-7 March 2006

Hello from Iguaz˙ Falls in northeastern Argentina.

The comfortable 18 hour overnight sleeper bus from Buenos Aires featured three first class airline seats across, one on the right of the isle and two on the left. While very comfortable and roomy, combined with the periodically bumpy ride they hardly induced anything more than fitful sleep. When we arrived at the Puerto Iguaz˙ terminal a light rain made hiking unappealing. Fortunately, directly opposite the bus station sits what turned out to be the hotel I used for my entire four night stay in the area. After checking into the $70 Hotel Saint George I took advantage of its single Internet terminal to catch up on email correspondence... and wait for the sun to reappear. To my surprise that $70 rate included both breakfast and dinner, quite unusual anywhere in Latin America. 

Early the following day a special city bus provided transportation over to the park entrance about 17 kilometers away. While paying the $10 park entrance fee I learned visitors are offered a second day visit at half price! Always anxious to take advantage of bargains, naturally I grabbed one of the discount coupons. All hopes of staying a night or two in the famous Sheraton Hotel with views of the falls ended when they woke me from my faint: $490 per night... "but, that includes 21% tax, breakfast and the daily $10 National Park entrance fee," the receptionist added brightly as if that would make it sound like an offer no one could refuse! Pondering the situation I remembered the old adage, "When life hands you a lemon, there is only one thing to do. Make lemonade." So, lemon in hand I joined the line for the Sheraton Buffet Lunch in a dining room with picture window views of the falls. The activity around the buffet spread reminded me of a Las Vegas casino assembly line feeding frenzy, except for the bill: $30 with tax and obligatory tip!  

The hotel is located immediately adjacent to the park with connecting walkways. There is no obvious separation between the hotel grounds and the park grounds, themselves. Once there I admired the significantly enhanced infrastructure of the park compared to what I remember from an earlier visit years ago┤. Today visitors are treated to elegant landscaping, an intelligently designed visitor center and a miniature railroad connecting the entrance to the several trails leading to a complex of elevated walkways. Along the metal catwalks are viewing areas located at carefully selected observation points. Similar facilities on the Brazilian side of the border are visible from the Argentine side.  The train winds its way around the various upper areas of water falls making stops at the entrance to each of three principle trails leading to photogenic sites both above and below the many individual falls. The lawns along the foot path I took first had been cut recently adding a pleasant humid earthy smell to the already exotic aroma created by the unusual damp rain forest vegetation. Red clay mud puddles contrast artistically with the green lawns and rain forest background.   

Situated at the point where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet, the awesome Iguaz˙ Falls astound anyone fortunate enough to discover they are using all five senses to experience the thundering waters. I suspect most visitors take more photographs of this natural phenomenon than almost any other single natural wonder in the world. So extraordinary is this piece of real-estate, UNESCO has designated it a World Heritage Site. Since that previous visit some fifteen years ago much has changed. Gone are all the rustic wooden catwalks taking visitors precariously close to disaster. New modern steel walkways with sturdy protective railings have been rerouted around the features tourists find most interesting. Today's routes eliminate one of the most memorable features of my first visit: being drenched by drifting water spray. This time I ended both days wandering the park environs totally dry. Anyone anxious to get wet can take a boat trip to the bottom of the Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls area where the roar is deafening and rainbows frame the dashing waters. Parque Nacional Iguaz˙, as it is known in Argentina is indisputably the greatest of the three colossal water falls in the world: Victoria Falls in Africa, Niagara in New York and Iguaz˙ here. Later in my Latin American explorations I also hope to see Angle Falls in Venezuela, the World's highest waterfall. 

Signs posted along the catwalks warn visitors against feeding the wildlife on penalty of being bitten... and fined. The biodiversity of the region is unique in the world, though most animals are rarely visible to visitors. Wildlife in the park itself includes monkeys, coatis, iguanas, giant inch long black ants, a variety of birds and lest we forget, the ubiquitous mosquitoes. Only the monkeys failed to present themselves for my personal admiration.  

Organized tour groups formed the bulk of gawkers walking the paths, including several Chinese groups, something rarely seen before the recent Chinese economic miracle produced an affluent middle class. I have been seeing reminders on CNN of the upcoming series, Eye On China starting 2 April and hope to be able to catch some of the episodes. My travels through the country on several occasions over the past two decades and considerable independent study have convinced me the pragmatic Chinese approaches to solving humanity's ideological problems deserve to be watched carefully. The quest by the vast majority of humanity for "the one true religion"  is inherently flawed, inevitably doomed to catastrophic conflicts of global proportions... Armageddon in our grand children's lifetimes... unless the influence of the fanatical fundamentalists on all sides can be discredited and controlled. 

When I leave here I'll be heading back east to Montevideo in Uruguay and then north to Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

Peace

Fred L Bellomy

 

PS: All that weight I bragged about loosing earlier in the travels has now been regained. At 196 pounds I am a mere five pounds lighter than when I left nine months ago :-( F 

 


Puerto Iguazu Argentina: Photo of a happy sunburned nose taken during my visit to the falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: This is the $490 Sheraton Hotel from the main park walkway.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites. The apparent failure of this portion of the walkways is due to an optical illusion.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Sign identifying the Visitors Center.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Flowers along the trail.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls. My enhancement software produces various results; this time a warm effect.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: View of the transfer boats taking visitors out to the Isla San Martin in the middle of the rivers.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: This shot gives some idea of the volume of water falling over the cliffs here.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Near the center of the photo at the upper left of these falls can be seen people looking down at us from an observation platform on the Brazilian side of the falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls as seen from the top.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A portion of the extensive viewing platforms and catwalks near the top of Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Approaching the top of Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A portion of the extensive viewing platforms and catwalks near the top of Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A portion of the extensive viewing platforms and catwalks near the top of Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A portion of the extensive viewing platforms and catwalks near the top of Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls. Everyone wants a picture here!


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Diagram showing the layout of the various waterfalls in the park on both sides of the national border.

 

 
END

 

 

 

 


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Sign at the entrance to the $490 Sheraton Hotel.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: The sign refers to one of the two main groups of catwalks and the tram station connecting the three main departure points together.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: View of the transfer boats taking visitors out to the Isla San Martin in the middle of the rivers.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: During my time on this trail I saw a group of perhaps 25 or 30 Coatis, including some cute youngsters.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Observation tower. A spiral staircase ended at a locked door halfway up, something I learned by watching several groups try for the top.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Sign at the entrance to the park.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Observation tower. A spiral staircase ended at a locked door halfway up, something I learned by watching several groups try for the top.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Looking down from the top of one of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: While leaning over the rail admiring the falls another visitor pointed down at the nearly invisible two foot long iguana at my feet.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls. A lot of green here; this is after all a rain forest.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Another view of a portion of the hundreds of individual falls. Near the center of the photo at the upper left of these falls you can see people hanging over an observation platform on the Brazilian side of the river.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A small portion of the extensive catwalk complex leading to various view sites.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Looking down on one of the rivers feeding a group of falls.


Puerto Iguazu Argentina: I saw a lot of animals, but no monkeys.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Flowers along the trail.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A portion of the extensive viewing platforms near the top of Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls. So many cameras clicked away the noise was deafening.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: Minor falls off to the left of Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) horseshoe falls.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A segment of the old catwalk system destroyed by a flood in 1992. The engineering looks pretty good, but obviously no match for a furious Mother Nature.


Puerto Iguazu Argentina: Ragged cobblestone streets like this section are found all over town.


Puerto Iguazu Argentina: Looking down the main street in the town.


Puerto Iguazu Argentina: Entrance to the hospital, ambulance waiting for the next emergency call.


Parque Nacional Iguazu Argentina: A segment of the old catwalk system destroyed by a flood in 1992.

Reference photo: author
 August 2002
 

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