Wet, wet pants
So for those of you who read the title of – and subsequently clicked on – this post hoping to live vicariously through a single, 30 year-old male enthusiastically ensconced in Latin America in his sexual prime (sorry Mum), I have good and bad news.
The good news is you CAN live vicariously through me! The bad news is it’s only going to float your ‘world’s biggest waterfalls’ boat today. Sorry!
‘Das a HUGE b!tch!’
Firstly, shout-out to Deuce Bigolo, Male Gigolo, for the introductory heading (told you you could live vicariously through me).
Secondly, the link-through. Today I had one of my most excellent days in Argentina touring the magnificent – and gigantic – Iguazu Falls.
Ever heard of it? No worries, neither had I. To put Iguazu Falls into context, it’s approximately 50% higher than Niagara Falls but with 1/3rd the volume of water flowing. But don’t let that jade you, because Iguazu has a whopping 250 waterfalls churning that water out! As they say, it’s not how big it is but what you do with it that counts, and if today’s experience is anything to go by, Iguazu is the Karma Sutra of waterfalls (sorry Mum).
Wow, it’s really gushing…
So what was so great about Iguazu Falls? Fortunately I have both the details on that AND a tub-load of further moisture-related innuendo up my sleeve. Time to get the ponchos out.
Based on the above statistics Iguazu Falls is the 4th highest waterfall in the world, and 7th greatest by flow volume (6th if you exclude ‘dam-augmented’ flow…and here I was worrying how I was going to slip the next piece of innuendo in).
Secondly, while you can’t get under the largest waterfall in the park (which of course would be really crazy and stupid), you CAN take a speedboat ride under the 2nd largest section of waterfall, which is only MOSTLY crazy and stupid.
When you sign up for the ride you’re fore-warned that you’re going to get wet. Really wet. Going into the ride you sort of picture it being like getting under the shower fully-clothed, taking a deep breath, and then wrenching the cold tap on full. Which is exactly what it is like, except everything down to your undies/dacks/pants is soaked through in exactly 2 seconds.
Check out the following video – here’s what the speedboat drove us into:
Crazy? You bet! Heaps of fun? Absolutely. A word to the wise though, if you do this and wear contacts make sure to keep your sunglasses on otherwise your contacts will likely come out, and then you miss the rest of the park! Fortunately I managed to salvage mine at the last second.
How to do Iguazu Falls
EVERYTHING you will read will tell you to take 2 or 3 days to do Iguazu. My strong advice? Make it a day trip.
I flew out of Buenos Aires on the 5:45am flight landing me in Iguazu not long after 7am. Coming through the arrival gates I was offered a taxi to the park (which opens at 8am) or al centro (the commonly used phrase for the town centre, wherever you are), which cost me $110 pesos. I believe a return ticket on the bus costs $70 pesos only, but the taxi company in the arrivals hall seems to be in some part integrated with the park so the driver gives you a map on the way to the park, a full rundown of what you can do there, recommendations on what order to do things in to avoid the timing of the giant busloads of tourists pouring into the park at various (staged) times during the day (which you would be one of if you went the $70 pesos route), and then walks you into the park to make sure you get yourself properly set for everything that you want to do. Nice.
Once at the park I spent $170 pesos on entry, $430 pesos buying a Pasaporte Verde or Green Passport, which gives you license to try everything in the park. and probably another $100 on food. Once you include taxis to and from the park, you’re looking at around $1,000 pesos more-or-less for the day, which may sound a lot but at the current dolar blu exchange rate of 10/1 translates into around US$100. I consider this a bargin given I got: a 30 minute guided off-road drive through part of the park, pointing out the key flora and fauna; a 1hr boat ride around the falls which provided the best photo opportunity by far, and included a drenching in getting in under one of the falls as discussed above; a 20min return train ride to the top of the falls to see the central catchment point of the falls, called Garganta del Diablo; and a 30 minute rafting trip back down from the top of the falls to examine some of the wildlife up close.
By 3pm I had done all of the above, AND walked all of the walking tracks in the park (~7.2km) AND explored San Martin island in the middle of the falls, which was accessible today because the water level was slightly lower than usual. If I had wanted to I had time enough left to cross the border into Brazil (Iguazu Falls separates the 2 countries) to see Garganta del Diablo from the other side of the falls, but really the view was fantastic on the Argentinian side anyway.
And…that’s it! Honestly if I had stayed there another day I would have gotten bored very quickly. I finished up in the park around 3:30pm and headed into al centro, which is worth checking out because it has a couple of great restaurants. I had one of the best steaks I’ve had in Argentina at a place called Frantellos, which the taxi drivers know. And it has free wifi, which is useful after a day of not being connected in the park. After 2 hours of lunching it was time to head to the airport, where I had around 1 hr to kill before my return flight boarded at 8pm. Top tip – take your passport with you, I tried to get by on my Australian drivers license thinking that would be fine for a domestic flight, but no, I became custom’s favourite person of interest both on the way into Iguazu AND on the way out.
And me with my wet, wet pants…