The first time actually being “in awe” of something was when I ventured all the way up from Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls – a must for anyone! I went with a new friend from the school we were both enrolled in during our study away program. Since it was my first trip outside of Buenos Aires, I preferred to use the buddy system, even more when your buddy has traveled more than you!
We decided to go by night bus, coche cama in Spanish, a common and more economical way Argentines like to travel around the country and just across the country’s borders. The buses themselves look like double deckers (think London-style buses) and have one or two attendants working on each bus, plus the driver. We left from the big bus station in Retiro, a barrio, or neighborhood, near the city border of Buenos Aires. The trip up took about 14 hours to arrive in total, leaving at 7pm and arrived around 9am the next day in the city of Posadas, where our hostel was located.
From what I remember, we were served an evening snack and breakfast on the coche cama, the snack being empanadas, savory meat stuffed pastries – the best thing I had ever eaten at the time – and facturas, mini pastries like croissants with juice and coffee for breakfast. I took my travel pillow and it worked on the bus to sleep with the chair reclined. There are different levels of comfort on the buses in South America and you can definitely tell the difference when you look at the prices. I cannot remember which option we chose, but I know it was neither the most expensive, nor the cheapest.
After the evening snack was served, they played a movie; but whoever chose to show the movie on our bus had to have had a twisted mind. Imagine watching “Funny Games” – a pychopathic horror film starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth – while it being pitch black outside and you’re in the middle of nowhere Argentina, stuck on a bus with a bunch of people you don’t know! I have no idea how I managed to sleep after watching that, but it happened, thankfully.
Staying at hostels in South America is a nice, cheaper option than a hotel. We had chosen a mixed shared room with other people since it was just for two nights and only a place to sleep and eat breakfast. Of course, you could have hung around in the yard or by the bar to meet other travelers, but on this trip our sole goal was to visit the waterfalls.
So now to the best part of the trip! We arrived at the Parque Nacional de Iguazú, paid our entrance fee and ventured into the forest. We walked for about 2o minutes, passing by species of plants and animals I had never seen before, including butterflies that landed right onto your hand, lizards and giant ants running up and down trees, and a giant rodent called Coatis scurrying around in large groups – super impressive to see – and that’s just the beginning!
After a point we came up to a clearing in the trees and heard the sound of falling water. We were there! We were gazing with our very own eyes at a view worthy of a postcard! A huge row of waterfalls with hundreds of gallons of water pounding into the Iguazú river with rainbows forming in the mist, all under a clear blue sky and warm sun. It was perfection in my eyes and I had literally stopped in my tracks and stared at this magnificent view for a good 10 minutes before I said a word or started snapping away with my camera. It was breathtaking and I’m pretty sure I had a tear, or two, in my eyes.
After seeing the entire view of all the waterfalls, you then continued on to see each individually, some where you can get up close to and feel the cold water from the mist splash on your face. You also have an option of going on a rafting boat actually go under the falls, which my friend decided to do. I, on the other hand, was okay being on dry land and seeing the falls from a safer point of view. When my friend returned from his mini boating adventure, we saw about 4-5 of the waterfalls up close, following the paths and signs that led to some, crossing bridges big and small that went directly above and to the sides of others…still having feelings of it all being surreal then and even now so know that I was actually there and seeing all this beauty in nature.
The last part of the tour was to see La Garganta del Diablo, The Devil’s Throat! To get there we had to walk a lot. Before arriving to the beast, we had to walk along a very long bridge built just above the river’s water. After walking for at least 3o minutes under the hot sun and with no shade, we got there, and it was definitely worth all that walking! A gigantic circle appears out of nowhere and you can see water just continuously caving into the “throat”. The sound of the water was nothing like I’ve ever heard before! Such power splashing down into the unknown depths of the giant hole! It was all such an unforgettable experience!
I would love to return back and do this trip all over again one day. It was amazing and will forever have a special place in my wanderlust heart. It was an incredible day and I still have vivid memories playing and replaying around in my mind of this magical place.
Thanks for reading and getting inspired! Please leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you! Stay tuned for a new blog next Thursday, and until then:
Go Get Inspired by…Quote: “I am not just an optimist. I am an opti-mystic who sees the world through the eyes of possibility” ~Edie Weinstein
Disclaimer: ALL pictures are taken by myself and are not to be reproduced without my knowledge and permission.