Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Argentina - Iguazu Falls (7) – Devils Throat

Iguazu Falls – Devils Throat
Iguazu National Park
Argentina
Apr 2012



Devil’s Throat

Let your soul be satisfied
with the strange beauty of this landscape
that though you have searched the world in your travels
you can never find anything such as this

Good and evil, dynamic and changing
find it here. From its name.
Keep in your heart, humble man
this constant truthful message

Meditate and feel the deep emotion
contemplating the vibrant paroxysm
that the eternal mist surrounds

And do not try to describe it with your voice
Just lean your forehead against the abyss
that is the mirror of the word, God


~ translated from Gaganta del Diablo,
 a poem by Alfonso Ricciutto, which was inspired by the Devil’s Throat, Iguazu Falls. ~


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Argentina - Iguazu Falls (6) - Argentinian Side - Upper Trail


Photos from Iguazu Falls, Upper Trail.
Click on any photo to enlarge. 


Iguazu Falls – Upper Trail Photo 1, Iguazu National Park,  Argentina.
Iguazu Falls – Upper Trail 
Iguazu National Park,
Argentina.
Apr 2012



Iguazu Falls – Upper Trail Photo 2, Iguazu National Park,  Argentina. Iguazu Falls – Upper Trail Photo 3, Iguazu National Park,  Argentina.

Iguazu Falls – Upper Trail Photo 4, Iguazu National Park,  Argentina.Iguazu Falls – Upper Trail Photo 5, Iguazu National Park,  Argentina.

Iguazu Falls – Upper Trail Photo 6, Iguazu National Park,  Argentina.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Argentina – Iguazu Falls (5) – Argentinian Side – Photos from Lower Trail

Photos from the Lower Trail, Iguazu Falls.
Click on any photo to enlarge. 

Iguazu Falls, Lower Trail photo1, Iguazu National Park, Argentina
Iguazu Falls, Lower Trail photos
Iguazu National Park,
Argentina
Apr 2012



Iguazu Falls, Lower Trail photo 2, Iguazu National Park, ArgentinaIguazu Falls, Lower Trail photo 3, Iguazu National Park, Argentina Iguazu Falls, Lower Trail photo 4, Iguazu National Park, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Lower Trail photo 5, Iguazu National Park, ArgentinaIguazu Falls, Lower Trail photo 6, Iguazu National Park, Argentina




Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Argentina – Iguazu Falls (4) – Argentinian Side – Boat Trip

guazu Falls - Boat Trip Iguazu National Park, Argentina. Argentina
Iguazu Falls - Boat Trip
Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Argentina
Apr 2012

The day before, as he was dropping us off at our hotel, our guide reminded us to bring our raincoats and also an extra change of clothes for today’s boat trip to the Iguazu Falls at the Iguazu National Park.
“You are guaranteed to get wet on the boat.” he said, “It takes you right under the water falls.”

Being a light traveller and an optimist, I only brought along a spare pair of socks figuring I would be dry UNDER the raincoat which reaches almost to my ankles (I am less than 5ft 1in) and only my feet and possibly the lower part of my trousers would get wet.  Well, I was to learn the hard way I miscalculated what it took to get wet.

After leaving the train which had brought us from the Estacion Cataratas, we walked to where a truck would drive us to the embarkation point for the boat trip.


Iguazu Falls – Truck to the Boat Trip Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Iguazu Falls – Truck to the Boat Trip
Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Apr 2012


There was a crowd queuing to get on the Zodiacs which would take us to the falls. Everyone came prepared to be wet. Most people were putting on their plastic raincoats but the more adventurous among us were taking off their clothes, revealing swimsuits underneath! 

The crew handed out life jackets and water-proof bags for our shoes and cameras.

Then we were off, speeding down the Devil’s Throat towards Iguazu Falls.
The zodiac rounded a corner, throwing everyone to one side and then we were at the falls, a huge curtain of water cascading down right in front of us.

Iguazu Falls – Boat Trip by Zodiacs Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Iguazu Falls – Boat Trip by Zodiacs

Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Apr 2012


The zodiac slowed and everyone took out their cameras and started snapping away. Then the engine rev’d several times. We were getting ready to charge the falls. Everyone hurriedly put away their cameras and those with raincoats lifted the hoods over our heads in readiness.

The boat shot ahead and we were IN the falls……..water pouring down on us, drenching everything. People were covering their heads with their arms, hugging each other and screaming in excitement.

And then, we were out, everyone laughing and talking.

The engine rev’d and suddenly the zodiac shot into the falls again! This was unexpected and everyone screamed as we had a second cold shower.

Then we were out for good, and the boat turned around for the more leisurely trip back.


guazu Falls – Boat Trip – Charging the Falls Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Iguazu Falls – Boat Trip – Charging the Falls
Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Apr 2012


It was at this point I noticed the seat of my trousers was totally wet underneath my raincoat. Not-very-clever me had only brought extra socks thinking that I would be safe under the plastic raincoat. But in the excitement and moving about to take photo’s, I had somehow bunched up the raincoat beneath me and I was sitting in the pool of water which had formed on the plastic bucket seat!

It’s a good thing the sky was now a brilliant blue with fluffy clouds. The day was promising good weather and I would dry out as I walked the lower and upper trails in the Iguazu National Park.


Iguazu Falls – Boat Trip – Their turn to get wet : ) Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Iguazu Falls – Boat Trip – Their turn to get wet : )
Iguazu National Park, Argentina.
Apr 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Argentina – Iguazu Falls (3) – Argentinian Side – Trail Map and Exotic Species

Iguazu Falls – Trail Map Iguazu National Park Argentina
Iguazu Falls – Trail Map
Iguazu National Park
Argentina
Apr2012

The day before, we had already visited the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls National Park, so today we would be exploring the Argentinian Side.

The park was a short drive from Puerto Iguazu where we were staying.

At the entrance to the park, there was a trail map which you can see above….click on it for a bigger photo. It shows both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides of Iguazu Falls, and the areas around. 

We had a full day at the park. Three of us would be going on the boat ride to the falls, and we would be walking both trails in the park: the lower and upper trails, which lead to different parts of the falls.

Once we were past the entrance, we followed the walking path which led to the Estacion Cataratas. We will be taking the train, which saves quite a bit of walking since we will be walking almost all day.

Along the way, we saw some trees that had a band of bark cut off near its base. Our guide told us that these trees were not native to the region but that sometime in the past, they were brought in from another part of the world. The Iguazu National Park forestry department was undertaking an exercise to eliminate all these “Exotic Flora” as the foreigners were threatening to overwhelm the natives. 

At this point, I was going to make a joke about the Spanish culture superceding the native culture in Argentina, but I decided to zip up my mouth, as I wasn’t sure if the guide can appreciate the humour.

Actually, most Argentinians have both native and Spanish blood, and there is a growing pride in the various native cultures accompanied by efforts to preserve their history, as I had seen when I was in Ushuaia for the BeagleChannel trip.

In no time at all, we reached the Estacion Cataratas. We didn’t have to wait too long for the train, and once it arrived, we hopped onto the open carriages at the back of the train.

Today was promising to be a sunny day and I was looking forward to taking some good shots of the Iguazu Falls. 


guazu Falls – Exotic Species undergoing Banding Treatment Iguazu National Park Argentina
Iguazu Falls – Exotic Species undergoing Banding Treatment
Iguazu National Park
Argentina
Apr2012


 Iguazu Falls – Exotic Species undergoing Banding Treatment Iguazu National Park Argentina
 Iguazu Falls – Exotic Species undergoing Banding Treatment
Iguazu National Park
Argentina
Apr2012


Iguazu Falls – Estacion Cataratas for the train to the falls Iguazu National Park Argentina
Iguazu Falls – Estacion Cataratas for the train to the falls
Iguazu National Park
Argentina
Apr2012


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Argentina – Iguazu Falls (2) – Brazilian Side

Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side Iguazu National Park Brazil
Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side
Iguazu National Park
Brazil

Iguazu Falls in located in the Iguazu National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Actually, there are  two Iguazu National Parks. Argentina has one and Brazil also has its own Iguazu National Park.  The Iguazu Falls spans across the Rio Iguazu to both countries, acting as a natural border.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t just walk over to the other country across the falls. So we made two trips….one to the Argentinian Iguazu National Park and one to the Brazilian Iguazu National Park.

First we visited the Brazilian side. Our tour guide and driver picked us up from our hotel very early to avoid the traffic jam at the Argentinian-Brazilian border. The trip from our hotel to the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls took about 2 hours.

As we were walking towards the entrance to the Park, there were people selling plastic raincoats. The day before, the guide had already warned us to bring raincoats in case we got wet from the spray from the falls. And we would also need the raincoats for our boat trip on the Argentinian side the next day. But none of us had thought of bringing raincoats all the way from Malaysia!

“Not to worry,” said the guide, “They sell raincoats at the park.”

So we each bought a raincoat which turned out to be a light transparent plastic with a hood and went down to my knees.

Once we got through the ticketing station, we walked past the gift shop and noticed there were plenty of raincoats for sale there, besides T-shirts, sportswear and souvenirs. The raincoats were more expensive than the ones we bought outside, but they were thicker and of better quality. It didn’t matter though, since none of us had any intention of carrying a plastic raincoat all the way back to Malaysia. Our cheapo version was good enough for the two days we were at Iguazu.

Then we were on the way to the falls. The walking trail takes us through a subtropical rain forest. We expected the plants would be similar to Malaysia which is also in the tropics, but the guide pointed out plants we don’t have back home. And they also have animals here, that we can’t find back home.  There were plenty of raccoons running around and they didn’t seem to be afraid of the crowds of people walking on the trails.

At last we had our first look at Iguazu Falls. Everyone stared and whispered  “wow!” in an awed tone.

 It was really impressive…..a series of multi-level cascades of water fall from varying heights into the Parana river. Our guide told us that the width of the falls is 3km. Iguazu Falls is bigger than the Niagara Falls in Canada/US, even though Niagara is more famous. Iguazu Falls is taller than Niagara and twice the width.  

Some of the bigger falls have their own names and the long tongue of river which fronts the biggest falls is known as the devil’s throat. It was really impossible to see the full span of the falls all at once but following the walking path took us to various viewpoints where we could see the falls from different angles.

Unfortunately, we had a muggy day and it was impossible to get a photo-worthy shot with the overcast sky followed by a light drizzle later on. Just as we were about to leave, it started to pour and  I was glad for the raincoat.

Devil’s Throat Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side Iguazu National Park Brazil
Devil’s Throat
Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side
Iguazu National Park
Brazil

Walkway to the Falls, Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side Iguazu National Park Brazil
Walkway to the Falls, Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side
Iguazu National Park
Brazil


Looking up at the Falls, Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side Iguazu National Park Brazil
Looking up at the Falls, Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side
Iguazu National Park
Brazil


A series of Falls, Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side Iguazu National Park Brazil
A series of Falls, Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side
Iguazu National Park
Brazil


Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side Iguazu National Park Brazil
Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side
Iguazu National Park
Brazil


Observation Deck, Viewing Tower, Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side Iguazu National Park Brazil
Observation Deck, Viewing Tower, Iguazu Falls – Brazil Side
Iguazu National Park
Brazil

Viewing Tower for those not able to negotiate the walking path. There are lifts up to the observation decks. The tower is right next to the falls to the right of the picture. The Brazilian flag flies at the top of the tower. We could see the Argentinian flag on the opposite side of the falls. 

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Argentina – Iguazu Falls (1) – Puerto Iguazu - Orquideas Palace Hotel

Orquideas Palace Hotel, Puerto Iguazu, Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Orquideas Palace Hotel  - Hotel Reception Area
Puerto Iguazu,
Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Apr 2012


We went from the subantarctic to the tropics at our next stop: Iguazu Falls, located at the intersection between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

We flew into Puerto Iguazu and stayed at the Orquideas Palace Hotel. Puerto Iguazu is the nearest town to the Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side. The hotel has a restaurant opened only for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but there was a small café where you could get sandwiches, snacks and drinks.

Conveniently, the café was located next to the pool which was very popular. There were lots of people in the pool, sitting around the patio tables and sunning themselves on the deck chairs.

Since we had not brought any swimwear, we decided to check out the free internet at a nook next to the spacious reception area, as well as the TV lounge. There was also a spa……fully booked : ( , and a games room at the hotel.

Our rooms were located in a separate building reached by a covered walkway which meandered through the tropical garden filled with lush greenery and a profusion of brilliantly-coloured flowers.

 The hotel is located some way from town.   As it’s a long walk, it’s probably more practical to use a taxi, if you are staying here.

We had an early start the next day, so we decided to have our dinner at the hotel restaurant which had a nice ambience with windows looking out into the side garden. The food was nice enough, that we had dinner there for the two nights we were in Puerto Iguazu. When we got back from our tour to the Iguazu Falls the next day, we found another tour group had arrived and perhaps for that reason, the hotel offered a buffet dinner that evening.

Since no-one was a big eater, we decided to stick with the al la carte menu, which we liked. We were told we could help ourselves to soup and bread from the buffet table. I thought that was a nice gesture.

Breakfast, which was included in our package was also a buffet with a variety of ready-prepared hot food….omelette, bacon, sausages; as well as fruit and breads with cheeses, jams and dulce de leche. There was certainly plenty to eat at the Orquideas Palace Hotel.

Click here for the link to the hotel website


Orquideas Palace Hotel, Puerto Iguazu, Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Orquideas Palace Hotel  - Hotel Pool
Puerto Iguazu,
Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Apr 2012


Orquideas Palace Hotel, Puerto Iguazu, Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Orquideas Palace Hotel  - Cafe
Puerto Iguazu,
Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Apr 2012



Orquideas Palace Hotel, Puerto Iguazu, Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Orquideas Palace Hotel  - Hotel Dining Room
Puerto Iguazu,
Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
Apr 2012

We liked sitting in the lanai area with large windows facing the garden