Sunday, 25 October 2015

Iguaçu Falls

So there I was, dressed like a condom and being drenched by Mother Nature at her most fierce. I looked around through glasses soaked with droplets of water and noticed that a hundred or so other people were also doing passable impersonations of condoms and being equally soaked.

Some brave fools had decided to take on the force of nature protected just by normal clothes and as a result, were totally drenched.

I was standing on a wooden walkway in the middle of Garganta do Diablo (Devil’s Throat) on the Brazilian side of Iguaçu Falls quite literally surrounded by tons of water cascading over rocks both above us and below us. I think the name Devil’s Throat is quite an apt name.

I’ve been to Niagara Falls in Canada and marvelled at its fierce beauty. I honestly never thought that I would see anything better in the waterfall department, that is until I saw Iguaçu Falls.

We arrived in Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil a week or so ago in the middle of a rainstorm and on our first full day caught a local bus to the Iguaçu National Park. We paid our entrance fee and a few moments later we found ourselves on a double decker bus heading for the falls themselves, following a rough tourist map written in Portuguese. The bus stopped a few times but with the help of my poor Spanish and Mrs PM’s limited Portuguese vocabulary, we managed to get off at the starting point for a small hike that would ultimately lead us to Devil’s Throat.

In the distance amongst the trees we could hear a distant rumbling, which meant that I heard the falls before I actually saw them. When I eventually did see them, my first thought was that there were far more than at Niagara. From where we stood the falls were across the river in Argentina and in the distance we could see walkways where Argentinians could get up close and personal. We had already decided to go to Argentina the next day so that was something to look forward to.

Our first view of the waterfalls
A closer look

The trail gradually led us down from our high vantage point. There were hundreds of people all trying to take photos with is so we had to be very patient. While we were waiting we observed the local wildlife, in particular a rather strange creature called a coati, which looks a bit like a raccoon. There were warning signs asking us not to feed these persistent little creatures as they are known to bite. I was happy to oblige because the last thing I wanted to worry about, being a massive hypochondriac, was rabies.

A cheeky coati
As we descended the views of the falls became more spectacular and the noise became louder. Mrs PM was far more prepared than I was and about half way down she bought a couple of human sized condoms from a café, anticipating the need to protect us against the water.

Getting closer

And closer
The lower we got, the spray became more prevalent and, reluctantly, I put on the giant body condom. I felt like a total berk until we arrived at Devil’s Gorge. A wooden walkway led out into Mother Nature’s biggest shower system. I could barely hear myself think, such was the volume of cascading water. We were surrounded by high waterfalls from above and below.

Deep in Garganta do Diablo

Devil's Throat
It was magnificent and I was in awe of the beauty of Mother Nature.

We kept the human condoms when we left the Brazilian side so we could use them in Argentina. The next day, a small minibus picked us up at our hotel in Foz do Iguaçu and after a relatively easy border crossing, we arrived in Parque Nacional del Iguazù on the Argentinian side of the falls.

The main difference in Argentina, apart from the language, was the view of the falls. In Brazil we descended into the Devil’s Throat. In Argentina, we got up close and personal with numerous other waterfalls from both below and above.

There were several trails. The first trail, the so-called “Low Trail” was similar to the Brazilian side apart from how close we got the falls themselves. We didn’t find ourselves trapped in Devil’s Throat but we were a lot closer to the many cascading waterfalls.

There were a couple of instances when my fear of heights joined the party. The low trail was supposed be low but in reality the pathways crossed the falls at quite a height. I was okay but I had to hurry across a couple of the paths because the drop below was enough to make me jittery. I left Mrs PM to take the scary photos as I watched by the sidelines. 

The "Low Trail"

Up close and personal
We had to put on our human condoms again for an encounter with a particularly high waterfall from below.

Later, we took the “High Trail”. I was slightly nervous because the low trail had made me worry about heights but the high trail took us over the top of the falls at an acceptable height above the rivers. The views from these lofty heights were absolutely remarkable. We walked over countless waterfalls, watching the water flow over the edges of cliffs in a raucous fusion of spray, foliage, rock and thunder. 

It was magnificent.

We barely noticed that the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Our condoms protected use from the torrential rain that had started.

We walked back hoping to see Devil’s Throat from above but sadly we ran out of time and had to meet the minibus so that we could return to Brazil.

I’ll leave you with a video that hopefully gives you a feeling of how beautiful  Iguaçu Falls is. To be honest, I preferred the views from Argentina but I would urge you to visit both for the full experience.


joeh said...

The initial picture didn't look like that much until I saw the tiny boat to put it in perspective. Quite spectacular. I have that height thing also and would have scampered over some of those sections if i could cross them at all.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Joeh,

I must admit I stole the initial picture (I usually do!).

I think you would have been okay with the height issue. I'm a total coward when it comes to heights and I managed it okay.




Elephant's Child said...

I LOVED Igaucu. Saw it from both sides. It is incredible isn't it? Condomless. I was so hot (and don't do heat well) that getting wet was more than welcome. A friend I was travelling with also took a helicopter trip over it. I passed on that one.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

It was warm but not THAT warm. We definitely needed the condoms. We saw the helicopter ride on the Brazil side but having done one before in America, I thought it might be too expensive so I didn't bother.

I loved it too.




JahTeh said...

I had desktop wallpaper of one of the last two photos but I had to take it down as I kept wanting to fall forward. I could not trust myself anywhere near a waterfall but my son had no fear so my study walls are covered in waterfall photos. I know in one of them he was hanging on with one leg over a barbed wire fence to get the perfect shot. He didn't get those genes from me.

River said...

That has to be the most beautiful, most fabulous place on earth. If I ever get the chance I'll definitely go and see it.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi JT,

I'm not quite that bad but I can see how such a photo can effect somebody.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Well worth it - even if you have to have a Yellow Fever jab.