It was a relatively early start to catch a mid-morning domestic flight from B.A. to Iguazú but Aeroparque Jorge Newbery is close to the city. I thought had allowed plenty of time but was a little surprised when the Hotel said it would take 15-20 minutes to get a taxi. Turns out the Monday morning rush meant every passing Taxi, on B.A.'s busiest street, was occupied but it wasn't too long before one arrived.
Once at the airport incredibly efficient check-in and security clearance (again) meant it was barely ten minutes from taxi to gate! That gave me time to check out the local version of a familiar little car. Although I have seen lots of Fiats in Argentina the first Abarth sighted was on display airside at the airport.
Waiting at the gate it was a bit odd to be surrounded by people wearing conference badges with a "2019 Love never fails" tag-line. After chatting to them, found they were holidaying prior to a huge Jehovah's Witness convention in Buenos Aires (~48,000 attended, 6,300 international!). This was days before the event but their tags made them easy to spot at the falls!
The aircraft was another basic Boeing 737-800 but I was 'no seat power' prepared this time. Regarding those seats, it is the first time I've noticed such obvious manufacturer branding on aircraft seats. This one I associate more with race cars and hot hatches!
This take-off view shows how close downtown B.A. is to the airport, yesterday I was cycling and walking these streets!
There are two international airports close to Iguazú Falls. The Argentine Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR) and Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU). I've read of people being caught out by that and complications due to booking flights from the wrong one. This leg of the trip was a World Expeditions package and one advantage of that is freedom from that sort of confusion. The weather was warm and wet, thanks to light rain and high humidity. Got a lesson in aerodynamics watching the wing vortices as we dropped through the clouds.
A sweet hotel
As a solo traveller, typically avoiding package tours, it was something of a novelty to be met at the airport for the hotel transfer. It wasn't far to the hotel, on the river (but beyond sight of the falls), near the city of Puerto Iguazú which I never actually got to visit!
I had just gone with the trip defaults and was very impressed with the accommodation: Loi Suites Iguazú Hotel. The reception was a tranquil escape from the rain and what would turn out to be one of the most remarkable features of the stay; jungle noises.
The hotel is a series of separate buildings, immersed in the jungle, connected by wide 'swing' bridges (or ground level paths if heights are not your thing). The pool & bar area was lovely!
All the rooms opened to a jungle view, but didn't have much time to appreciate it as had to get ready for the afternoon 'Falls tour'. Unlike tackling the Antarctic excursions this just meant sorting cameras and rain gear. it was warm & humid but long trousers were still recommended, to protect from bugs or worse!
Roland Joffe’s film The Mission, about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in 18th-century South America, featured Ennio Morricone’s original score and memorable scenes shot around the Iguazu Falls. They have been used in many other productions but, for me, The Mission was special and, in truth, why I was here.
I have always loved the soundtrack, first heard on a CD borrowed from Auckland library in the 80s, and had it on my phone for some in situ listening. Perhaps it is a bit odd to base your travel itinerary on film locations and soundtracks but it seems, especially for this trip, to be a bit of a theme for me.
Iguaçu National Park (Brazil) Tour
Seemed odd to take your passport on a 4 hour tour but this one involved going to Brazil. Tour shuttle vans (Mercedes Sprinters) transferred people to a large coach to cross the border. Another benefit of the organised tour meant the border crossing just meant a short wait in the bus while the guide sorted the paperwork.
Our falls guide, Gustavo, was great in giving plenty of information without that 'canned spiel' feel. You view the falls from a short path which begins with this view and just gets more spectacular as you approach them.
It was also a place of random meetings as ran into several people from the Antarctic trip at the falls. Credit Kristen for this photo, pity about the fellow spoiling the view. We happened to be on the same tours, and hotel, but a day or so apart in arrival & departure times.
The falls are not massively high, about 70m, but are vast as water flows over about two thirds of their 2.7km length.
This was as close as I got to a Toucan in the wild. Toucan just see it in this photo?
Coati, raccoon family, were bold and out to scavenge anything going
Plush-crested jay were cool to watch and not at all scared of people.
Into the mist
It was amazing watching white Great Egret flying up the river and just disappear into the wall of spray from the falls.
Vultures, but not ominous
Lots of these fellows soaring over the falls. Apparently, they come to breed, so elegant to watch in the air.
Garganta del Diablo - Devil's Throat
The most dramatic focus of the falls is best seen from the Brazilian side. Raised walkways make the most of the view but are a bit intrusive: bloody tourists!
The walkway does allow you to get close to the falls, and wet!
It lives up to the name
The sheer volume of water is astonishing and this, being a Monday, was nowhere near peak volume. Seems odd that flow can vary by the day. It reflects Brazil throttling the volume (within agreed limits) to rebuild upstream hydro generation dam buffers after weekend consumption.
The Big Water also meant, at times, big crowds as are the second most popular tourist destination in South America (after Machu Picchu) but had time to work around them.
Although we had limited time it didn't feel 'rushed' or pressured. The walk was only about a kilometre but easily filled a couple of hours. (Another Kristen photo below)
Kristen & Gustavo (Guide) at the end of the tour.
Back to Argentina
Below my first short visit to Brazil is about to end. The border crossing was rapid, then we retraced our path back to the hotel for the evening.
Nice spot for a relaxing drink and evening meal to end the day.