The Difference Between the Two Sides of Iguazu Falls (They're Both Impressive)
Clorinda had more Christmas decorations in January than Buenos Aires in December.
It was almost more surprising than ending up there in the first place.
That’d happened after Paraguay rejected us at the border.
In hindsight, by the time we’d walked back into Argentina, taken a cab to Clorinda, missed the last bus outta town, then booked a hotel for the night, we could of paid the outrageous visa fee at the border - but that’s travel for ya.
So there we were, having breakfast in a hotel foyer in Clorinda, underneath flickering Christmas lights, all because we didn't know Paraguay's the only country in South America that Kiwi's need a visa to visit.
Except for the border, the closest we got to Paraguay was the view from La Triple Frontera (The Triple Frontier) in Puerto Iguazu.
The 3km chain of waterfalls at Iguazu Falls was worth the bounce back into Argentina though.
Even before you get to the Devils Throat, they're astounding.
We took a whole day to tour Iguazu Falls National Park.
The subtropical rainforest surrounding the falls is home to 2,000 species of plants. There's also tapirs, giant anteaters, howler monkeys, ocelots, jaguars and caymans.
Aside from one cayman, the most wildlife we saw were the dozens of coatis creeping around stealing everyone's food. They'd pop up from behind bushes or appear at our feet like furry Houdini’s. They look like racoons but with longer noses and they'll eat anything they can get their claws on.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Circuiting the trails that weave through the park was like walking through Never Never Land.
There was green forest all around us, plus the continuous sound of water pouring down into pools and rivers from varying heights.
The closer we got to one fall, the louder the water until we had to yell at each other to be heard.
As soon as we walked away, the roar of that fall would fade out into the one that was coming up.
By the time we took Tren de la Selva up to the Devils Throat (Garganta del Diablo), all we could hear was the sound of masses of water gushing down the side of the cliffs.
When we got to the end of the walkway, there was a rainbow arcing across the falls like something out of National Geographic. It was mind blowing.
By this stage of the trip, we'd gotten pretty good at jostling our way to the front of most tourist destinations.
Everyone at the Devils Throat was rammed up against the barrier, looking down on the falls because it's too dangerous to view them from underneath.
You can do that on a speed boat with some of the smaller falls at the beginning of the park.
It's a half-blind thunderous blur of a ride. We loved it.
We got so soaked we couldn’t see anything past the film of water covering our eyes. Everything was still watery when the boat came speeding out the other side of the falls, spun around, then rushed back under for a second time.
After a full day on the Argentinian side, we crossed over to Foz do Iguaçu the next day.
The first thing we noticed about Brazil was the buffets. Because we were close to the border, the Spanish language was still working for us.
The scenery wasn’t too different as we hadn’t hit the beaches yet, but the one green buffet in town blew us away.
(It was only a hint of what was to come. As well as a never-ending supply of acai bowls, Brazil has the highest population of Japanese outside of Japan, so there’s sushi everywhere. Plus, their supermarkets are amazing. There's entire sections of gluten free and the dairy free selection is next level).
We spent half a day on the Brazilian side of the falls. The Argentinian side of the park might be bigger than Brazils’, but the lead up to the falls on the Brazilian side’s more fun.
When we arrived, there was a huge birthday celebration going on. Even the news was there. Speeches were being made as pieces of cake were handed out to the crowd, so we took a slice for the bus ride.
On the way to the main viewing platform, we were thinking that if this was how they celebrated a birthday at Foz do Iguaçu, Carnaval was going to be unbelievable.
We’d spent the day before weaving through nearly two thirds of the falls in Argentina. In Brazil, we were able to take a step back to look out over where we’d been.
The difference between the two sides of the falls, is that you go from being amongst it on the Argentinian side, to overlooking it on the Brazilian side.
The bus dropped us off outside the souvenir shops next to the start of the trail. We got a panoramic view of the falls from the main platform there, before heading down the trail to get closer towards them.
We wound up walking out onto a large platform at the base of the falls, so when we looked up we could almost see underneath the water pouring down into the river.
Further up the path, we hopped into elevators that let us out onto high platforms that extended out infront of the falls.
We were so close to the water that in some places, we could see through to the rocky cliff behind.
Just like on the Argentinian side, coatis followed our every move.
Foz do Iguaçu took half a day, so we had plenty of time to head back to town, grab some takeaway buffet, then repack our bags so our bikini's were at the top.
We may of been a little bit excited about heading to Florianopolis the next day.