07.08.2012 - 09.08.2012 28 °C
For the overnight bus to Puerta Iguazu we decided to pay a bit more for a 'full cama' seat. The buses in Argentina are split over two floors with 30 or so seats upstairs that are almost always extremely comfortable, and 10 seats downstairs which always looked outrageously comfortable, and it was the downstairs seat that we booked for the long trip up to Iguazu. Our first splurge of luxury for a long time started off brilliantly and we had the whole bottom floor to ourselves, however a couple of hours in a couple got on who were to completely ruin our experience and make us wish we had been tied to the roof instead.
The husband was about 30 stone and as soon as he sat down he started snoring hideously loudly and producing noises that should be heard exclusively in the zoo. Despite this we both managed to nod off until just after 11pm when the aforementioned monstrosity woke Lou up to ask her the time. She didn't have a watch and so woke me up to ask me. As I came to and realised what was going on I uttered two words, the second of which was "off". The situation was even more bizarre as he had a mobile phone on him which would obviously have provided the information he required without the necessity to wake us up. After the husband had gone to sleep the wife waited an hour or two before her contribution to our terrible nights sleep. Because she was extremely fat, she couldn't get out of her seat whilst Lou's seat was reclined, and so started shaking firstly Lou's seat and then when she didn't get an immediate reaction, she shook her head instead. She then spent just enough time in the toilet for us to get back to sleep again and then waited until she was stood next to us to start SHOUTING really really LOUDLY at her husband for a minute or so. I was so furious at the terrible behaviour of these two creatures that sleep after that was impossible and I listened to music for the next few hours instead.
Anyway... the town of Puerta Iguazu is little more than a portal to the waterfalls. Bar a couple of mediocre restaurants there is really nothing there of note, but then people don't come to see the town, they come for the waterfalls, which we had heard from everybody who had been were magnificant, but even the rave reviews didn't do it justice.
We were one of the first to arrive at the falls in the morning and headed straight to for the 'gigantica diablo' (devil's throat) – the huge centrepiece of Iguazu Falls. Awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, magificent, unbelievable, overwhelming... there aren't enough superlatives to express acurately the experience of standing on top of the behemoth and looking down. It is said that waterfalls release negative ions which react with the human brain to make us happy, whether that's true or not you can't fail to be amazed by the sight or moved by the energy of millions of gallons of water crashing over the edge. From the top it is impossible to see the bottom due to the mist created and you get the distinct imprssion that water is falling and powering its way into oblivion.
Aside from the showpiece, there are several walks you can do to take in the rest of the smaller waterfalls (which number upto 300 in the wet season) from different perspectives. The trails take 4-5 hours to make your way around and are spectacular in their own right with postcard views in every direction. There is also an option to take a boat ride for an even more spectacular view of the falls. The days experience was already sufficient to put it right up there with the most impressive natural wonders either of us had ever seen, and so we decided that the 12 minute boat ride was too expensive and didn't bother.
The day after we saw the falls we took a bus to the Brazilian border and bade farewell to 3 weeks of Argentina. It had been everything we had hoped and more, and is another country on the every-growing list of "must returns".