Go for thrills at Iguazu Falls, Argentina

We’re walking on the Lower Falls Trail at Iguazu Falls in Argentina, looping along connecting paths, all the while gawking at the indescribably beautiful cascades of water roaring over walls of rock and plunging into the Iguazu River below. On this September day, the sun occasionally peeks out, but mostly the weather is partly cloudy—pleasant and perfect for taking pictures, and we do that very well.

Powerful waterfalls in every direction

Mist rises from Iguazu Falls

Water pours magnificently over huge black boulders into the abyss below. At places the rocks gleam like yellow gold under the flowing froth. Mist rises high above the ledges obscuring everything behind it; then it dissipates and plumes again even higher, casting a haze over the entire landscape. It’s a moody, mystical scene reminiscent of Niagara Falls or Victoria Falls—but the enormity of Iguazu dwarfs both.

Although I had heard that Iguazu Falls is a world wonder, I could not visualize the sheer numbers of thundering waterfalls—and the incredible maze of wood and steel pathways that allow visitors to experience the spectacle in such a close and personal venue. Travel brochures don’t come close to conveying the scope of the gigantic water-drops or the immensity of the site.

I'm getting soaked by the waterfall

Getting soaked on land
One path on the Lower Falls Trail  is specially designed to take brave souls into the pounding spray, an amazing experience if you can keep your balance and your eyes open in the pounding wind and water.  We come prepared and don our ponchos before walking to the end of the path, knowing we’ll be thoroughly drenched in seconds. Of course, the spray carries for some distance, and having felt it on our approach we had stashed all but the waterproof camera in dry bags. (Eager for more thrills, I do this again on another day of our visit).
Getting soaked by boat
We then scurry down a rock path, studded with pink periwinkles and purple, white, and yellow flowers of various shapes and textures, to the river. That’s where our next adventure, a boat ride with Iguazu Jungle Tours that takes us under the falls, begins. It’s an exciting and risky-looking excursion, although apparently it’s safer that it appears at first glance. On reaching the bottom of the path, we’re issued life jackets and dry bags for our backpacks and gear—and then wait for our turn to board the boat.

Heading into Iguazu Falls

To make up for an uncommonly long delay, the speedboat driver gives us the thrill of a lifetime. First, we head around St. Martin’s Island toward the waterfall, the second largest one in the series. The boat bounces and lurches closer, backs away, and goes back in even more. I’m soaked to the skin, and water is pouring over my face.

As if that isn’t enough to get our adrenalin pumping, the driver zooms back to the main river channel and then takes the boat around the bend to another pounding waterfall inside the Devil’s Throat Canyon, screeching the powerboat as he drives further into the fray—almost directly under the pounding falls. I can’t open my eyes, and I’m in rock and roll mode, so I simply hold the camera high and snap away, hoping for a few good photos. Finally, we head back to the dock, a bit wobbly but thoroughly amazed at what we’ve just experienced.

It’s late afternoon, and a chill is settling in the air, so we head back to the onsite hotel, Sheraton Iguazu Resort and Spa, for dry clothes and dinner in the restaurant.

Beautiful rainbow glows across Iguazu Falls

Tours with Iguazu Jungle:

Nautical Adventure, 15-minute wet and wild speedboat ride; about $30 USD (our excursion).
Great Adventure, one-hour tour consisting of 5.5 km. vehicle ride on a jungle trail combined with boat navigation through the narrow Lower Iguazu River and 2 km. of rapids before hitting the waterfalls; about $65 USD.
Ecological Tour, a smooth and quiet 30-minute raft ride exploring the river area—without the wet close-up. $12 USD

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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