Friday, June 14, 2013

An Argentinean wonder that should not be missed: Iguazu Falls

Hotels in Iguazu Falls come in two distinct categories. Big expensive all inclusive resorts which are outside of town on the way to the Falls and very basic hostal/hotels in town. When doing my research, neither seemed appropriate. We would be arriving late morning, so we decided to take our chances and see what was available once we arrived. In general, we like to be in the centre of things, close to restaurants and tourist information, so staying in town seemed like the best bet.

The town itself was far from amazing. It was quite hot and we had our bags to drag around with us. I stopped in at several less than appetizing hotels before we made our way to an apartment hotel recommended to us by someone at the bus station. Funnily enough the addition of a small refrigerator was enough to designate the basic room we were shown as an apartment — but it would do for a night or two.

Entrance to the Park and the Falls was by a day pass, and we had already lost part of the day, so we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening getting acclimated to our new surroundings. We took a nice walk to a high spot in the town where we could view the point where two rivers join. From there you could also see the not so far off lights of Paraguay. We walked back into town and had dinner and called it an early night.

The next morning we made our way to the bus station, where busses leave every half hour for the Iguazu Falls National Park where an amazing wonder awaited us. We had been told that it takes a full day to visit all of the different areas of the Park, so we got an early start. We were a bit nervous that we may be headed for Disney Land and prepared to be disappointed. Our visit to Niagara Falls had been a bit shocking last summer so we were ready for almost anything.

I am glad to report that we were very pleasantly surprised to find an absolutely wonderful park with lovely walkways to several vantage points of one of the world’s most spectacular attractions! There were a lot of tourists to share the experience with, which took a bit of patience, but we had all day and we took advantage of the time we had to marvel at mother nature and the be dumbstruck by the power of rushing water. We both snapped a lot of photos and took many movies. None capture the experience of being there, but here are a few from that very memorable day.

We got back on a bus at the end of day and returned to the town of Iguazu falls, stopping at the bus station to book our bus to Cordoba with a stop at San Ignacio.

San Ignacio was one of the large complexes of the Franciscan monks who came to this part of Argentina in the mid 1600’s into convert the local indigenous peoples to Christianity. We found, once we arrived that the region is full of the ruins of these massive walled Monasteries/indigenous villages. We only had a few hours between buses, so we could not visit any of the others, but we none-the-less found the experience very interesting and the ruins quite impressive.

After our visit, we hiked it back to the bus stop and caught our bus to Cordoba, our last stop before heading back to Buenos Aries.

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