Foz do Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls)
When I pictured Iguazu Falls, I pictured walking around being a tourist, marveling at some cool waterfalls, and maybe going on a casual boat ride. Expectations exceeded! For only being there two full days, we packed in at least a week’s worth of adventure and activities. The days whizzed by, but when I think back to all the wonderful experiences we had, my heart starts to beat a little faster and I can’t help but to smile. Iguazu is truly unlike any other waterfall on Earth.
Day 1 we caught a bus to the national park where we began a guided tour, commencing with a 9km bike ride through the jungle. And by jungle, I’m talking a lush green forest that actually feels alive with monkeys jumping from trees, anteaters digging, large lizards (3+ ft) scampering along, and literally clouds of butterflies everywhere. And oh, can’t forget about the bats (there was a bat that lived in our hostel room that decided to flap around every night… guess you get what you pay for…) At the end of the trail, we proceeded on a short hike to an old wooden treehouse that we climbed up for an awesome birds-eye view of the river, jungle, and heaps of different types of birds.
Afterwards, we had the option to kayak down the river, and we were shocked that nobody else wanted to! This was the first time I had tried an inflatable kayak, and I was surprised how sturdy and safe it felt. The group took a motorboat to the next stop, while we decided to kayak behind them, but little did we know, they were going to speed off and leave us stranded in the enormous Iguazu River… So there we were, two girls aimlessly paddling around with no clue where to go, praying we weren’t getting close to the waterfalls. It was quite serene though, floating down the middle of the biggest river I’d ever seen, immersed in the many sounds of nature with not a soul in sight. We found it strange that there were no other boats out that day – such a beautiful and peaceful place going unseen by so many tourists. Finally, (after what felt like 30 minutes but was probably only 10), our boat came back for us with the guide laughing at how lost we looked. He led us to the side of the river, where we continued on a 2k jungle hike to our next activity, the Macuco jet boats.
While we were getting ready, putting lifejackets on and such, all the employees were joking around, saying, “Have a good shower!” … They were not joking. Our driver literally backed the boat right into the waterfall, and I was soaked from head to toe in seconds. It was unbelievable to feel how heavy the water was coming down and you could feel the incredible power of the falls.
Our second day at Iguazu we began by rappelling down a cliff for a spectacular view of the waterfalls. As first time rappellers, the hardest part was just stepping off the platform, but we quickly relaxed when we realized how easy it was. We gently released the rope to slide down to the bottom of the cliff, where we met our rock climbing guide Daniel, who would literally sprint up the rock wall (I swear he’s half monkey). What a surreal experience though, rock climbing in the presence of such an amazing natural wonder such as the falls.
After rock climbing, we walked over to white-water rafting, which started at the bottom of the falls. While we were hoping for a bit bigger rapids, it was still a cool experience, and when we reached a calm part of the river and our guide let us jump out and do flips off the raft. The white-water rafting ended at the start of the Macuco jet boats, where they let us “take another shower” for free!
Post shower we finally got to walk around and see the rest of the falls. We’d been so busy with our adventure activities that we hadn’t yet had a chance to see Iguazu in its entirety, and to our disbelief the waterfalls just KEPT. ON. GOING. I’d think to myself, “surely, that must be the end,” but as we continued along the walkway it was a never-ending strip of falls. Probably one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen. Pictures really don’t do the place justice at all; you HAVE to see it in person! My big question is how they built all the walkways that let you walk right over the falls…?
You know it’s been a successful adventure when you’re on the plane to the next location and think to yourself, “Ahhhh, I can finally breathe.” Anyways, add Iguazu Falls to your bucket list; I guarantee you won’t regret it.
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.” — Helen Keller
As always, keep on livin’ pura vida ✌