As the chief photo selector for our annual brochure and master of our image library I have literally seen hundreds of photos of Iguazu Falls.
I now realise I may as well delete them all because none of them do the falls justice. An image catches a moment in time, it freezes the scene and renders it silent. And that’s where the problem lies. Iguazu is not still and it is certainly not silent! Videos give you a small sense of what it is like and are better than photos but this is one destination that needs to be experienced in person to appreciate its awesome power. Iguazu touches all the senses.
Wildlife by the Falls
Iguazu Falls lies on the border of Brazil and Argentina – with each country having its own airport and their own spelling of the falls. We arrived from Rio and within minutes our local guide Beatrice had us heading for the falls. At the visitor centre we were encouraged to buy ponchos and told we’d need them because the falls were in flood (and boy did we need them!). The falls are situated within a large National Park that is covered in sub-tropical rainforest – on the way in we stopped as a large snake crossed the road, saw various large lizards and were introduced to the Coatie – a South American raccoon.
Feel the Power of the Falls
As with all large falls we could hear Iguazu before we could see them, it was a powerful roar that made the air vibrate. We spent the afternoon exploring the Brazilian side, we walked from viewing point to viewing point in awe which was made more surreal by the fact that earlier that morning we had been standing on Copacabana Beach. Late in the afternoon we crossed the border to our hotel within the National Park on the Argentinian side. Our hotel, the Sheraton, had the most beautiful view of the falls and the forest and being right in the park we were able to walk to them the next day.
The next morning we set off to explore the Argentinian side of the falls – there are over 7km of walking trails along, above and below the falls and each time you think you’ve found the most beautiful vista you round a corner and are blown away all over again. Despite my earlier comments about photos, I still found myself taking over 250 images, however it’s the videos that capture it best so it wasn’t long before my memory card was full!
An Amazing Travel Experience
No words can describe the power of this place and the incredible energy Iguazu Falls gives off so I won’t even try! Having said that while standing at the edge of the Devil’s Throat only metres away from this thunderous cascade I took a few moments to reflect on previous travel experiences that came close in terms of this powerful energy – the only one I could think of was the Great Pyramids in Giza. I know it sounds stupid to compare a waterfall in the middle of a rain forest in South America with a 6,000 year old ancient tomb in a desert on the edge of a mega city in Egypt but the energy and power of each is just mind blowing