Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 December 2017

Monday morning and it is time to say farewell to Buenos Aires.  A lunchtime flight to Iguazu for the falls limits our time at the destination somewhat – it would have been nice to transit earlier in the morning, especially as our flight is then delayed and the small size of the Argentine airport means there is a single tractor to move luggage from plane to terminal and one bag is on the last of  the three trips!  Not as bad as Tenerife a few years ago – that was a complete standstill.

We are staying in the Melia Iguazu which is the only hotel inside the Argentine National Park, entry to which costs 500 Pesos, the size of which had not been overtly mentioned earlier (although we had checked).  This was the prime reason for visiting the ATMs as they only accept cash for this payment – no credit cards (Argentina still requires credit card signatures – chip and pin does not appear to have arrived)!  A former Sheraton hotel it is a very “concrete” structure of the ‘70s but the new owners have certainly renovated the interior.

We take our bags to our room and then we have time this afternoon, so Jackie and I head off to do the “lower” walk on the Argentinian side of the Iguazu Falls.  On our way into the Iguazu National Park our guide has already explained to us that most of the falls are on the Argentinian side of the Iguazu river but that the best views are those we shall see tomorrow from the Brazilian side as are the most impressive falls.

On this side there are three ways of seeing the falls – two of which are simple walks from the hotel – the lower walk we proceed along plus a longer higher walk.  The third way is to take the train to a location above the falls and walk along a walkway to a throat at the centre of the falls.  (The fit can use the path alongside the railway to reach the same walkway).

The lower walk supposedly has a “wet” bit as part of the route goes close to some of the secondary falls and I decide to wear my anorak to prevent getting soaked as I did on Sunday.  However the water flow is limited and we have no real danger of getting wet this afternoon – and it is hot wearing an anorak!  It is inevitably humid and also pretty hot so both of us are feeling damp by the time we reach our room.  Towards the end of our walk we spot some little monkeys.

The photos of the walk this afternoon are here.

In the interests of taking life easy we order a couple of burgers and a bottle of wine – room service; the bill was the equivalent of £75.  The absence of competition and being situated inside a National Park being the explanation of the pricing.

On Tuesday we are off to Brazil and we take a coach to wend our way round by road to the other side of the falls via the town where most of the hotels are located.  Border staff deal with transits such as ours on a daily basis and ease the movement – we stay on the coach and the guide takes our passports to the Border office, together with a list – no individual passports are stamped.  To prove we are in another country the bridge colours change halfway across as we cross the river.  And here the falls in the local language are known as Iguacu Falls in another National Park.  On the Brazilian side the coaches drop off at the lower end roughly opposite the lower walk on the Argentinian side and the visitors walk up to the top where the coaches line up for the return trip.

We then walk along the Brazilian side of the river and not only do we see the falls we saw yesterday but we also see the falls much further along and these really are spectacular.  We understand from our guide that since we visited the falls yesterday the authorities have opened a dam above the falls and have significantly increased the water flow so even the falls we saw yesterday look more impressive today!

I think we were slightly underwhelmed at Niagara Falls when we visited – that does not apply this time – this is magnificent.  On the Brazilian side they have also built walks out into the river – most visitors to these platforms put on ponchos or similar but I brave it in a T shirt and inevitably get another soaking for my pains.  I put the camera away when I get to the most distant platform as I do not want it get too wet.

The main photos from this trip are here.  Some camera phone photos taken down at the very wet platforms in the river and of more animals running wild are here.

We return across the border to our hotel in Argentina and Jackie goes to the room.  I take the train up to the top of the falls.  Neat train – it is a diesel at the front end going up the hill and there is a control trailer at the back end so it merely shuttles back and forth.  The train runs on down the hill to a station near the main entrance where people leave cars and they travel up and down using the train – so the vehicles do not move in the park.

The train photos are here.

There is some spray from the falls which helps cool down – but it is pretty warm this afternoon and the walk is some distance.  Jackie would not enjoy the walk which I guess is nearly 1km long all above the river.  The walkway is a fine mesh grating and one can see the water flowing past beneath your feet and I know she hates piers and the concept of walking above the water.

There are some photos of the throat from the viewing platform at the end to be found here.  Also some ring tail coatis photos – NOT lemurs!

I am tired by the time I get back to the train back down the hill.  The heat is certainly telling.  We are now about halfway through our holiday and so the first clothes pack is just about exhausted and it is time to move things around for the rest of the holiday.  Largely avoided splattering food down myself and so have actually managed to wear some tops more than once.  Unlike Canada and Australia there are no obvious opportunities for some laundry to be undertaken – on both those trips one of the hotels had a small laundry facility!  Time to pack up for the morning transit.