Iguazu Falls

Prior to coming to Brazil, and in an attempt to get the kids optimistic about moving continents, we said they could pick something, (in-country), that they wanted to see. Without needing to think, Mitchell immediately nominated Iguazu Falls, a place he knew a surprisingly large amount about thanks to his “One Hundred Most Awesome Things on the Planet” book. Consequently Gavin duly organised it and we made the trip over Easter. This involved taking a two hour flight to Foz do Iguacu, the town that sits on the Brazilian side of the border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, the borders themselves being the Parana and Iguazu rivers, which merge just downstream of the falls.

We’d done the most minute amount of research before we went and knew that the falls had been elected one of the seven natural wonders of the world in 2011, but that was pretty much it, so we didn’t really know what to expect.

We got a surprise.

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This is what we saw:

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But that wasn’t all.

The falls are within a national park and they have opened up a number of activities for visitors aside from just viewing the falls from the edge, and it took us two days to really see everything.

Day one was spent going to a bird park – very interactive.

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And taking a boat trip to the bottom of the falls. I can’t describe how much fun this was.

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Day two was spent firstly bike riding through nine kilometres of jungle, then going on a short walk to a bird observatory. Our guide started the walk by telling us about the toxic plants that line the path, much to Mitchell’s fascination. They had nasty fuzzy spines that apparently could paralyse humans for up to twenty minutes. (Hmmm so tempting on so many levels).

The path also had a boardwalk over a swampy bit, with handrails that we weren’t actually allowed to use. This was on account of the ‘fire caterpillars’(?) that could be there, and we did indeed see a couple. I didn’t completely get what was so bad about them – something about hands spontaneously combusting on contact (?), but we were sufficiently deterred to negotiate the boards without the rail’s assistance.

After the hike, we took a short boat ride up the wide Iguazu River, (upstream of the falls), which had some little islands and lots of dense jungle at the edge, where we spotted cayman alligators. The next part was hopping into kayaks in pairs and going for a paddle downstream. We were admiring a crocodile basking on a log when Charlotte sensibly asked if they were dangerous. I of course thought of the crocs in Australia, you know – the ones that only seem to eat dumb tourists – and felt a bit cold.

“Do you think they could bite through our kayak?” Charlotte asked.

You mean this inflatable kayak?

We kept our distance, armed only with our blunt paddles, and tried not to think of any that might be hungry and swimming beneath us. When we made it to the end, the guide complimented us on our paddling skills and how rapidly we went. Yes, thank you adrenal glands.

The rest of the fauna was much safer and some of it truly amazing. Clouds of butterflies were everywhere, frequently landing on people, and we saw lots of other bugs, birds and these friendly mammal things that looked a bit like raccoons with longer bodies and noses. They were very cute until they wanted your food. Mitchell nearly laughed himself to a puddle when he saw one jump on a lady and steal her packet of biscuits.

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And just in case anyone isn’t aware Gavin is an engineer, here is a photo of the only other activity we did, which was surprisingly interesting. The Itaipu hydroelectricity damn, a joint project between Panama and Brazil provides ninety percent of all Panama’s electricity and twenty percent of Brazil’s. Impressive and all green energy.

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So we all had a lot of fun and Mitchell’s box has been ticked. He’s also earned himself some pretty decent credibility when it comes to picking holiday destinations. Charlotte’s request is still in the planning stages. She wants to go to a thermal water park where they have hot water slides. It’s in the middle of the Amazon jungle somewhere.

We’re still working on that one….

Random Rio Fact File

Fact #2 – Brazil nuts cost more than cashew nuts. And the portuguese word for cashew is cashew. Yay!!

3 thoughts on “Iguazu Falls

  1. Jo

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane Bron – wish we’d done all those activities when we were there. I love the inflatable kayak bit – good chuckle for the day. If there is a long list of emails waiting to be opened – I always skip to “reflecting rio” as a first pick – keep ’em coming!

    Reply
  2. Eve and Tim

    Hi Bronwyn,Gavin, Charlotte and Mitchell. The animal that is the sneak thief is a coati, or coatimundi to give it a full title. The mundi part of the name apparently means “solitary”, but we saw long family or tribe lines of them rushing around the falls. They are very endearing, but, man! you have to watch your sandwiches or they are pinched very quickly. Iguazu is definitely one of the great wonders of the natural world, and I would have liked to spend more time prowling around – so many creatures and birds and butterflies. And I saw my first Toucan there. Great memories for us!!!

    Reply

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