The second highlight of Argentina was seeing the waterfalls in Iguazú. For a few nights I escaped Buenos Aires and headed North, by bus, to Iguazú Falls. Of course the trip itself was an adventure. What was supposed to be a 13-hour overnight bus ride, turned into a 20-hour excursion. What happened was that about hour 11.5/12, we reached a town where mate workers were on strike. They had blocked off all of the roads. There were buses and trucks lined up on the road before us and into the distance behind us. And it was hot. The drivers (there were 3) came back to explain the situation to me. They were even worried that we wouldn’t make it to Iguazú that night, at all. I told them that there wasn’t much we could do about the situation and that I was okay. The only thing that made me nervous was that they kept the bus engine running to keep the A/C and non-stop movie marathon going. At one point the engine died. That stressed me out!
After about 5 hours of sitting on the road, we started moving again and pulled into Iguazú Falls at about 9 p.m. The town of Iguazú was interesting. Like most tourist places, it caters to foreigners but Iguazú was neither oppressive nor overwhelming. I found the people to be very friendly, in fact. My hotel was small, chill, and beautiful. There was a swimming pool and air conditioning (a treat!). The staff was very friendly. I had a feeling that the women, in particular, reached out to me because I was a woman traveling and staying alone. I also happened to be there for International Women’s Day (May 8th).
The waterfalls themselves are situated within a big national park. To get there you take the local town bus. It stops at various points along the way. When the guards turn off onto the road towards the park, however, they inevitably switch into “I am on the autobahn” mode and drive that bus like it was a Benz. A little bit hair-raising to say the least (my advice: don’t sit near a window where you can see the road in front). The day that I went to visit the Falls it was very hot. The paths are marked well and there is a little train that you can take up the mountain to the top of the path to the falls if you don’t want to walk. The waterfalls were amazing. The “garganta del diablo” or Devil’s throat is a wide, beautiful, crashing waterfall complete with rainbows. There are other, smaller, yet gorgeous waterfalls throughout the park. There is also a boat ride (that I didn’t take, unfortunately) that takes you under one of the larger waterfalls! I was very excited when I arrived in Iguazú because I had noticed in Buenos Aires that the moon was almost full. It turned out that I was in Iguazú for the 5 days that there is a full moon (or the days that surround the actual full moon). I snagged a spot on a trip that includes dinner and a tour of the falls at night!! Besides having the luck to see such an amazing site, I also met a fellow American. An oncology nurse from Seattle, we actually had quite a bit in common. We shared stories, advice, opinions on Buenos Aires and on life. It was nice to meet someone on a similar path. Although my camera couldn’t capture the beauty of the falls that night, I will forever remember that evening.