Oftentimes, I find myself wondering if I’m really a hardcore traveller or just someone who loves to travel around and visit interesting places. What do I mean by hardcore traveller? One word to probably describe these fellas are those travel fanatics, those who’ve ingrained the language, culture and tradition of a certain place in their minds that even while they sleep, they can memorise where they will go and what they will do on their trips. I guess I belong to the lowest kind of traveller. I love to visit new and interesting places but I never bother to research what to do and see in these places if it can be helped.
So when I went to Brazil early this year and visit the famous Iguazu Falls, which also lies at the borders of Agrentina and Paraguay, I only had to chuckle silently for my silliness. Why? Because I never did my research. Same thing when I went to Japan. I didn’t do my research.
I kinda know what Iguazu Falls looks like. Thanks to the constant supply of wonderful photos of fellow travel blogger Doc Gelo on his Instagram feed, I pretty much have an idea what Iguazu Falls looks from the sky. If there’s one thing to describe it, it’s humongous. It’s size is so big that the famous Niagara Falls in Canada pales in comparison to how huge it is. So yeah, to me, Iguazu Falls is that giant stream of white clouds falling in between cliffs as water falls deep in an endless gorge.
I never took the time to see what the falls looks like from the ground. I think I’ve seen photos of Iguazu in my early years and I never bothered to see what it really looks like before I went to see it.
The moment I saw that photo on top, I was like “Oh, so this is the famous falls? Okaaaaay. I took lots of photos thinking that it was the one. But then I soon noticed the hoard of tourists who came with us disappeared into the walkways like a flash. I didn’t understand what the fuss was about. So after taking photos, and with the clock ticking, (we arrived 1 hour before the park closes) we hurriedly walked the same pathway to get to the other end. I figured our transportation back to the park must be waiting at the end of that walkway. So off we walked. And walked. And walked.
That’s when it hit me. Silly me for thinking the first falls was the actual falls. Basically, we haven’t seen the mighty falls yet.
And as we walked farther, we could see more water falling from the cliffs on the other side, which we believe was Argentina. The farther we walked, the sound of water gushing became heavier.
And then out of nowhere, the image of the mighty Iguazu greeted me. It was sitting there comfortably as if it knew of our arrival. It somewhat used the afternoon sun’s rays to tease us from where we stood. She was indeed mighty and proud, inviting us to come see her up close.
The Iguazu Falls or locally referred to as Iguaçu Falls or Cataratas do Iguaçu is considered to be the largest waterfalls system in the world. They say that the best spot to see the falls is on the Argentina side. To be honest, I’m already happy seeing it from the Brazilian side. I couldn’t ask for anything else. But if they say the view is better from the Argentina side, then it must be one mind-blowing scenery out there.
The falls is shared by two parks, the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil), both parks designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Being here was just surreal. No words could describe the beauty of this waterfalls.
How to get there
When going to the falls from Brazil, you can either fly to the Foz do Iguaçu International Airport or travel by bus, which was what we did. We stayed at the lovely Continental Inn Hotel at the town of Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil and they serve a fabulous breakfast buffet spread. You can also reach the falls from Argentina via the Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport.
You need to take either a local bus or taxi to get to the park from the Brazil side. Once inside the park, you need to pay R$63.00BRL (~$20.00USD/P1,025.00Php) for the entrance fee. This covers access to the park and the round trip transportation to get to the waterfalls. The falls is far from the main park so it’s a must to ride one of the park’s tour buses to take you deep into the forest to see the waterfalls.
The Iguazu Falls is open daily from 9am to 5pm on the Brazil side and 8am to 4:30pm from the Argentina side.
Just check your passport if your visit to Brazil or Argentina is covered. Philippine passport holders enjoy visa-free access to Brazil for 90 days. However, visa is required when entering Argentina for Filipinos.