Detailed report of my weekend in Iguazu Falls, Argentina as was documented in my travel journal:
“Day 1(and 2, depending how you look at it): We left Wednesday Evening by bus (Cama!!) and I slept practically the entire ride until we arrived on Thursday at 2pm (left at 9pm…yikes, thats 17 hours). At one point on the bus, I remembered thinking “Oh, we only have five more hours, thats not so bad!” WHO AM I??? I don’t know but I like it. When we got in, the weather was glorious – sunny and hot but not too humid. Our hostel was about a six minute walk from the omnibus station, so it was nice to not have to taxi – or worse use public transport – to get there. This hostel is totally different than the last one: the courtyard area has a little pool (sin chaise lounge – the only downside) and literally looks like a jungle/ tropical paradise. We laid by the pool for an hour an Terry went in. We went to the grocery store for some snacks and then wandered the town. I encountered some older gentlemen when I was eating a red pepper like an apple. They asked if I was eating it with salt (as most things in Argentina are eaten),and when I explained it was raw and sweet, they were disgusted and informed me that it was bad for my digestion. Everyone thinks they’re the healthiest. They also told me that beer is good for the stomach. Yea maybe if I’m trying to pack on a nice beer gut (which for the record, I’m not.). After exploring the small town streets of Iguazu Port, we briefly returned to the hostel and then decided to walk to the point where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet for the sunset. It was probably a half hour walk along the water of Rio Panama (no idea if that’s actually what it’s called but that was the collective guess of the group). At the top of the hill, you can look to the other two countries where they have pillars painted with the colors of their flags. It was beautiful, needless to say.
When we started to get bit by the mosquitos we decided to head back – it is a yellow fever zone after all, and I think one of the six of us got the shot. We stopped at the market on the way home to pick up some food for dinner. I’m pretty proud of it, considering the resources were extremely limited. We ended up cooking chicken maleness with cheese and tomato slices on top, accompanied by green beans, and of course Quilmes, the Argentine beer of choice. We quickly drank four liters and brought the empties back to buy four more. We had the same cashier every time, poor girl. We finished the last liters sitting by the pool at midnight, talking about attraction and relationships. Soon enough, it was just Alexa and I, left sitting in disbelief in the jungle next to a pool. It’s our first real vacation! We went to bed in clean, matching sheets and slept blissfully until the 8:30 alarm the next morning.
Day 3: Today, we were determined to get an early start to beat the crowds to Iguazu national park. We left the hostel, after being served breakfast, around 9:10/9:30, with six PB&J’s packed for lunch. We arrived at the park around 10am, after taking a $20peso, 20 minute bus ride from the omnibus station. If I had to guess I’d say it was 90 degrees F. We started by hiking a trail that was 7000 km long, which Carmen (our program director) told us you could see wild monkeys on. Needless to say, giant ants, an iguana, and a coati, but no monkeys – que triste. That was a long hike though, and when we finally got to the “waterfall,” it was more of a trickle than anything. We hiked back, took a quick snack break in the shade and headed to the next hiking trail, “the upper circuit.” This trail was less of a hike, more of a follow the railings – metal path the the viewpoints. But it had to be that way or people would fall in trying to take pictures. It was breathtaking. I’ve honestly never seen anything like those waterfalls in my life. We sat at one of the viewpoints overlooking the water for lunch.
Afterward, we walked the lower circuit – in which you are half way down the falls. The spray soaks you. I mean, you’ll see the pictures.
After doing those three trails we decided to call it a day because the island was closed (water levels too high -how cool!). Almost everyone fell asleep on the bus ride back. Upon arrival, we went back to the market and bought pasta, chorizo, and salad ingredients. We all hung around and I slept curled up on the concrete poolside, before dinner. We ended up making a salad of cabbage, peppers, carrots, and tomato with pasta with sauce containing more peppers and onions, and of course the chorizo sausage. For even the vegetable lovers like me, the cabbage was rough to stomach.
There were some new hostel dwellers that came in that day. First, we met David, from Australia, reading by the pool. He seemed friendly enough, but quickly pulled out the sexual comments that were out of line yet not entirely offensive. For example, when Terry said he was 22, David was like “oh, finally learning how to handle your alcohol. Those 18 and 19 year old Americans come down here and go crazy because they can’t drink at home.” Alexa and I shared a glance and I informed David, that I, the one who had spoken to him the most, was in fact 19. He replied, “Oh, so you’re bringing lots of guys back to the dorm?” I informed him, “absolutely not, I’m not that kind of girl” (at least not right away). Well, just an example of his inappropriateness. He works in the mines of Australia, obviously making bank, as he takes years off to travel Europe, Asia, and now now South America. Collectively, we guessed he was 30 (and balding, might I add).
The other guys we met were significantly more normal. One guy was from Switzerland and he was really nice and cool. The other, Diego, was from Sao Paulo, Brazil and was here on vacation. He was really helpful land told Alexa and I things we couldn’t miss while in Brazil.
After playing a couple rounds of “fuck the dealer” with our new “friends”, we decided to go to some club where there was no cover before 12am. There were about 8 people in the club, including our group (of six). It was fairly lame. Diego bought both Alexa and I drinks, which was really nice, and something we’re not really used to (to be fair, we usually book it to the bar as soon as we arrive so no one really has a chance). the drinks were the native brazilian drink, with a name that reminds me of Copacabana, but it was disgusting and I ended up pouring half of it down the bathroom sink and leaving the other half on some groups table and watching their confusion when a random drink appeared. I like to think of it as a random act of kindness really. Terry and Camila went with their friend to a hotel to smoke, Kaitlyn and Christine went home, and Alexa and I walked to get empanadas and an alfahor to share (pretend you’re surprised that another one of my nights ended with food). We saw that dumb dog that ate one of it’s own kind of day 1 (he was carrying a leg with a soft paw that fucker) and I still felt bad for it and gave it some ham that a group of girls left behind. I figured he only ate another pup (or cat) since he was reallyyyyy hungry and maybe he wouldn’t eat his own kind. We then returned to the hostel and slept.
Day 4: (Woke up to David in see-through tighty whities…scarred)
Today we returned to the park to see La Garganta del Diablo, the largest falls in the world, and do the nautical adventure. We got a little bit of a later start. We got to the park around 11:15 and got on the tram to the largest waterfall in the park (Garganta). There were so many butterflies, I even started to get grossed out, when the day before I couldn’t get enough. The walk down the boardwalk was above the water that feeds the waterfall – it was a long one and crowded with saunterers, which I reallllly dislike. Regardless, the Garganta was picturesque, you could look down the whole canyon between Argentina and Brazil where the water collided and vultures flew through the mist. We ate lunch while waiting for the tram. After that, we walked down the lower trail to get to the nautical adventure. We were literally climbing down the mountainside (to our death). From there we got into a boat and wrapped our things in plastic sacs to protect them from the water. I kept my camera out cause I’m a badass (and had a ziploc bag).The boat took us into one of the smaller falls of the gargantuan and then into San Martin, which is huge. I sat in the front to get the most out of my experience, and boy I did. (I practically starred in the video they took of the tour!). I got assaulted with the water and took videos until my camera died, hehe. When we returned we got on the last boat to San Martin island, where we completed the final hike – some barefoot, some pant less (guess.). I was DEAD tired by the end and the group split up, where half of us went back to the hostel, and the other half back to the Garganta. We showered and hung around, eventually going out to dinner at La Rueda. It was gorgeous and we each paid like a hundred pesos, which I didn’t feel slightly guilty about since we ate in the other two nights, and made sandwiches for lunch. After dinner, we shopped around a little and I spent $100pesos between a wall decoration and “a gringo’s guide to Argentina.” In all reality, thats about $18 USD. I then passed out on top of my bed at 10pm haha; there’s a first for everything in Argentina.
I almost missed breakfast today! I woke up around 9:45 after having horrible dreams about my parents dying in snow storms (we shared snow stories at dinner). Oddly enough, Alexa had dreams of her parents dying too. This, and us always saying the same things, is enough to freak one the fuck out. It’s raining today so we’re not doing much more than going to the grocery store and getting on the bus at 2:30. The highlight was watching the final Harry Potter movie on the bus, the downside being that I hardly slept even after taking advantage of the free mini bottles of wine, and also I bruised my hip bone on the seat belt. In all, the bus ride home was a solid twenty hours. Doesn’t get much better, huh?”