Last Thursday at 19:00, I embarked on a 20 hour-long bus ride from Buenos Aires Retiro Station to Puerto Iguazú, located in northern Argentina at the border of Argentina and Brazil. Although 20 hours on a public bus may sound daunting, it was nothing some Pizza Pringles and a bottle of vino couldn’t help (just kidding…?).
I was asleep by 23:00 and didn’t wake up until 6:00 or so the next morning. Despite having no solution to my morning breath and a slight headache (from the change in altitude…), I was so excited to be so close: only eight hours more!
Looking out the window I saw so much, from gauchos on horseback kicking up red dust, to street venders trying to sell the passengers bread or oranges at every stop sign.
We finally arrived at Puerto Iguazú around 14:00, and my group of 6 other IES students and I proceeded to walk the one minute to our hostel, Mango Chill. After roughly an entire day on the bus, Mango Chill was the perfect welcome to the Argentina/Brazil border: it was colorful and hip and had an impressive pool area with a stocked bar. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have scored this hostel. As it turned out, we were right: it was too good to be true; a member of my group noticed immediately that our room at Mango Chill was infested with bed bugs, or “chinches”.
So much for “The Chill Zone.”
After wandering the streets under the tropical sun for hours with luggage in tow, we finally found a relatively clean hostel with room for 7 called Garden Stone. Although the bathroom was a haven for flies and spiders, I had never been so excited to drip-dry after my shower.
It is impossible to aptly depict “las Cataratas del Iguazú,” but I will provide some basic facts:
-The falls form the natural border between Argentina and Brazil and Paraguay, thus while I stood only on the Argentine side, I was able to look across the water at Brazil and Paraguay.
-The highest waterfall is 82 meters high, called “The Devil’s Throat”—this is the main attraction of the falls.
-More than 3/4 of the falls are on the Argentine side. Iguazú has the greatest annual water flow of any waterfall on the planet.
On Saturday, the 7 of us hiked the Lower Trail and then the Upper Trail. At first, we were so excited when we saw what I would now consider to be a "dainty" waterfall, but there was so much more in store. After about 10 minutes of hiking through the jungle, we rounded the bend and saw the series of falls shaped a little like a "U." I had never before seen so much water- from the river to the falls to the masses of mist. Rainbows, palm fronds, and gliding vultures and hawks littered the view of the falls.
We ended the day with a peaceful row-boat ride down the shallow Upper Iguazú River and saw toucans, turtles, and a baby caiman.
Our trip to Iguazú National Park on Saturday was an experience so enchanting that I am unable to write words that can remotely resemble the beauty of the falls. I feel as though I will never portray – neither with words nor with photographs - my encounter with this wonder of the globe; the bond exists only with those who have also been.
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<div>My name is Lucy McNamara and I am twenty years old. I am from Bolton, Massachusetts but am currently studying <span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">history as a junior at the University of Virginia. I am the tenth out of twelve children in my family, thus I am an </span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">experienced arguer and am considering law school! I love to read, write, cook, and take photographs, and I could not be </span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">more excited to share all my new experiences in Buenos Aires with you.</span></div>