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Awesome Argentina, Iguazu Falls
by


Professor Arnie Greenberg

I returned last night from a three day trip to the northern corner of Argentina where the country meets Paraguay and Brazil.

My guidebook said that “On the eighth day after the earth was built, God added the dazzling beautiful Iguazu Falls”. I had to see it for myself since Argentina is not a place I visit too often.

We arranged a plane ride with Lan airlines and flew out of Newberry Airport, only a stone’s throw from our apartment.

The airport is at the northern edge of the Rio Plata. At this point it is too far across to see Uruguay, but once in the air, the map comes alive and the view opens up. Who would have believed that one day I would have Argentina and Uruguay in my vision at one time.

The flight was about two hours (or less) and we flew at 36,000 feet to the northern most point in Argentina. Here we deplaned at a tiny airport but it was filled with tourists. Here we were finally in ‘Big Water’ country as that’s what Iguazu means.

 We were met by a guide who took us to the town of Puerto Iguazu where  we checked in to the 4 star Saint George Hotel equipped with a swimming pool, modern restaurant, junior suites, fully air conditioned, and reasonably priced. Look for it at  www.hotelsaintgeorge.com.

Hotel Saint George - click to enlarge
Hotel Saint George

The next two days were nothing short of ‘glorious’ but not all of it was for the feint of heart.

We were picked up early in the morning and driven the short distance to Parque National Iguazu at the northernmost tip if the country in Misiones Province. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is in a subtropical rainforest and here at the entrance the walking begins. Basically it as a series of 250 individual falls stretching over a two mile area. It is either higher or wider than any such falls including Niagara and Victoria Falls. At 262 feet high the awesome Gargantua del Diablo  (Devil’s Throat) is the biggest and possibly the most spectacular. One walks over safe metal walkways to balcony type viewing station close enough to feel the spray.

To get to another viewpoint one takes an Ecological Train which brings you closer to the area above the falls for a closer view. Cameras work overtime as amateurs and professionals vie for the perfect spot to take souvenir shots.

There are upper and lower views of the entire site but some of the distances are great than others and many have climbing or descending to maneuver. At times you are looking into Brazil and for those who want to go there, a special walkway exists. The problem is that by entering another country you have to get entry papers stamped which uses up precious time. For some visitors, EG. Canadians, a visa is mandatory and takes at least four days to acquire at about $125 per person. But I promise there is enough to see from the Argentina side. The walkway is cut through the forest and if you are lucky you will see, some of the 430 bird types like the colorful Toucans or 70 types of mammals. We were luck enough to see a large Coatamundi with its long, ringed tail.

We spent the day including lunch viewing most of the falls by foot or train but what came later was something I never thought I’d ever do. In a rash moment, I signed up for a powerboat trip.

I began to descent the precarious stone walkway (with the occasional taxing stairs) down to the river where we were issued life jackets and waterproof carry-alls to protect our precious possessions from what lay ahead.

The swift moving boat took about 50 people to the lover edge of the Salto San Martin. I could hardly believe it but, yes, we were about to crash through to thousands of gallons of water and circle our way out of it. Luckily, I thought, I dad a raincoat to protect me but the volume of cascading water was so heavy, I was soaked to the skin , as were all the others. But the people began to yell for ‘more’, ‘more’ (MAS! MAS!) In we went again.

Cooling? Yes, but difficult to know when to breathe in.

But we made it and then sped away over deep cascades to the base of the Garganta del Diable. It was totally euphoric…

Had I not deposited my camera in a sealed plastic pouch I might have lost the pictures I had spent so much time taking all day.

So we got back to shore, removed our watery life jackets and began one of the most difficult climbs I can remember. High above the water a specially rigged open truck waited to drive us through the jungle (The Wildlife National Prague Iguazu). The guide pointed out some of the many types of trees and listed the wild animals which he assured us only came out at night. I was grateful for that.

We were dropped off at the park reception area where our guide whisked us back to town. I was sunburned, exhausted, wet and euphoric. I can’t remember a more memorable and exciting day.

Yes, by the time it was over we had spent well over $1000 US and, I am told one might save money by not doing it through an agency, but I have no regrets. One can even go by bus but an overnight ride sitting up is not something I would look forward to.

We ate dinner and slept well in our beautiful hotel room, rose to a buffet breakfast and were taken to the airport around noon for our flight home.

In the air we flew over the acres of water that fed into these mighty falls. It is a view I’ll long remember.

For more information visit any travel agent in Buenos Aires or in Puerto Iguazu or research Iguazu before you leave.

Arnie Greenberg

http://www.top-travel-ideas.com

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You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at

Email:  Ultours1@gmail.com

Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to:  www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at ultours1@gmail.com.

(More about the writer.)

 
 

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