What a Wonderful World
I finally got out of the city for the first time since that ultimate tournament in Montevideo all the way back in August (seems like just yesterday, oh how time flies!) Last weekend, faced with the always-harsh realization that my time here is limited, two of my favorite people here in BsAs and I made the somewhat rash decision to hop on a flight and explore one of the natural wonders of the world, Iguazu Falls. It’s one of those must-do activities in Argentina that you read about in travel guides months before arriving in the Southern Hemisphere. And like most recommended touristy trips, it’s usually pretty overrated, right? Wrong. From the moment we watched the sun rise over the lush green landscape from the window of the plane, I knew we were in for an unforgettable adventure. While BsAs has its fair share of gorgeous green spaces, the inescapable sound of traffic is a constant reminder that you are indeed still in the city. I was itching to get out into the salvaje, the wild.
After pulling an all-nighter and making it onto our 5:30 am flight, we landed in Iguazu around 7 am, checked into our hostel, and made it to the park by mid-morning. We explored the upper circuit first, viewing the falls from above, mesmerized by the millions of gallons of water cascading over the landscape every second. But of course, that was nothing compared to the lower circuit, where you see the falls from a completely different perspective, up close and personal. Feeling the powerful spray of the falls and having to arch your neck up as far as possible to take in the whole scene was absolutely stunning. You feel so small, so insignificant, yet so powerful and moved by the falls’ energy all at the same time.
After wandering down what felt like an enchanted path of wildflowers and more breathtaking views, we got on a boat that takes you even more up close and personal with the falls. “Primero entran a tus ojos, y despues a tu piel,” the boat driver told us. “First, the falls enter through your eyes, and later through your skin.” The boat first brings you close—but still a safe distance away—to take pictures, and then after warning you to put away all of your valuables, you go straight under the falls and are able to feel the inconceivable intensity of the water. Shrieking and howling with laughter, it was an experience I won’t soon forget.
Weary from sleep deprivation, yet still energized from the days events, we returned to the hostel and feasted with some new friends we met from Italy and Germany and rested up for Day 2.
The next day we returned to the park and embarked on another, albeit more tranquilo journey called Sendero Macuco, about a 2 mile trail off the beaten path that leads to a single waterfall that cascades down into a swimming hole. We spent the whole afternoon there basking in the sun, throwing around frisbees, swimming, and picnic-ing, and fighting off coatis (little creatures that look like a mix of a raccoon and an anteater) and monkeys from stealing our food. We had to keep reminding ourselves that no, we did not die and go to heaven; this paradise actually exists.
After sunset, we had the incredible opportunity to go on a full moon tour of perhaps the most impressive parts of the falls, La Garganta del Diablo, lit up by nothing but the light of the moon. Funny how everything works out so well without even planning it—that tour only runs for 5 nights out of every month, and we just happened to book the trip on the first night of the full moon. Unfortunately, our iphones were not advanced enough to capture the magnificence of what we experienced…all the pictures just came out black But I’ve got enough mental pictures to last a lifetime. After a champagne toast to top off an unforgettable weekend, we pulled another all-nighter before getting on board our 7 am flight back to Buenos Aires, cranky yet completely content. And of course, after taking a short nap, we got up at noon to play ultimate, because who needs sleep, right?
Our trip to Iguazu gave me the travel bug, bad. This past weekend, I visited a pueblito outside of BsAs called Pilar and went kayaking on the Rio de la Plata. This weekend will be my last weekend in BsAs (still in denial about it) and then I’ll be traveling during my last month here, so stay tuned for many more adventures!