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Iguazú Falls >  Google™ Map Apr 2016+  Parque Nacional Iguazu

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Apr 2016+

"UNESCO World Heritage Centre, national park and world-famous waterfalls", they say.

Parque Nacional Iguazu

It's a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, national park and world-famous waterfalls, alright, but more on that in a minute. Most of the 275 separate, cascades are apparently in Argentina but the views of Iguaçu from Brazil are reportedly better.

There are two sides to this place, you see, and the Iguazú River is the border. This is Northern Argentina and right on top of the action cataras-wise.

You'll pay for the pleasure at an entrance that's a little bit Jurassic Park and once you're inside you'll be using the word 'jungle-y' a lot. It's actually subtropical rainforest and nearly 70 annual inches keep this garden moist.

Iguazú Falls - Inside the Entrance

That's nearly three times more than most are used to unless you live in Cumbria where it's only twice as much as you're used to. That means, whatever time of year you visit, it's likely to be a bit 'muggy' and you're likely to get a bit wet but more on that in a minute.

By the way, remember to keep that ticket for tomorrow when it's half price but only after you manage to fathom out how to validate the bloomin' thing.

Wooden walkways provide easy access but don't even think about carrying a child on piggyback!

Iguazú Falls - Wooden Walkways
Iguazú Falls - Rainforest Train

There's also a gas powered, Ecological 'Rainforest Train' but given there are only three 'stations', the need to change rivals the complications of travelling in most major urban areas.

There are two main trails here, upper and lower. This is the lower trail where you'll find yourself, not unexpectedly, looking up a lot.

Iguazú Falls - Lower Trail
Iguazú Falls - Lower Trail

No words can describe, no photograph can capture but let's have a go... this misty-eyed view isn't even the main attraction!

Aventura Náutica? Now that sounds interesting, a 'nautical adventure'? That means the binocs will be out to verify those are black vultures circling on the thermals. There might be the glimpse of a caiman and the chance to gain a better understanding of the geology that underpins this whole formation?

That's what it says in Spanish in the leaflet, probably? You book back at the entrance and follow the lower trail when it soon becomes clear... it's only a blummin' theme park ride!

Iguazú Falls - Aventura Náutica

The clue should have been the people in the queue. They were either all nearly in the nuddy or wearing sou'westers and the rubber bag for the belongings? Oh dear, too late now to turn back, here we go...

Before you know it you're being accelerated into a waterfall. Three times. He might as well have thrown buckets of water in people's faces. '¿Una más?' Aye, go on then, one more. In this humidity, these pants aren't drying out anytime soon.

This is on the upper trail where you'll find yourself, not unexpectedly, looking down a lot. Inevitable comparison to Niagara time now and although that's not been to, everyone has seen Superman II and it looks impressive enough.

Iguazú Falls - Upper Trail
Iguazú Falls - Upper Trail

This lot stretch for two miles making them way wider than Niagara. They're also about 250-foot high and Niagara's around two-thirds of that.

Strangely, Niagara wins on the volume of water but as US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly quipped on a day trip here... 'Poor Niagara!' It's comparably a dripping tap.

Iguazú Falls - Upper Trail

No words are sufficient, no photograph can do justice but let's have a go... set your camera to diorama then think you're David Bailey but remember, these things aren't even the main attraction!

Aww, wook at the widdle waccoon. Don't be fooled, the South American coati can give you a gash on the hand that'll need some serious stitching.

Iguazú Falls - Nasua Nasua
Iguazú Falls - Nasua Nasua

Next to the graphic photograph, some words of warning about feeding. Some youths who'd had their sandwiches poached after a fearless invasion onto their table had just been laughed at. Idiots! Can't they read?

So Bob's coming out of the snack bar with a bag of tiny, Spanish pasties. He's looking at me, I'm looking at him, I'm bigger than you, I'm having them!... SWIPE!

The bag is sliced open, the pasties are free, Bob yells like a girl then he's straight up a tree. I had to go back in and get three more... 'Mmmm, they were delicious, thanks.'

The only effective deterrent seems to be a plastic bottle stuck on a pole so there are, literally, more of them than you can shake a stick at. Saying that, some energetic and noisy scraping along the ground looks to be the most successful method.

Still, looking forward to the regaling of folk at the next, posh dinner party, because yeah, there are always plenty of invites to them... 'Have you heard about the time a coati stole SlyBob's empanadas?'

You're also warned about feeding the capuchin monkeys although they're not remotely interested in your frothy coffee and they're not nearly as evident.

Iguazú Falls - Cebus Capucinus
Iguazú Falls - Cyanocorax Chrysops

Continuing with the ever-so-slightly-blurry, wildlife theme, of all of the birds around here the plush-crested jay is quite difficult to see. It's also quite difficult to say.

That gas powered train mentioned earlier takes you north and to your final destination. You can wait up to an hour in peak season or you can walk the couple of miles alongside the track although that's only really recommended if those queues are unbearable or those still damp pants need drying.

From the station, head out on more wooden walkways and a sequence of interconnected islands.

Iguazú Falls - Iguazú River
Iguazú Falls - Iguazú River

You're on top of the Iguazu River here and things are about to take a plunge so hard hats off to whoever constructed these.

They suffered significant damage in 2014 due to record volumes of water and several months were required during the dry season in what is described as 'risky work on the edge of the waterfalls'. That's what's thought to be called doing a 'proper shift'.

Remember when you were pulled over at gunpoint in the taxi from the airport and forced to part with some pesos for a green voucher? That weren't no shakedown, your eco-tax funds the conservation of all 259 square miles of the National Park you're in and, by association, these Argentine snake-necked turtles.

Iguazú Falls - Hydromedusa Tectifera

That makes these things practically pets and briefly entitles you to obstruct this walkway for a worthwhile snap. Calm down everybody and just wait a few seconds, that main attraction isn't going anywhere.

Lepidopterists will get into a right flap here, over 800 different species depending on who you ask, or Google™, and most of them are represented today.

Iguazú Falls - Lepidoptera
Iguazú Falls - Lepidoptera

A bit of bad timing, the big blue one that was the intended subject decided to do one right on the click and went and got itself into a right flap.

They're tame as well and will soon be crawling all over your hands, head and your rucksack. Unlike David Attenborough, though, you'll start to get a little bit irritated and after about an hour, you'll find yourself in a right flap.

They also look to be a good source of food for these normally man-eating spiders.

Iguazú Falls - Orb-Weaving Alpaida?

They lurk beneath the walkways dining on any that you've brushed off a little too vigorously and look to be some kind of orb-weaving Alpaida depending on who you ask. Or Google™.

At last, the main attraction, La Garganta del Diablo or the Devil's Throat falls if you'd rather. Gushing superlatives are senseless, no panorama can portray but let's have a go...

Iguazú Falls - La Garganta del Diablo
Iguazú Falls - La Garganta del Diablo
Iguazú Falls - La Garganta del Diablo

Half of all the water that tumbles around here goes over this horseshoe-shaped lip, which in full flow can be 13,000 cubic metres... enough to fill five Olympic-sized swimming pools... every second!

You and the best part of the million annual visitors will be jostling for position at the barrier and in this age of the selfie and with all them sticks being waved about, it was like South America were playing Japan...

Iguazú Falls - La Garganta del Diablo

At shinty! Again!