Part 2: Boat Trip Beneath Iguazu Falls


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The Trip

We had a great night at the hotel in the park.  It was dark and quiet and we did keep our patio doors locked to prevent the monkeys from getting inside.  Next morning, we had to check out of the hotel, but decided to do a boat trip on the Rio Parana up to the base of the small portion of Iguazu Falls.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

 We booked the tour through the hotel and it was easy.  We walked to the assembly point and they put us on flat bed trucks that had plastic seats.  The truck had a 30 person capacity and a guide with a PA system which I found quite annoying.  Noise notwithstanding, the path to the put-in point on the river was through the dense jungle on a dirt track.

We descended down a significant hill via concrete stairs to get to the river.  At the bottom, the vendor had huge piles of life vests (AKA PFD for "personal floatation device").  The vests were quite mildewed and had a rather strong odor.  This revelation accounted for what my nose, on the prior day, reported as a big problem among hikers on the Iguazu trails that passed us.  It seems that they, too, had gone on the boat tour and the scent had rubbed off resulting in their odor plume inflicted on nearby hikers.

The boats were big and had powerful outboard motors to conquer the strong river currents.  Note the river bank in the left-center of the photo above.  The river is typically much higher as evidenced by the marks in the sand.  Indeed, the boat tour was shorter than normal because of the exposed rocks in the river.  Given the current power of the river, it boggles my mind to consider what the falls are like in the wet season.  Perhaps on another trip.

The pilot has a high visibility position on a flying bridge at the rear of the craft.

Once underway, we traveled upriver past the steep river banks.

On the Brazilian side, they had a funicular to get them from the top of the gorge to the put-in point.

My view looking forward.  This shaggy fellow had some odd shit in his dreads.  While the camera did not focus on what I wanted because he was so close, you can see the light colored area just to the right of center in the photo above.  This is a beer pull-tab that has become embedded in his dreads.  WTF?

As we got further upstream, the steep banks became cliffs.

The river tours are very popular and there were plenty of boats on the river.  This fellow was coming at us at Mach 2.

As we got closer, we started to see small side falls that were visible from the lower trail that we took the day prior.

There is a photo of this falls in the previous day's web page.  Note the bridge over the falls.  Earlier photos were shot from that bridge.

We came into the open amphitheater created by the river flow and were treated to a spectacular view.

We had a low-budget boat as ours was open.  This boat had a shield to prevent the passengers from getting douched.

The Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) is straight ahead.  Due to the low water and exposed rocks, we would not get any closer to that portion of the falls complex.  Note the huge curtain of spray at the bottom of the Throat.

Some of the smaller side falls were very impressive in their own right.

This is as close as we got to the Devil's Throat.  The noise was tremendous.

The flow of the river, despite being "low" produced strong currents and powerful hydraulic action.

More side falls were visible.

A parting view of the Devil's Throat.

The boat turned west into the other channel of the river.  We are headed to the throat on the left of the photo above.  We were instructed to retire the cameras to the dry-bags, and most folks complied as did I.  Those that did not were rewarded with damaged electronics.  The spray was already dousing us and we were not that close to the actual throat.  The boat went right up to the base of the throat and we were soaked.  We would have been dryer if we had been hit with a fire hose.  Happily, we knew this was coming and dressed accordingly.  We left our wallets and phones in the dry bag and put the cameras in at the last command.  The river water was tepid, but it was cold at speed once we were doused.

Another large side falls produced a curtain of water.  We got doused 5 or 6 times.  For me, no dousing would have been OK, but when in Rome.  After the final dousing, we headed back to the dock, disembarked and hiked up the hill to the truck which returned through the dense jungle to the starting point.

When we got back to the hotel, we were soaked.  We headed to the spa area and got showers and rinsed our clothes.  When we got back to the room, we could see the visitor's center on the Brazilian side of the falls.

A parting shot of Iguazu Falls from the balcony of our room.  A really awesome place.

We paid a big premium to stay at the Melia as it is the only hotel in the park.  Sadly, the food was just OK, but nothing more.  Had we not stayed at the Melia, we would have had a 30 minute drive each way to/from Puerto Iguazu every day.  We broke camp and headed to Puerto Iguazu via taxi another hotel (the Melia was fully booked) in preparation for our flight to Cordoba tomorrow.  We had an awesome dinner at a local restaurant and a nice walk back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we have to get up early to make our 90 minute flight to Cordoba.

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