Into the Devil’s Throat: Iguazu Falls

“The sound of the river raging among the rocks, and the dashing of the waterfalls around, spoke of a power mighty as Omnipotence—and I ceased to fear, or to bend before any being less almighty than that which had created and ruled the elements, here displayed in their most terrific guise” – Frankenstein

The quotation above speaks of the Alps, but, standing overlooking the mighty Gargantua Del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) at Iguazu Falls in Argentina it is easy to see how the Romantic writers of the 18th Century formed such a respect for the almighty and sublime power of Nature. Straddling the border between Argentina and Brazil, it is estimated that between 300 to 6,500 cubic meters of water tumbles over the various precipices of the river every second. Here is Nature at her most Awesome: beautiful and deadly.

Gargantua del Diablo, Argentina

Puerto Iguazu, the nearest town to the falls on the Argentinian side, is an 18 hour bus ride from Buenos Aires, and there is no shortage of operators willing to bring in the tourists. Once at Puerto Iguazu it is easy to take a local bus to the National Park, where the entrance fee is currently 100pesos/$23, this includes the train that transports you to the various falls. The Argentinian side is best for getting up close and personal with the falls, as two-thirds of Gargantua Del Diablo lie on Argentina’s side.

The falls range from the massive Gargantua Del Diablo to various other falls that you can walk around watching the rainbows dance through the mist. One thing is for sure, you will get wet. The Argentinian side is busy, hundreds of people arrive every day to walk the narrow pathways across the river, and time at the viewpoint is spent mainly waiting for a space to clear at the rail; a small price to pay for the spectacular view. For the more adventurous, there is the option of taking boat rides into the spray, and walking tours through the Jungle.

What the Argentinian side does not offer however, is the chance to fully comprehend the massive scale of the falls. There are 270 individual waterfalls that run over the course of a mile and a half of the river Iguazu (meaning ‘Big Water’). Whilst it is spectacular to watch the water hurling itself off the top of Gargantua Del Diablo, it is quickly lost in mist, making it impossible to gauge its size. For a better panoramic view, it is wise to head across the border to the Brazilian side.

Panorama from the Brazilian side

Many tour operators offer trips to the Brazilian side and local buses will drop you off at the border where you can pick up a Brazilian bus to continue your journey. The entrance fee for the park is 120pesos/$28 (you can pay in Argentine pesos at the park), which again includes transport. While some people may be tempted to skip the Brazilian side due to cost—or the worry of seeing the same thing—it is unwise to do so. The Brazilian side offers amazing panoramas of the river and the almighty size of Gargantua Del Diablo. It is also more laid back and peaceful: fewer tourists and more viewpoints make it easier to see the falls at your own pace, and you can sit by the river to eat lunch.

For the more Hedonistic tourist, there is the chance to stand in the thunderous spray of the Devil’s throat itself, rock-climbing, or a helicopter ride over the falls (the Argentinean side of the falls does not allow this).

Often, popular tourist venues feel overrated and disappointing. Iguazu Falls is not one of them. It is worth every peso of the entrance fee, and every hour of the arduous bus journey.

Rainbow over Iguazu
Somewhere over the rainbow
Iguazu Wildlife
Iguazu Wildlife

Which tourist venues have you visited that lived up to your expectations? Tell me about it in the comments!

Post Author
Runaway Brit

Comments

14 Comments
  1. posted by
    Maria
    Sep 17, 2011 Reply

    Kudos RB! These are great shots and that video drives home the point of how fast and powerful the falls are. Wow!
    Maria recently posted..Bird’s-eye ViewMy Profile

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Sep 19, 2011 Reply

      Thank you so much for your kind comments, I really enjoyed writing this post so they are greatly appreciated!

  2. posted by
    Ashley Lenzen
    Sep 18, 2011 Reply

    These are truly some great pictures! Thanks for sharing them! Chichen Itza was one of the tourist sites that really lived up to my expectations. I think a lot of people may disagree due to all the crowds, but we managed to get there early, before even the vendors had set up… we basically had the whole site to ourselves.
    Ashley Lenzen recently posted..44 Pounds Lighter in XelaMy Profile

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Sep 19, 2011 Reply

      Thank you so much! It’s always great to get somewhere when it’s still quiet and you don’t have to fight the crowds for the best views 🙂

  3. posted by
    Alison
    Sep 18, 2011 Reply

    Wow, a descriptive and informative article. This sounds like an amazing trip! I’m definitely going to be subscribing to your blog.

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Sep 19, 2011 Reply

      Thank you for the comment. Let me know if there are any problems with subscribing as there were a while ago, I think they are sorted out now though 🙂

  4. posted by
    Yoneco
    Sep 19, 2011 Reply

    Big water indeed! The pictures are perfect, especially the last one.

    Locations that met my expectations? Puerto Rico. Exceeded them? Florence, Italy.
    Yoneco recently posted..Where Do You Hide Your Spare Cash When Traveling?My Profile

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Sep 19, 2011 Reply

      Thank you very much for the comments, they are greatly appreciated. I have not been to either Puerto Rico or Florence before but I love Italy and will go back one day 🙂

  5. posted by
    Sarah
    Sep 19, 2011 Reply

    Hi there, I found your blog after reading (and loving) your Serendipity in Sihanoukville post. The pictures taken with this recent post are incredible. Places that have met my expectations, coincidentally Uluru which I have posted about today, The Eifel Tower, Angkor Wat …

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Sep 19, 2011 Reply

      Thank you very much for your comments! I also love the Eiffel Tower and Angkor Wat but have still to visit Australia. I’ll check out your post about Uluru 🙂

  6. posted by
    Jordan
    Sep 20, 2011 Reply

    I really want to say I hate you again hahaha. Hope you guys are having an amazing time! You really seem to be getting the hang of the new fancy camera eh? Nice one!

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Sep 21, 2011 Reply

      I am loving the camera, best thing I’ve bought in a long time!

  7. posted by
    Lauren
    Sep 21, 2011 Reply

    I LOVE your photos! Gorgeous! 🙂
    Lauren recently posted..Getting Lost in KievMy Profile

    • posted by
      Runaway Brit
      Sep 23, 2011 Reply

      Thank you very much! I bought a new camera just before I left and I’m having so much fun experimenting with it.

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