I've been planning this trip to South America for quite some time. It has been fun taking the long way by bus and boat over the Andes from Chile to Argentina. We've spent time in Bariloche which is a really cool place. Buenos Aires, the "Paris of South America," has been fascinating to tour; however, the culmination of the trip is at hand: the Iguazu Falls. I'm psyched.
Fortunately, I've planned properly and don't have to deal with getting into Brazil with a valid visa anymore. I took care of this state-side with considerable aggravation and money. With the visa out of the way, our plan is to check out the Argentine side of the falls. We'll then pass through customs and stay in a hotel in the Iguazu National park on the Brazilian side.
The Iguazu Falls are located on the border between the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Parana. They are the second largest in size after the Victoria Falls in Southern Africa, which separate Zambia and Zimbabwe. As you can tell, I love waterfalls, which puts Southern Africa on my short list of destinations.
First discovered by the Spanish conquistador, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541, the Iguazu River meanders through Brazil for the majority of its course. Most of the falls are on the Argentine side; however, the Devil's Throat in Brazil, which is U-shaped, with dimensions of 82 meters high, 150 meters wide, and 700 meters long, stands out as the culmination of many smaller falls.
OK. We've made it to the Argentine side of the Iguazu. We board a train which takes us to the first set of falls. I trek for a modest distance on foot so as to escape the throngs of tourists who are here to see this marvel. I find a good vantage point, and this is what comes into view:
I am first amazed by a beautiful rainbow that stretches across the center of this vista. I've seen this before at Niagara Falls. Gorgeous colors are emitted as light is refracted though the spray the falls generate, essentially acting as a prism.
I gallivant down a path to the next scene. I am now even with the water as it pours over the precipice. The sound the water makes as it crashes over the steep drop is incredible.
It is now time to go through customs on our way to Brazil. We finally make it to our hotel where I look outside and see that the light is fantastic for photos. I drop what I'm doing, grab my camera, and run to capture this shot before the sun completely sets.
My research tells me that the falls are arranged in a way that resembles a reversed letter "J." I'm surprised to learn that only 20% of the jumps of these falls are on the Brazilian side. However, the Brazilian side has numerous smaller waterfalls and cataracts which fluctuate between 150-300 feet depending on the water level. Today, we will make it downstream to a long and narrow chasm called the Devil's Throat. This is a U-shaped structure that I can see from a distance. It gets bigger and louder as I make my way along a path near the water's edge.
Of all my travels, this is one of the most spectacular natural displays I've come across! In preparation for photographing this properly, my camera is protected in a waterproof nylon bag. I walk out on a bridge that has been constructed for tourists to get the best vantage point of the Devil's Throat. There is an intense spray from the falls. I wait until the right moment when I have nudged my way through the crowd and see an opening. I pull my camera out of the bag and glom a shot. I hope it is good. Timing is everything.
I go back to my hotel room and transfer my images from the camera to my computer to be organized and post-processed. I'm finding this to be unexpectedly difficult. There are so many good shots in a variety of lighting conditions that much of my time is being spent rating the photos and narrowing down the winners. I've learned to love this process. I hope to be even better at it by the time I make it to Victoria Falls.