Magicness that is Foz do Iguaçu

Water. It’s calming. It’s exhilarating. It’s powerful. It’s beautiful. We can’t do without it.

“There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”

Kate Douglas Wiggin

I knew when I saw the photos

I knew. We had to make it. We had to visit. We had to see.

Bordering Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay is a most beautiful sight. We had an emotional 3-day visit – I felt the butterflies in my tummy, the dizzying feeling from the blood rushing back and forth from heart to head; and exhilaration throughout my body! Our visit to Foz (Falls) do Iguaçu.

Foz do Iguaçu or Foz do Iguazu, the spelling depends on the land on which I stand. The former is spelt in Brazil where Portuguese is spoken, the latter the Spanish-speaking Argentina. The Falls are one of South America’s most spectacular natural wonders.

It was April last year that the Falls had a place in our itinerary. My husband Dhiru, daughter Manisha and I, touched down in Porto Alegre in the State of Rio do Sol. At last we were going to meet our friend Eugenio and his other half, Ana, and their families. We’d already been in his country for about two and a half weeks, and were finally going to see them. Eugenio and Ana were waiting to meet us at the airport. How lovely to see him again after a few years, and to meet Ana for the first time. I’ve written about Porto Alegre – PoA as it is affectionately known – in an earlier blog. If you’d like to read do follow this link.

For now we’re at the Magnificent, Magical Falls. Our daughter has gone her own way, wandering to a differing part of Brazil, having already visited Foz do Iguçua.

Victoria Falls

Being a Zimbabwean, to me there is no more water of beauty than the mighty Victoria Falls … photo uploaded from wikimedia.org.

Foz do Iguaçu [fɔz dw iɡwɐˈsu]

“It is entirely conceivable that life’s splendour forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness, but veiled from our view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come. This is the essence of magic, which does not create but summons … ”  Franz Kafka

You know the saying “it took my breath away” … literally, that is it.

That is Foz do Iguaçu!

It sparkles in the sunshine.

Hundreds of falls as far as the eye can see.

Riverlets and Rainbows.

Deep drops and crazy corners.

Each step, each corner brings the next breathtakingly,

Eye-opening view to wow my mind.

My friend told me not to look.

Not to look at too many pictures.

Before our trip.

Good advice.

I pass it on to you too.

Keep the surprise and delight for your visit if it’s your intention.

Don’t spoil the feeling.

The emotion.

By looking up too much about Foz do Iguaçu.

Having said all this, no photo or picture could prepare me for the splendour and the emotions I feel. I share a few of my photos here – they do not show the full spectrum of the wonder of the Foz do Iguaçu – just a little taste. You definitely don’t get the full impact of actually being in the space through pictures.

Prepare to get wet to enjoy the ultimate experience.

Prepare to walk. The routes are well planned.

We are with a group, and a guide who points out places of interest we may miss if we went on our own. We’re not rushed. We go at our own pace. We stop. We take photos. We “wow” and “ahhhhh” and “look, look there” and “ahhhhh” and “wow” many times over … We walk up and down and round and round. The walkways are easy to navigate and are safe. There are many steps to tread as we gaze with wonder at the sights before our eyes. The sounds in our ears. The smells in the air.

On the Brazilian side, it is just amazing to walk right into the centre of the waters. A walkway, a platform over the waters, takes us into the spray. The waters pound below us. The waters rush down above us. Sunglasses steam up, covered with water. Soaked in spite of the rain cape sticking to my body, my wet clothes. I clutch my hat lest the wind carry it far and away. The wonder before me has my heart pounding. Being in the middle of the sound of water is electrifying. What wonders we have on this earth.

You’ll get absolutely soaked. You have been warned.

Your ears will vibrate with the sound of the thunderous water. You have been warned.

We take a lift up to the viewing platform where we are so close to the mighty waterfalls. It is beautiful. It is mesmerising. I’ve posted a video on my Facebook Page called Cecilyswritings. – please follow this link if you’d like to have the close-up look and feel … I can’t find how to copy it here …

On the Argentinian side you can take a boat ride/dingy right up to and under the waterfalls. We didn’t. But we watched as others did. You’ll get soaked. You have been warned.

It didn’t take us long to dry off though, after we tore ourselves away from the sprays, the mists, the sounds, to drier places along the river. So don’t worry too much. Waterproofs may help a little bit!

IMG_6619.JPG
Foz do Iguazu, Argentina – Rivelets of water cascading to the massive finale – Photo by Cecily
IMG_6622.JPG
Foz do Iguazu, Argentina – ‘calm river before the storm’ – Photo by Cecily

As you can imagine the sounds of birds at the Falls is musical. We see a few beauties on our route and as we sit and eat our snacks. The birds come hopping around us, some of them right up to where we sit. Inquisitive. Tame. Looking for titbits, but signs around tell us ‘do not feed …‘. We don’t make it to the Bird Park but this link is to some of the fabulous, beautiful coloured specimens we saw.

Victoria Falls versus Foz do Iguaçu

I never thought I’d say this but … Foz do Iguaçu takes just tips the Victoria Falls [she says very quietly]. Victoria Falls is a place of beauty too. It has the widest curtain of water and a tremendous drop. It is quite spectacular.

But overall, for the experience. For the views.

For me, Iguacu Falls is Majestic. Magnificent. Magic. Marvellous. Mighty.

It’s stunning.

It’s emotional.

So much water.

So much beauty.

So much sound.

So much space.

I’m sure some of my Zimbabwean friends, who haven’t yet, will want to make the trip to see for themselves. If you do … I’d love to hear what you think. Vic Falls or Foz do Iguaçu?

Brazilian side versus Argentinian side

They both have countless views and magnificence to offer … we do Argentina first – on a cloudy day, it is dry, cool but warms up later. The next day we do Brazil, nice and sunny, quite hot for the long walk ahead of us.

For both my hubby and me … the Brazilian side is THE one.

Is it because the sun is shining? I don’t think so.

More water. More emotion. More sounds.

Magnifico! Esplêndido! Grandioso! Excepcional! Maravilhoso!

Blog picture - Iguazu.001

The Journey

From Porto Alegre we caught a return scheduled domestic flight to Iguaçu. The airport at PoA is modern, functional, friendly and technology systems and signs all as they should be. It is not massive, but much bigger than I had expected. From the runway, you can see the sprawling City on the horizon, a skyline of highs and lows beckoning the visitor or the returning resident.

The flight to Iguaçu was under 2 hours. We used Azul Airlines. We did not have a wide choice of flights as we were travelling from Porto Alegre. Many tourists travel direct from Rio or Sao Paulo where there are more flights to the Falls.

Iguaçu is a small airport, but busy even at 19:45 when we arrived. We were met at by our driver where we were taken by car to La Cantera Jungle Lodge on the Argentinian side of the Falls. A drive of approximately 45 minutes. We had to clear immigration and it was no problem with our driver handling all the necessities.

Having been to La Cantera, if I had my choice again, I would prefer a more conventional place to stay. A frog greeted me as I showered. I screamed, … my husband hurried in to see what jungle monster was attacking his dear wife!  The walkway to our lodge, which was a good size with all amenities you would expect in an hotel room, was through the ‘jungle’ with creature chirps all night long. I’d forgotten what it is to be out in the wilds. The hotel was not close to any shops or the like so, after our walks at the waterfalls, we spent some time lazying in the hammocks by the swimming pool sipping the Argentinian tea (Yerba Mate) which is said to be addictive – this link is to Wiki’s explanation of the tea. 

Our travel agent had arranged our visits to both sides of the falls. We shared a coach with others so it was a lovely mix of people sharing stories of their travels. On both days we started off early in the morning when it was cooler, and the crowds had not yet gathered for the day. The entry formalities on both sides of the Falls were fairly quick. Although we had tickets for entry, we still had a bit of a queue. All the transport we used was timely and well organised. As at most tourist places, there are the usual places to eat or buy food and drinks. We brought a few snacks and LOTS OF WATER, because all the walking dehydrates you. We had a big breakfast and had snacks and dinner when we returned to our Lodge in the evenings.

The weather was kind to us. It was cool and cloudy one day. And bright sunlight and warm the next. We did visit in the country’s autumn so the weather was just right as far as we were concerned! In this part of Brazil, the climate and the vegetation are very similar to our home country of Zimbabwe, so we were quite at home.

In all we were away for 3 days, including our travel time, then made our way back to Porto Alegre for the last leg of our holiday.

In all, another well planned trip by our travel people, although the one change I would make was to our accommodation. I’ve obviously been spoilt!

Thanks to all who made our trip to Foz do Iguaçu / Igauzu a memorable occasion.

Facts about Foz do Iguaçu

The exquisite Iguazu Falls are also known as the Iguassu Falls and the Iguaçu Falls. The magnificent spectacle of these 275 individual drops has awed tourists, locals and indigenous inhabitants for centuries. They originate from the Iguazu River and are located on the border of Brazil (in the state of Paraná) and Argentina.

In fact, the Iguazu Falls are what divides the river of the same name into its upper and lower portions, a fact that has given rise to several myths and legends as to their origin. This river forms the boundary between Brazil and Argentina, making it a significant part of the political and geographical structure of the continent of South America.

The Iguazu Falls stretch in width for 2.7 kilometres (or 1.7 miles). Their height varies between 60 metres (200 feet) and 82 metres (or 269 feet). This makes the Iguazu Falls taller than Niagara Falls and twice as wide.

A large proportion of the water is thrust down Devil’s Throat, a long chasm that is 82 metres high, 150 metres wide and 700 metres long. This chasm has a distinguishing U-shape. Interestingly, there are several islands within the river and the falls.

The name of the falls originates from the Tupi or Guarani language, and means “big water”. While the ancient Brazilian tribes knew of its thunderous beauty, it was only officially ‘discovered’ in 1541, when the European explorer, the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, came across its awe-inspiring beauty.

Image of the full view of the cascade of Iguazu Falls, Brazilian side.

Full view of the cascade of Iguazu Falls, Brazilian side.

Today, the Iguazu Falls are owned by the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Iguazú National Park in Argentina and the Iguaçu National Park in Brazil.

On the Brazilian side, the best-known falls include:

• Benjamin Constant
• Deodoro
• Floriano

Extract from brazil.org.za

Facts about Victoria Falls from victoriafallsguide.net

Victoria Falls also known as “Mosi oa-Tunya” (“the smoke that thunders”) is positioned almost exactly half way along the mighty Zambezi River’s 2700 km journey from it’s source to the sea.

Here the river plunges headlong into a 100m vertical chasm spanning the full one-and-a-half kilometre width of the river.

Creating the biggest curtain of falling water in the world and also one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The power of the falls is awesome with the highest ever flow recorded in 1958 (read more about this flood and the mythology surrounding it) when it reached more than 700 000 cubic meters of water a minute. The water in the gorges rose 18 metres (60 feet) above its normal flood level.

Extract from victoriafallsguide.net


Smoke on the Water

The best song to finish with is definitely Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water … with that iconic guitar beginning … de de de dededede de de de de-de …


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event! I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far.

Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and http://www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you. Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

Written on 7 June 2018, and posted by Cecily on 16 June 2018.
Copyright (C) Cecily Lalloo 2018

Author: Cecilyswritings

Woman, mum, nana, wife, sister, aunt, friend, mentor, business woman, HR specialist. Love keeping in touch with people around the world using social media - so far and yet so near. Fingers in a few pies and now sharing my words. My Motto: Go for it! Believe you can and you can.

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