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  • Writer's pictureDawnelle Salant

Everyone says that the Argentinian side of the falls is the best, but I am not sure that I agree with that. They definitely have more water flowing on their side, but you undoubtedly have a better view from Brazil. It’s also easier and much more organized to get around. We take a single bus through the jungle, get dropped off at one end of the walking trail, and picked up at the other. There are also a lot less people here, which makes taking photos and getting closer to the railings a lot easier. We have a birds eye views of most of the waterfalls, and one lower section of the trail brings us directly in front of the Devil’s Throat. It gives us a totally new perspective on the powerful waterfall, seeing it from the front instead of the side shows its beauty rather than its strength.


There are coatis here too, but at lunch we are accosted by a giant lizard. It was walking around with its tongue darting in and out of its mouth and it went right up to a guy’s leg and licked him. He jumped and everyone else roared. (you would have too! LOL)


That night we take a trip to what we learn is a tourist trap - The Three Borders. I’m not sad we went, but if we hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have been sad either. What is really cool about Iguazu Falls is that three countries' borders meet here - Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. A few days ago, we stood in Argentina and looked at Paraguay and Brazil. Today, we stand in Brazil and looked at Argentina and Paraguay. Except that we paid to get in and have our photos taken at a sign that pointed to each country and ate an overpriced, very average buffet. There’s usually a cultural dance show, but that doesn’t happen on Mondays. Long story short, unless you have a lot of money and extra time, you can give this place a miss.




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  • Writer's pictureDawnelle Salant

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

Ever since I visited Brazil in the summer of 2018, I have been dying to go back. Because I travel so much, people always ask me - what is your favourite place? I could never answer them; there are things I like about every place I visit, and places like Turkey, England and Guatemala hold special places in my heart because I spent so much time living in each country. But now, my answer is Brazil - I don’t even have to think about it. I fell in love with this place. I can’t really tell you why - it’s more of a feeling. It’s a very accepting place. People wear what they want, love who they want and everyone seems happy. The country itself is so diverse and beautiful - from jaguars to Copacabana, and the country just has its own heartbeat. And it’s so easy to join in that rhythm.


As we leave Argentina, I'm sad. I really do love it and I have no doubt I will be back one day, but I was happy to get back to Brazil. We took a taxi across the border, two stops, two stamps, and boom, I’m “home.”


I had booked us into a nicer hotel here with a pool, so we took a much needed rest day before tackling the other side of the falls. I had spent the last year and half learning Portuguese and was so excited to test out my new skills, but Spanish keeps pouring out of my mouth and I couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying. I’m a bit heartbroken, but I’m hoping that being away from Spanish, some review and being exposed to Portuguese will help bring back what I learned.


The next day we start off at the Parque Das Aves. I’m a little worried since the bird park on the other side was so disappointing, but this was bird heaven for me. We see flamingoes, macaws, parrots and tons of other birds. A bright red bird in the first enclosure catches my eye, and I have a hard time believing it’s real. It’ so bright red that it looks almost fake. I find the sign and learn that it is a scarlet ibis. It’s so striking - I’ve never seen such a saturated bird before. It’s like someone turned up the reds in photoshop and forgot to stop.


My favourites are the two harpy eagles. It does make me sad to see birds caged, but again, these are birds that have been hurt and they are helping them return to the wild. The birds are huge, and they have what looks like a crown of feathers on their heads. I could watch them for hours.


In the macaw enclosure, we are allowed to walk among the birds. Every colour of the rainbow is present here and I don’t know where to look. We watch two macaws cleaning each other (see video) and are allowed to get just close enough for a photo. Suddenly, one flies so close to me that it’s feathers touch my head. This happens a few more times and everyone ducks and giggles. What a magical place. I could have spent hours there. On our way out we see striped owls and blue morphos in the butterfly enclosure. Amazing. Although I do prefer seeing birds in the wild, sometimes it's just not possible. These birds are well cared for and they are doing good work here to protect endangered species and helps injured birds.





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  • Writer's pictureDawnelle Salant

Heat. Humidity. That’s what greets us when we land in Puerto Iguazu. We have flown 5 hours north and you can tell. Sweat drips down my back as we get in the taxi, I’m in my long pants, hiking boots, long sleeved shirt and thick hoodie. This isn’t Antarctica anymore, baby. LOL. On our first day, as we stand in line at the bird sanctuary, I have trouble believing that less than a week ago I was on the white continent. It doesn’t seem real now - the landscape feels like it was all a dream and I wasn’t actually there. I think about it every day, and wish I was there right now. Which is weird, because I love the heat. The bird sanctuary is disappointing - the tour is all in Spanish, there are kids poking their fingers in through the wires and I see mostly birds I have seen before. I make out that it is a centre for injured birds that can’t be returned to the wild. Some have injured legs, wings and one has a beak that won’t close. It’s more depressing than interesting. We do see some eagles and owls, but I don’t know what species they are.



THE FALLS

We arrive early, and stand in line with what seems like thousands of people. Then we wait for a train to take us to the Devil’s Throat. Everything is in my dry bag as we have heard that you get soaked here. As we walk along the trail to the highlight of the falls, I strain to hear them. Nothing. We see some turtles, catfish and vultures, but walking in the heat has me melting already, Then all of a sudden - Wow. Another Argentinian site that lives up to its reputation. I am blown away by nature here, once again. The Devil’s Throat is a series of waterfalls that goes around in a short of compressed horseshoe shape, like a squished letter u, and the largest flow of water occurs at the center. The spray of the water reaches us far before we can fully even see the falls, but the cool water is welcome and refreshing. There are so many people that it is a feat in itself to get close enough to see the water pouring over the cliffs. But when we do - it’s magic. It is one of the most powerful and magical waterfalls I have seen. Because both sides of the horseshoe are so close together, we have views of the entire Devil’s Throat. We walk along the platforms, drenched, and vie for a place near the railing so we can look down at the water pouring out below us. We try taking photos of the falls and each other, but it’s like we are in a shower and later we laugh at photos of half our heads. It doesn’t matter, just seeing these falls will leave them permanently etched in my mind.


The rest of the day is a rush trying to battle the crowds to have lunch and find the other walking trails. We do the upper viewpoint and look down on the the rest of the falls, which are stunning, but don’t compare to Devil’s Throat. There are lines of thinner, less powerful falls lining the cliffs, and what amazes me is the greenery around them. We can see plants (moss?) woven behind the falls and peeking out through the fast, white flowing water.


During lunch, we have to fight off the coatis - a small, raccoon like animal that is everywhere. And they are not shy. And they are hungry. One actually used my mom’s leg as a climbing point to get to our lunch.


The best part of the day is the Macuco Safari. We are driven through the jungle to a set of stairs leading down to the river. On the way, someone spots a red bird in a distant tree and the driver slams on the brakes. I hear the word Quetzal and my heart stops because I have been chasing the elusive Quetzal for approximately 22 years. But this is just a relative of the quetzal, which is still cool, but no one knows the name in English and I have since forgotten what it was called in Spanish.


We climb down hundreds of stairs and into the boat that is going to take us up the Iguazu river and under the falls. Yes, under the falls. The boat ride is a bit scary, we are fighting white water in the opposite direction, but the view of the falls is unbeatable. We zip by night herons and vultures soar above us. On either side, the rush of the water escaping over the cliffs above us is deafening. But nothing beats the thrill of going under a waterfall that is flowing at a rate of about 2 million litres per second. The water is a toasty 22 degrees Celsius, but since it’s 39 degrees out, it feels icy as it pummels on our heads. We are soaked, like thrown in a river soaked, and it feels amazing. We go through it one more time, and then drive farther up the river to another fall and do it again. I’m surprised how frightened I am - maybe it’s because I’m getting old but I actually screamed the whole time. It was like all of a sudden I realized what I was about to do and knew there was no turning back. But it was awesome, one of the most thrilling - and refreshing moments of my life! If you come to Iguazu - you MUST do this.


On our way back to the hotel we stop at Tres Fronteras where we can see three borders - Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, separated only by a river. I've never stood in one country and looked at two others - it's pretty special, especially because they are so close. I could swim to either country they're so close. What a world we live in.




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Hi there! I'm Dawnelle - travel photographer, adventure seeker and digital nomad currently exploring  South America. 

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