Iguazu Falls. One of the wonders of the world. After a 3 hours flight from Buenos Aires, we arrived in Puerto Iguazu. The falls reside on the Argentina/Brazil border and are known as one of the most spectacular views in the world. Closer to the Braizlian side is Devils Throat, while the Argentina side yields views of Devils Throat and dozens of other falls.
Upon our arrival at the hostel, we were greeted with the fact that our reservations had been cancelled. Without much explanation, they handed us their “cancellation policy” while reiterating the fact that they were booked and moved onto the next customer. While the food, scenery, and women are amazing, customer service is something to be desired! Apparently they cancel all reservations not “confirmed” 48 hrs before the day of check-in at 6p. We arrived at 7p. Mind you we booked it the day before and indicated that we would be arriving in the evening.
The hours to follow we’re stressful, exhausting, and frustrating. We comtemplated sleeping on couches in the lobby, pulling up chairs next to the pool, paying $500+ to stay at the Sheraton- Iguazu, and even half-jokingly asked to stay with local employees. The outlook wasn’t bright. The entire situations was compounded by the fact that one of the staff members that we were working with fell ill and was sent to the hospital.
After a few hopeless hours, we eventually got to work with a competent individual and he cancelled other reservations in order to get us beds. (Thanks Eduardo!) We got to our room only to find no AC and a lesbian couple that slept together, with questionable dental hygiene. What a terrible, horrible, very bad day… I could only look forward to the day ahead!
We started the next day promptly at 8a; we wanted a full day at the falls! That next morning I woke up with a sore throat. Given that I have the immunity of a 90 year old man, I wasn’t surprised, but needless to say, I was pissed. I was convinced I wasn’t going to let it ruin the day. After pounding some Emergen-C and eating the 1/2-star breakfast, consisting of dry toast, corn flakes, and oranges 2 days too old, we left for the falls.
Buried in the middle of the jungle, Iguazu has become a popular tourist attraction. The walk through the jungle provides monkey and tucan sightings while small, raccoon-like animals scurry about the paths. After around a mile of hiking you’re presented with the spectacular sight and roar of the falls. The damp smell of the mist lingers in the air as animals call out from the jungle. During our 6 hour excursion, we hiked several trails, viewing the falls from every angle imaginable. If that wasn’t enough, we decided to take a jet boat through the falls, leaving us drenched from the residual sprays of the falls. We concluded the day by taking a series of planks to an outlook post overhanging Devils Throat. The roar of the water crashing down was nearly deafening while we gazed upon the eternal rainbow in the mouth of the falls; it was a sensory overload. By the time we left, we were soaked by the mist rising up from the falls.
Next stop, Cordoba…
Our plane arrived in Cordoba around 1 in the afternoon the next day. We didn’t have much time to see the city considering our bus to Mendoza was leaving at 10:30p. With only about 6 hours to play with, we set out to seek some adventure.
So what do you do when you want to see an entire city in 6 hours? Well, you charter your own private, four seater plane! What started out as finding a place to go paragliding or skydiving, resulted in pulling up to a small building in the middle if a field with a dirt runway. For 500 pesos (a little over a $100), the three of us could take a 40 minute flight around the city with views of Cordoba and the Sierra.
As we had to await the arrival of the pilot, we had one of the pilots of the smaller planes drop us off in the city. After walking around the city center, getting some food and sipping on Fernet con Coca (a local cocktail similar to Jack and Coke but with a much sharper taste), we hailed a taxi to go meet our pilot.
Not speaking a lick of English, he asked us to help him. Next thing I know we’re pushing planes around the hanger like a game of tetris as we worked to retrieve our plane. After doing a safety check of the plane and siphoning fuel from a few gas tanks, we were ready to take to the sky. What the hell were we doing!?
While fighting through the language barrier and the deafening roar of the engine, the pilot pointed out various parts of the city, high-lighting the former residences of celebrities and other interesting facts. As we appeared to be coming in for a landing at a different dirt runway, he yanked back on the steering wheel causing us to quickly ascend into the sky. The negative Gs sucked us into our seats while we yelled out in excitement.
By the time we returned, we had an hour or two to get some food in the city and then had to hop on our overnight bus to Mendoza.