Stories from the Amazon

  • Iguacu Falls
    Looking at the a portion of Iguacu Falls on the Argentine side.

    Jacobs Spends Time Exploring Iguacu Falls

    It felt good to be back on a bus after floating 3,000 miles down the Amazon in a boat; sleeping in a hammock; and eating rice, beans and chicken for endless days.

    These sentimental feelings began to fade around hour 28 of around a 60-hour bus ride from Belem to southern Brazil.

    The price to fly to Iguacu Falls was $500 more than a bus ticket. That made the decision easy. But the trip was complicated because there were no direct routes.

    I stumbled off the bus at 4 a.m. in Goiana, Brazil. This was about the halfway point to my Iguacu destination. Blurry eyed, I walked through the bus terminal contemplating the next leg of my trip.

    A man dressed in a bus company uniform asked, “Where are you going?”

    “Iguacu,” I replied.

    He took me to a bus company service window and helped me secure a ticket for a bus that left in two hours.

    Grateful for his help, I thanked him and set off to find a public shower. If I was going to be cooped up for another 35 hours on a bus, at least I was going to feel clean.

    At 6 a.m., I boarded the bus and continued my journey south.

    No one around me wanted to converse. Too tired to read, I slept and daydreamed to pass time as the countryside of Brazil rolled by outside my window.

    Huge fields of corn and soybeans filled the horizon. At one point, there were endless rolling hills and rows of orange trees. At other times, there were large pastures dotted with white cows. I was particularly struck by the lack of houses or farm homes. I wondered where all the people lived who worked the farmlands.

    Even though the scenery was lush with agriculture production, it felt empty.

    Eventually, mid-morning my bus pulled into the terminal in Iguacu that is a border town with Argentina and Paraguay. Iguacu Falls is shared by Brazil and Argentina, just like Niagara Falls is shared between the U.S. and Canada.

    I checked into a hostel and set off for an afternoon visit to Iguacu Falls on the Brazilian side.

    Iguacu Falls
    At the base of Iguacu Falls on the Brazilian side.

    Long before I even knew what these waterfalls were called, I had seen a photo and dreamed of being here.

    Recently announced as one of the natural Seven Wonders of the World, Iguacu Falls is nothing less than spectacular.

    Even though Niagara Falls has a larger volume of water spilling over its lip, the 275 discrete falls and large islands of Iguacu create a more impressive experience.

    I spent two days exploring Iguacu Falls — one on the Brazilian side and one in Argentina.

    As I walked along the path in Brazil, occasional vistas of the waterfalls appeared through breaks in the trees. Butterflies and monkeys periodically joined me to enjoy the view. Because of the sheer number of falls associated with Iguacu, I was treated to completely different views as I continued to walk.

    The path led to a walkway at the base of one side of Iguacu Falls. At this point, mist shot into the air as the falling water crashed onto rocks below.

    As the sun shone brightly and danced with the mist from the waterfalls, beautiful rainbows appeared. They seemed to move above the river as I walked on the platform and then fully blossomed when the water crashed again to the next level.

    It was impossible to stay dry and just as impossible to keep from smiling.

    Iguacu Falls
    Iguacu Falls as seen from the air on the Brazilian side.

    The following day I crossed for my first time into Argentina. Now I would see this country’s side of Iguacu Falls.

    The Argentine side encompasses almost 80 percent of the waterfalls and offers a different experience and vistas, but one side is not better than the other.

    It was a day filled with exploring Iguacu Falls from various locations. At the end of the day, I was at the top of the Devil’s Throat. This part of the waterfalls has the largest concentration of water and one of the most impressive views.

    I stood on the platform located at the lip of Iguacu Falls. This location allowed me to look over the edge right down into the Devil’s Throat.

    The roar of the river below thumped against my chest like a beating bass drum. The mist collected on the hairs of my arms. It felt like the earth was alive and I was taking its pulse.

    At the same time, this latest experience seemed to inject an energy into me that melted away the fatigue from a 60-hour bus ride. I was left refreshed and renewed for the next leg of my journey.

    Iguacu Falls
    Iguacu Falls looking into The Devils Throat.

    Fremont Tribune

Copyright © Dean Jacobs 2019. All Rights Reserved.