Iguazu Falls - Brazil/Argentina
I'd like to invite you for the trip to Iguazu Falls - one of the seven natural wonders of this world and the biggest waterfalls on planet Earth (counted by the amount of water that is coming thru the falls/hour). I have visited Iguazu falls twice in my life - the first time three years ago, then recently, in February 2022. Photos from this publication are coming for both trips.
Iguazu is located on the Argentinian-Brazilian border in Misiones region. It's totally different than the rest of Argentina. Someone could say that it's a jungle, but technically it would be a mistake because the professional name of the biosphere here is Atlantic Forests - it reminds the jungle in many ways though. The climate here is subtropical, humid, flora and fauna amazes with the variety and the temperatures are challenging for such a Polish guy like me.
You will find here mangoes, avocados, bananas, and papayas, as well as bamboo, lianas, and hundreds of trees, bushes, and flowers that I'm not even able to call properly. Fauna includes, among others, the hummingbirds, coatis, monkeys, lizards and snakes, pumas (although they are afraid of people more than we are afraid of them so it's difficult to find any), butterflies of every possible color and size (even as big as the hand), poisonous caterpillars and enormous fish.
There are several places around where we can freely observe nature, like Parque de Orchideas, Parque de Picaflores (hummingbirds), Parque de Aves in Brazil (Bird Park), or Guia Ogra, which is the shelter for the injured wild animals. All those places will be described by me in another post. Today we will focus on the Iguazu Park, which can be visited from both countries: Brazil and Argentina and that are also perfect for observing the animals and plants.
While being in the park, which is visited by thousands of tourists every day, I have seen the monkeys sleeping on the trees or playing with each other, coatis interested in two lizards relaxing in the sunny place, snake, tons of butterflies that were creating sort of butterfly tornado (I felt like in a Disney's movie), and much, much more. Unfortunately, I have also seen the very same coatis walking around the people and hoping someone will drop the snack for them and the very same monkeys trying to open the rubbish bin to steal something to eat. Nature amazes and there is nothing wrong with adapting the space for people so they can see the world wonders (especially if the whole area is protected by law, but only a small percent is available for the tourists), but human presence is also creating some risks.
The Iguazu Park is full of the warnings "please, do not feed the animals", and all the rubbish bins have special lockers here, so if properly closed, no animal can open it on their own, even such smart creatures as monkeys. With that amount of tourists, it's difficult to make sure everyone respects the rules. Animals get used to the easy access to the food or, what's even worse, sugar from our snacks, and they stop hunting at all.
Plants... well, I was amazed by the biodiversity, tens of different shadows of the green color, and all the layers of the forest (from the grass and herbs, by bushes, small trees, lianas, then the tallest trees that were growing up to 5-6 meters if not more) but I'm not a specialist - besides edible plants and herbs, I don't know much about them, especially that it's not my natural biosphere, I was a tourist there.
Finally, the most important thing is water, obviously. The Iguazu Waterfalls are made of over 260 small and big cascades. The Argentinian side allows seeing much more of them, with the main attraction of "Garganta del Diablo" (Devil's Throat), which is the metal bridge that provides us right over the biggest waterfall from all of them. That does not mean the Brazilian side is not worth visiting as well - it shows the big waterfalls from a totally different perspective, allows to come closer to them from the bottom and provides a lot of positive emotions ;)
Currently, with the COVID restrictions, it's not possible to come and buy the ticket as before - you need to make the reservation and pay online in advance. Tickets are not that expensive (12 USD +-) and extra guide tours in several languages are available. Argentinian side offers also the boat trip to the waterfalls, the service is extra paid. In Brazil, there are no waterfalls, but the tourists who expect more adrenaline can buy the helicopter trip over the falls.
This year the level of water was very low compared to 2019 when I was in Iguazu last time. Argentina, like every other place on planet Earth, is affected by global warming. Even though the amount of water differs each year and depends on the rainfalls, temperatures, and tens of other factors, recently more and more seasons are with the critically low water level in Iguazu. Who knows, maybe in 20-25 years that natural wonder will stop existing at all or at least out of 260 cascades, only 4-5 the biggest will remain untouched? I hope many of you will get lucky to see it live before that will happen and for those who live too far away,let my photos be the documentation of this wonderful place.