So, after a rather comfortable 18-hour bus journey from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu we find ourselves within touching distance of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, but still a week away from getting there.
We arrived here on the morning of Sunday September 23rd and that is the only day the weather has been on our side. We managed to pack a fair bit of activity into that first day but since then we’ve been shacked up as storm after storm has hit Puerto Iguazu day after day and will continue to throughout the week. The weatherman’s classification of the storms coming our way are becoming more and more severe too. We’ve been through heavy showers, today we have heavy rain and wind, tomorrow will come a heavy storm, and we’re bracing ourselves for the dangerous storm that will come on Thursday.
When your main goal is to see the famous Iguazu Falls, known simply as las cataratas here, bad weather can have a serious effect on the experience. Being British, and moderately well prepared, we’re not afraid of a bit of rain, but we are worried about poor visibility when we go to see one of the most amazing things we’re likely to see in our lives. We’re waiting the storm out. Reports say the worst should have passed come Friday so we’re preparing to see the falls from the Argentinian side of the border then, and then cross to see the panoramic view of the falls from the Brazilian side of the border on Saturday.
Fortunately, we’re staying in a very nice place here in Puerto Iguazu, called casa Yaguarete, and have some lovely people here to keep us company. We’ve a lovely room in our own little hut on a lush bit of land towards the edge of town. We’re surrounded by trees of every shade of green and yellow and there all sorts of crazy insects and cuddly animals roaming about the place. The power goes out more and then, and sometimes the water goes off too but we’re happy enough. When the power is out we read with a camp lantern we have and we get work done when there is power and internet connection. We had a picnic on the floor in our hut for our tea yesterday, and we’ll go into town today and may grab something to eat there and then pick up some supplies.
We’d originally planned to stay here for six days, relax a little, see the falls, and plan the logistics of the next couple of weeks. Now, however, we think we’ll have to extend for a day, so we can see the falls properly and this will have a little knock on effect to what we were planning.
South America is a big place and we need to respect the distances we need to cover. We can’t simply put back our trips. Our original plans to cross into Paraguay, spend a couple of days in Ciudad del Este, and then from there go to see the Itaipu Dam, Saltos del Monday (waterfalls, which almost nobody goes to see because they’re right next to Iguazu) will have to be shelved. From there we would have gone South a little to spend time at the Nacunday National Park, which again would have offered more waterfalls with even less visitors, before on to Asuncion and then back into Argentina and to Salta.
This whole route now seems to be out of reach. We are still going to cross into Paraguay but only for a day or two while we’re waiting for the storm here to pass. We hope we can still see the Itaipu dam in the rain but Monday and Nacunday will be lost to us this time. Yep, once again, we need to come back somewhere.
It isn’t all bad though. Our plan b route from here takes us by bus to the Argentinian city of Corrientes, which sits close to the border with Paraguay and not far from Asuncion. We’re lucky to have a lovely French couple, Estelle and Laurent, also staying at Casa Yaguarete and they’ve told us about a beautiful national park near Corrientes, called the Ibera Provincial Reserve. We’ve lost the falls here but found the wildlife there. After a couple of days in Corrientes we’ll then head further Northwest to the city of Salta, spend some time there exploring the region before crossing into Chile to San Pedro de Atacama. After that it is north where Bolivia and Peru await.
It feels good to have a bit more meat on the bones of our plan laid out before us. The rain may be holding us back a little here, but we’re not letting it dampen our spirits. Plus, thanks to Estelle and Laurent who’ve been travelling South from Colombia, which is the exact way we’re heading, for over a year we’ve the perfect opportunity to get some more first-hand tips and recommendations for the road that lies ahead.