Probably the most spectacular destination on my recent trip to South America was Iguazu Falls. For a panoramic view of the falls, one would have to visit the Brazilian side and pay $160 as a “reciprocity fee,” without guaranteeing that I would get a visa in time. So I opted for the Argentinian side, where I could cozy up to a number of the cataracts, either from the top or bottom.
Iguazu is in the State of Misiones, which juts like a narrow finger into the jungles of Southern Brazil. And, just a few miles to the west is the border with Paraguay at Ciudad del Este.
In the past, I had avoided visiting the falls because I was afraid of contracting a mosquito-borne disease such as malaria, dengue, or chikungunya. Imagine my shock when I saw no mosquitoes near the falls: Apparently the waterfalls, which can range up to 9,500 feet wide depending on water volume, create their own climate of swirling mists.
Most of the water squeezes through at a place called the Garganta del Diablo, or “The Devil’s Throat.” Standing near where the water rushes down is an awe-inspiring (and very wet) experience. But it is eminently worth it!
I spent two days visiting the Iguazu National Park. Looking back, I would have to consider it the single most impressive place I visited this year in Argentina and Chile.