From the margins of tropical rainforest, my first view of Iguazu Falls was gained from our hotel lobby. It is the second largest falls on earth.
Even from that distance it seems so grand that I knew it would enrich my life forever after.
After a long wait with hundreds of other tourists, we took a short train ride, which deposited us at a series of metal bridges that spans several arms of the upper Iguazu river. It had the feel of being on a Yosemite guided tour. There were so many tourist, all moving at a snail’s pace, that I began to regret coming here. But all at once I saw the falls, beautiful in the way its brow leaped free from the horseshoe-shaped cliffs and tumbled hundreds of feet into the gorge. After that, the crowd didn’t matter.
So much mist pushed back up the cliffs that I couldn’t see the river below. The gauzy, sun-sifted spray, half falling, half floating, seemed infinitely fine, but the thunder-like detonations of water hitting the granite boulders below blasted up from the canyon, telling a story of force beyond any power I’ve known.
There are a series of massive falls, dozens, all blending into a breathtaking landscape, veiled in numerous rainbows. It is so vast—almost two miles long—I couldn’t see it all from one place. I had to walk miles of trails and see portions of it from several vantage points.
One surprise was how many butterflies are in the surrounding rainforest. I’ve never seen so many in one place. It was not uncommon to have several landing on me at once. And the colors jumped out at you, mostly deep blues, electric purples, and neon yellows. They made the experience magical as well as awesome.
Tomorrow we take a boat on the lower river, right up to the place they call the Devil’s Throat, which is as close to the falls as a boat can get. I’m prepared to get soaked.