An Amazon peers out to check us out from a hole in a tree above our campsite
We turned south at the Iguazu Falls for a drive that will take us the full length of Argentina, we hope. Iguazu Falls is at the northern tip of the Misiones province, a thin spit of Argentine land separating Paraguay from Uruguay and defined by the Rios Uruguay and Paraná.
Rebecca here (whilst Bruce boldly removes the steering wheel for some post-dirt road van TLC…)
It’s hard to know what to write about the Iguazu Falls – they are immense (the only way to see them in their entirety is from the air) and beautiful. Except, perhaps, to confirm that the way we approached it, which is how it was recommended to us, starting on the Brazilian side (which gives you various vistas from the opposite bank of the river), then visiting the Argentine side (which brings you up close and pretty personal if you take the boat trip in underneath, like we did!), is a pretty good way to take it all in. We also did a short helicopter flight over the top, from the Brazilian side, once we had worked out that you really needed to see it from the air to get a proper sense of it. Plus, going up in a helicopter was a yet to be done item on both of our “to do before we die” bucket lists and this trip, out of season, was a bit of a bargain opportunity to be grabbed, we thought.
Driving south from there has been pretty much as we might have imagined – long, straight, hot (when the sun’s out), endless roads, with the landscape and scenery gently changing as we went, with jungle giving way to marshlands, then to agricultural lands and savannah. After some fascinating stops on route (old Jesuit missions, nature reserves), the next destination was Cordoba, a fascinating old university town founded by the idealistic Jesuits, and the Sierra de Cordoba, for our first bit of South American rock climbing, when the weather permitted (at times we felt like we were in North Wales or the Lake District!)
As well as the insect life, the other challenge we have adapted to is the variability of the temperature – one day, if the skies are clear and the sun is out, we are sweltering in plus 30°C temperatures, then the next, the clouds have rolled in and its overcast and we’re pulling on sweatshirts. Conversely, clear skies mean getting out a down sleeping bag as a duvet for the night, whereas overcast nights can be quite muggy… The rule of the road seems to be to be prepared for a level of variety us Brits are just not used to!
Here is a storybook of photos to fill out the story:
Parilla with friends from the road sheltering from the heavy rain the night we made it to Foz de Iguazu (Brazil)
We waited for better weather the next day for our visit to the Falls…
Despite still being grey and overcast, the Falls were awe inspiring to see…
… and amateur photos can’t do it justice
But here’s the obligatory selfie anyway!
Pretty wet as you get closer – the jacket is not because of the rain!
There was lots of wildlife to enjoy in the national parks – this lizard has been caught part way through moulting
And this parrot was our first sighting of a parrot in a wild, when it came to check out the fruit tree we parked under at the campsite
There were also some pretty well presented wildlife parks that gave us the opportunity to get more familiar with the new flora and fauna
And sometimes presented a little excitement of there own! This owl didn’t want the ibis to get too close.
These toucans were in the wildlife park, but we were fortunate enough to see two pairs in the wild a few days later down the road
Excited to be going up to see the Falls from the air!
Coming into view…
And now you can see why you have to go up to see it all
The dramatic top of the gorge at the head of the falls
And back to earth and to the Yellow Van.
And another mechanical stop – but this time a quick, easy and cheap repair of the exhaust (escape) with a replacement silencer. We weren’t entirely surprised that some of the roads we’d been on had shaken out the rust holding it all together!
At the campsite by the river
Which also had plenty of wildlife to appreciate – this time a proper look at cicada found by the campsite owner in the garden.
A very large family of Coatis crossed our path
And then the little ones climbed into the trees to present themselves for cute photographs
The boat trip into the Falls… shall we… shan’t we… of course we will!
Preparing ourselves to get very wet – for some reason we thought our waterproof jackets might stand a chance!
Not a chance – we found one small dry patch of a few inches each after our intense shower!
We recovered with a rather more sedate boat trip along the river across the top of the falls
From where it was hard to believe the falls were crashing down, just over there
Just the mist and the rainbows to give it away
On the road south, at the ruins of the Jesuit Mission of San Ignacio
There were more than 70 of these projects at their peak
Jungle gave way to marshlands…
… and the opportunity to spot the greater hatted Bruce usually to be seen with binoculars in hand and bird book close by
Many birds to be seen (hawk with prey)
Also some more Capybara
And other creatures
Sorry to disturb!
Capybara wallowing the mud on a hot afternoon
At the end of the path at the end of a very hot afternoon
Cordoba – the historic Jesuit university city
A tribute to Evita
The university central court
Caught in a protest march against increased police powers by folk working horses and carts through the city
First night cooking inside the van due to the elements – this time rain
But relieved to find it is an option!
Off into the mountains of the Sierra de Cordoba for a few days
And our first rock climbing in Latin America
The first use of the rope given to Bruce as a leaving present from work
On route to Los Gigantes
Beautiful in the late afternoon sun
Parked up for the night at the bottom of the path
And a sighting of the greater climbing Bruce, in typical pose, with guidebook in hand
In waterproofs contemplating the wet rock – the next day was not so fine…
… It could have been North Wales! But we snuck in some nice routes before…
…packing up as the clouds came back down
Just south of Cordoba is Alta Gracia and one of the Jesuit Estancias that supplied their activities in Cordoba
It is also where Che Guevarra grew up, with an interesting little museum
His last two day’s diary entries
Before the famous motorcycle trip, there was a long-distance cycle journey
Then the journey that became the motorcycle diaries.