Why I Spent Christmas Visiting the Largest Waterfall in The World
By Rachel McLeod
The Iguacu (or Iguazu) Falls are an amazing phenomenon of almost three hundred waterfalls that are found on the joining borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
Mostly accessible from the Brazilian and Argentinian side, Iguacu borders the three countries and is therefore quite far from any main cities.
Since I was in Argentina, in Buenos Aires, it would have been about a 15-hour bus ride. We opted for the hour-long plane ride instead as we were short on time. It was only about fifty dollars more and the Argentinean airplane provided great snacks, which just made it more worth our money.
We arrived in Puerto Iguazú, the main town on the Argentinian side of the falls, on Christmas Eve. It was a small town to begin with, and our timing added to the fact that absolutely nothing was open when we got there. That didn't bother us though, since we just wanted a good nights sleep before going to the falls the fallowing day.
The hostel we were staying at was run by the sweetest family who made everybody staying there a Christmas dinner on the night that we arrived.
We ate delicious food and talked to a nice group of Australians who had done the falls that day and were eager to give us valuable tips – mainly that we needed to bring water and snacks.
On Christmas day I woke up early, excited for the adventure ahead. A quick detour through the town to find an ATM and we were on a bus by 10 a.m.
It was a quick ride to the entrance and before we knew it we were standing in front of a huge map trying to figure out which trail to take first. While we were studying the map we made friends with an American girl who we ended up spending the entire day with, and still keep in contact with her since then.
The three of us decided that we were going to conquer all three trails together, starting with the one that leads to the waterfall called the Devil's Throat.
Half of this trail was on a train, and half was on a small bridge-path. It was a beautiful and sunny day. Quite possibly the warmest Christmas I've ever had, and ending our walk at the Devil's Throat was the perfect refreshment.
This waterfall was unbelievable. It was so big and, every few minutes, water sprayed on us because of how powerful it was. The view here was stunning, and none of my pictures do it any justice, this is something that has to be seen in person.
The last two trails were through the forest; one on the upper part and one on the lower part. These trails were consisted of more walking through the jungle and we got to see a lot of waterfalls along each way.
Both trails were beautiful walks, and not too demanding either, only a few uphill parts. In between the trails we came across the Coati, a South-American animal that fears no human and snatches everyone's food.
When we walked by the area where they were all hanging out, one of them grabbed my friends bag right out of her hand because there was food in it. This caused a frenzy of them to come running out of nowhere and completely freak out the crowd. We may have caused a scene, but these animals were pretty cute and it was very cool to be able to see them up close.
After we finished hiking all three trails we said goodbye for now to our new friend and headed back to the hostel.
It had been an extremely hot day full of amazing views. Each waterfall and each view was better than the previous. We kept thinking it couldn't get better, and every few hundred meters it did. The Iguacu Falls did not disappoint and I would be glad to spend another Christmas there.
To keep up with Rachel’s journey, follow her on Instagram, @rachellmcleod