By TONY BLAIS, QMI Agency
Argentina's Iguazu Falls are like Niagara on Viagra.
The amazing waterfalls -- which were named in 2011 as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature -- are one-third taller than Ontario's Niagara Falls and are wider overall than Africa's Victoria Falls, although Victoria has the largest continuous curtain of water.
My family and I were simply stunned by the awesome power of Iguazu and marvelled at its natural magnificence as we traversed the three levels. At one point, you can stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls.
Earlier, we had spoken about how the falls -in a jungle area of northeast Argentina that straddles the Brazil border -had better be good as it took us about 19 hours by overnight bus, both there and back, to do the trip. Well, no worries on that front! It is without a doubt one of the most incredible sights and should not be missed.
You need at least two days to fully view and absorb the falls -- a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site -- and all three trail access points are worthwhile to spend time at as they offer completely different perspectives.
The most jaw-dropping and ear-popping sights and sounds are at the thunderous Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) which can be seen from a one kilometre steel walkway and is a vision not likely to ever be forgotten.
You can also walk the upper and lower circuits -- accessible from a train that shuttles people back and forth -- to get other views of the 275 falls, see the frequent rainbows and have your photo taken on a catwalk as you get soaked by the cascading water plunging into Devil's Gorge.
As well, you can take a boat across the gorge to scenic San Martin Island and enjoy looking up at the falls.
It is also possible to go to the Brazil side of the falls, if you have the proper visa, and enjoy the spectacular panoramic viewpoint available there.
Iguazu Falls should be on everybody's bucket list.
NEED TO KNOW
* Argentina is the second largest country in South America with an area of 2.8 million square km
* The landscapes range from humid jungle and rainforest in the northeast, soaring Andes in the northwest, beaches along the Atlantic coast, the sprawling Pampas grasslands, wine country near Mendoza and the lakes and glaciers in the southern Andes of Patagonia.
* There are about 40 million people in Argentina with about nine million living in the capital city of Buenos Aires. The majority speak Spanish.
* The currency is Argentine pesos.
* Flight time from Edmonton to Buenos Aires is roughly 14 hours and can be done either via Toronto or California.
* The spectacular Iguazu Falls, one of South America's top attractions, is nearly three kilometres long and 70 m high.
* Seasons are reversed in South America so remember that if it is summer in Edmonton, it is winter in Buenos Aires.
* A juicy sirloin at a parrilla (steakhouse) will run you about $10. Don't forget to order it "jugoso" if you like it on the rare side because steaks are typically well done.
This story was posted on Tue, September 11, 2012
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