A few weeks ago, I was able to witness the beautiful, yet terrifying, Iguazú Falls in Argentina. AIFS offered the excursion, so when applying I figured, “Why not?” Now I can confidently say this has been the best decision about studying abroad that I have made so far.
After a 16 hour ride in a fancy bus, we arrived at the tip of Argentina. Like a good ice cream cone, the country is topped with the cherry of its beauty.
But before our tour of the waterfalls on Saturday, we walked to the Three Zones.
Here, you can see Paraguay to the left and Brazil to the right, while you stand on the edge of Argentina’s border. This was awesome, but the true amazement was yet to come. The next morning we left the hotel at 8 AM, welcoming the spring-like day with anticipation. This excitement was only enhanced when our tour guide warned us… “Do not approach or feed jaguars,” if we see one!
We took various paths through the park, and while we were not almost eaten by lions, tigers, bears, or jaguars, this certainly wasn’t Kansas anymore, Toto. Dozens of coati joined our excursion. These adorable fur balls turned out to have a mischievous side, but their friendliness was charming. So much that I could only laugh and say “awww” when one ferociously stole a man’s crackers out of his hand. Despite their claws and brazen behavior towards humans, I wasn’t afraid.
To start off with a bang, we viewed the most epic waterfall, Paseo Garganta del Diablo. As the name implies, the scene was not a petite, innocent one. I had to pause before I took photos in order to grasp the realization that I was really there. Gigantic white clouds tumbled almost half a mile down into a smoky void. The violent rushing sounds surrounded us, as if Mother Earth were singing an opera about how mighty she is. The misty air tasted of salt and, once the shock wore off, I realized it reminded me of the ocean. A light breeze teased each visitor’s hair.
We must have spent a full 45 minutes there, but it felt like only a glimpse at heaven. On the way back to another trail, I stopped to appreciate the over 300 species of butterflies frolicking in the trees, across bridges, and all over people’s hats. I was pleasantly surprised with each new pattern and color, one bright pink, one neon blue, one spotted, one striped. Though I wanted to capture photos of all the different types that I saw, I only managed to catch one great shot of a purple friend who landed on my sleeve.
More disappointing than the lack of photos though, was the limitations of them. You can read this — you can look at photos of Iguazú — but nothing will capture those moments quite like being there.
During the entire bus ride back to Buenos Aires that day, I saw waterfalls when I closed my eyes.