Okay, I’ve been a terrible blogger. The past couple of weeks have been hectic, and I haven’t had much time to write any updates on my study abroad adventures. My parents came to visit me, and I had an amazing time showing them around Argentina. Here we are modeling under the portraits of Argentina’s own Juan and Eva Perón at a museum we visited to learn about Evita’s life and legacy.
After my parents returned to the states, it was all presentations and exams for a few weeks. But last weekend, with my midterms (mostly) behind me, I finally got a chance to take a break and escape to one of the world’s natural wonders, nestled between the border of Argentina and Brazil: Iguazu Falls.
1. Traveling to Iguazu
All of my friends from IFSA-Butler visited Iguazu as part of a trip organized by PALS, one of the groups that serves international students here in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, the same day that PALS returned from Iguazu, I had to give a hefty presentation in a seminar I’m taking on Argentine literature, so I had to forego the opportunity to join in on the fun and book my own plane ticket. At first, I was nervous about traveling alone, and worried that I would spend the whole weekend taking in the sites alone. Fortunately, these worries quickly evaporated once I arrived in Puerto Iguazu.
2. Living La Vida Hostel
For the first time, I got the classic twenty-something travel experience staying at Hostel Iguazu Falls in the sleepy tourist town of Puerto Iguazu. Upon arriving, I checked into the shared female dormitory and settled into my bunk bed. I soon met Filippa, a Swedish student currently working in Bolivia who was also taking a quick trip to Puerto Iguazu for the weekend to see the falls. We were both traveling alone, so we decided to spend the trip together. We bought groceries at the local market and cooked our dinner, a hearty pasta feast, in the shared outdoor kitchen. While we cooked, we chatted with some med students from Mexico and also met some travelers from Japan and China. It may sound kind of cheesy, but it was heart warming to see wanderers from all over the world eating, sharing a laugh, or struggling through a conversation in their common second language together. I think I might have enjoyed the time in the hostel as much as I later enjoyed the trip’s main attractions.
Our first night in Puerto Iguazu, Filippa and I took a quick walk into town to see the Hito de las tres fronteras, or the water border between Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. In this image, Paraguay is to the left and Brazil is to the right.
3. La Gran Aventura
The next morning, Filippa and I boarded a bus that would take us to the gates of the national park. The first thing we did after arriving was the famed “Gran aventura.” After riding in a giant jeep for 20 minutes through the jungle, we boarded a boat and set off down the river to get our first glimpse of the falls. The boat took us right under the falls, so of course, we were soaked. I couldn’t stop laughing as the cataradas sprayed us with cool water. Filippa took some pictures with her waterproof camera, and I’ll share them once I have them!
4. Las Cataradas Up Close
After that, we took a break and ate the sandwiches that we packed at some picnic tables in the center of the park. Then we went on one of the hiking trails to get a closer look at the falls. As fun as the boat ride was, the view was even more impressive from above. We even saw some rainbows!
My absolute favorite part of the day was when we took a train up to la garganta de diablo (the Devil’s Throat). Once we reached the lookout, we were greeted by a panoramic view of the falls. The water was falling so forcefully that we couldn’t see the ground. It was just mist, everywhere.
Overall, getting to experience Iguazu–and especially getting to meet so many cool people through my hostel experience–was the perfect way to refresh before heading into finals and my last weeks (sad) in Buenos Aires. As I wrap up the semester and venture outside of Argentina, I’ll be sure to update my blog more regularly!!!