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Fall in love with Iguazu Falls

The Devil's Throat at Iguazu Falls, as seen from the Brazilian side.
The Devil's Throat at Iguazu Falls, as seen from the Brazilian side. Rae Wilson

AFTER a scenic train ride, three-hour rainforest trek and three days sunbaking and swimming on Honey Island off the coast of southern Brazil, I was relaxed and ready to tackle the rest of my South America journey.

I wish.

That's a complete lie.

Instead I was stranded in the southern Brazil city of Curitiba for four days.

The coastal area and islands we were headed to for our zen-like time-out had experienced torrential rainfall before our arrival.

New bridges had collapsed, all road routes were closed due to flooding, and landslides had caused havoc.

Two people died, two people are missing and about 2.4 million people were displaced from their homes.

Sound familiar?

The Queensland floods made news all around the world but because of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and potential nuclear disaster, I doubt this Brazilian disaster reached the news back in Oz.

Because I was crook as a dog with a chest infection followed by a head cold, I used most of the time to recover my health.

But I was shattered to miss one of the most exciting parts of our Geckos trip.

We only found out after spending 11 hours on an overnight bus to get there.

Luckily our guide, Thomas, was hilarious and it was his home city so he had plenty of inside knowledge to keep us entertained.

He took us to amazing restaurants every night.

Don't miss the Brazilian barbecue restaurants there, the meat on sticks just keeps coming with eager men shaving off whatever you like.

When it was clear we had no chance of making it to Honey Island, Thomas took us to nearby sandstone formations, many of which look like animals, and to a secret waterfall for a swim.

But the highlight was his joke telling. One night he reeled off about 15 in a row over dinner.

He had one for every topic.

You really need to see the actions he puts with them and voices he uses to get full effect.

But I now have a few stockpiled for when I get back - remind me about the horse one, the arrow one, the peanut one, the chewing gum one and the boob job one.

Eventually we boarded another overnight bus towards a flood of another kind - the famous Iguazu Falls.

A helicopter ride, my first, over the falls did not capture for me the true magnificence of what I was about to witness.

But I did enjoy the swift moves from the pilot and the splendorous views from on high.

Back on the ground, each vista along the trail was even more beautiful than the next.

When we were told we would get wet, we had no idea just how close we would get to the falls.

We were drenched from head to toe as we took pictures on a long platform just 30 metres from the start of the base of a waterfall into the Devil's Throat.

But the journey there was just as spectacular, with stunning, colourful butterflies regularly capturing our attention along with lizards and raccoons.

Thomas told us the Argentina side was even more amazing than the Brazilian side.

We told him we did not know how this could possibly be but I have to admit I was "wowed" again.

We went back to the Devil's Throat on the Argentine side the next morning after joining our new guide, Silvina, and having local river fish for dinner.

The sheer volume of water being swallowed by the canyon is indescribable.

I just stood in awe at its power and beauty, drenched by the blinding splashing as the water roared over the edge.

Photos can not capture it in any accurate way.

I really came to appreciate the magnificence of the Iguazu Falls when we took a Zodiac speed boat under two of the 280 waterfalls.

To use the word wet is a complete understatement but one would expect nothing less during such an experience.

We even saw a toucan high in the trees on our way back to the top.

I'm now on an 18-hour overnight bus ride to Buenos Aires but it's pure luxury compared to my flight over on Argentina Aerolineas.

I have already watched two movies, am about to have dinner served and have been given my pillow and blankie.

AA did not have individual screens, showed no film between Sydney and Auckland and then showed just one crap movie from Auckland to Buenos Aires.

They might have an extra inch of leg room, which I appreciated no end, but I would go with Qantas given the choice again.

Hasta luego!

A Latin Affair is a travel blog written by Rae Wilson.


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