The Shape of Water

You say ‘Iguassu’, I say ‘Iguazú’, or even ‘Iguaçu’: whichever way you spell it, these are some epic falls. We arrived on The Big Trip: Day 121 (or it could be 122, I think I’ve slightly lost count), transferring via Buenos Aires but ending up on the Brazilian side of the falls at a fantastically pink erection called the Belmond Las Cataras, a hotel which frankly warranted the two-flight journey in and of itself. What better location for Valentine’s Day than a candy pink palace on the edge of a spectacular torrent of potency? No pressure Adam.

The boys set about collecting cocktail stirrers which unfortunately meant that I needed to set about drinking cocktails. What with that, and the boys’ intensive butterfly hunting, we needn’t have visited the falls at all and would still have had a ball (stay tuned for the PlanetPotter where I stay on the cruise ship at the Great Barrier Reef because ‘that all-day buffet won’t eat itself!’) but being at the only hotel in the Brazil side of the Iguazú National Park meant that we could wander freely before and after hours, sharing the sights with nothing but the wildlife.

Truth be told I was fairly ‘waterfall agnostic’ before I got sprayed by Igazú: I would’ve happily left it out the itinerary. But the sheer variety of viewing points, the volume and brutal force of the water, the steamy and fertile jungle lining the river banks, the beauty of the changing light conditions and the way they tint the water from white, to blue, to lilac, to gold… it’s one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been. A truly magical moment was at sunset, when we followed the path which overlooks the falls, just me and Adam and a cheerful chap in his Speedos strolling along the spindly walkway into the heart of the crash zone.

The Argentinian side is quite different but equally dramatic. Here you can walk right over the biggest ingress of water known as The Devil’s Throat, provided you can cope with getting wet: Ed is quite happy to swim from dawn till dusk but literally cowered behind a bush rather than getting misted by the spray and John wasn’t too keen on it either.

Thankfully there were no extreme sports operators in the vicinity, or Adam would’ve been head first off the top of the falls before you could blink. All that there was left to do was to ride in a dinghy down the river Igazú itself, apparently stuffed with piranha fish & caimans which ticked a few ‘thrill’ boxes for the terror-starved amongst us. We got tantalisingly close to the edge of the falls, so we could see the spray just up ahead, but without ever really being in danger: it was basically a real-life ‘Lazy River’, which is just the way I like ’em (given the size of my thunder-thighs in the picture below, there was probably no need for the buoyancy aids either).


This most monstrous of all water features is a bucket-lister for sure. If you find yourself in Brazil, I couldn’t recommend it more. Iguazú, Iguassu, Iguaçu: I hate to gush, but I’ve fallen for you.


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