As odd as it sounds, we are in summer vacation now. Our summer vacation goes from December to February. We took a family trip to Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Buenos Aires.
Jack said that he thought Iguazu would have a lot of animals because the name, “Igua- zoo.” Jack and I think that is funny.
We left early in the morning on New Years Day to go to the airport (I had wanted to stay up until midnight on New Years Eve, but if you are going to wake up at 5:00 am that is not such a good idea). We had to make a connection in Buenos Aires. On the flight there, Mom was taking a nap and I was reading a book when an announcement came – first in Spanish – which I didn’t understand a single word of – and then in English, “Ladies and Gentleman, we will now be spraying the cabin with an insecticide. Please remain calm, this will not effect your health.” I whimpered. I could tell mom had just barely woken up. Then the flight attendant came through the aisle with a big can spraying as she walked.
Once we landed in Iguazu, mom said, “this airport might compete with Calama.” It was just as tiny as the little airport we landed in at the Atacama Desert. We got a cab to take us to our hotel which was the only hotel inside the National Park. We saw a sign that said something like, “animal crossing” and had a picture of some strange animal we had never seen or heard of before. We were truly in the rainforest.
While we were checking in to our hotel, The Sheraton Iguazu, through the windows we could see a beautiful big waterfall. But it wasn’t just one waterfall, there were like five or six separate waterfalls, some were huge and some were fairly small. The waterfalls are basically a connection between three countries: Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The Iguazu River separates the two countries, Brazil and Argentina. Apparently, when Eleanor Roosevelt saw the falls, she exclaimed, “Poor Niagara” because it was so breathtakingly beautiful. It is one of the seven natural wonders of South America.
As we were checking in to the hotel, we saw another sign which said, “do not feed the monkeys” in big white print. I thought to myself, “I hope we see some monkeys.” We went up to our room and mom said excitedly, “Madie, Jack, come here.” We went out to the balcony where she was standing and saw that there were monkeys climbing all over the roofs and balconies of the hotel. One pooped on our porch.
The next day we began walking through the park. We saw the little animals from the sign, they are called Coatis, and a Toucan.
One of the most recommended things was a boat ride to the waterfalls. We decided it would be the first thing we would do. So we got on a truck that took us through the jungle and down to the river.
When we got to the river, we saw lots of butterflies. They seemed to really like it near the water. There were tons of them where we were getting our life jackets on. It was like one of those butterfly pavilions you see at the museum or the zoo but it was their natural habitat. One of the butterflies landed on our field guide trying to find himself.
We had pictured getting on a boat, going near the waterfalls, and getting a little damp from the mist. We actually ended up getting absolutely soaked. The rocks that the waterfalls were hitting sent a lot more than just mist our way. I felt like a little ant in a thunderstorm.
While walking back to our hotel, we got to explore the different waterfalls and parts of the jungle. The size of the park is nearly 68,000 hectares. That’s really big. As big as six Disney Worlds including all the parks, water parks, hotels, golf courses and everything. And that is only the Argentina side, the Brazil Parque Nacional do Iguacu is another 185,000 hectares, or 20 Disney Worlds.
At the waterfall chico, we saw this little guy. He is a Golden Tegu Lizard. The ground in one part of the area was crawling with ants. The lizard apparently really liked to eat ants. He would go into the ant nest, eat a couple, they would climb on him and begin to bite him, he would fling the dirt in the air causing more ants to climb on him and bite him, rub his body on the leaves and bark as he squirmed away from the ant nest, and then he would go back in for more! He did this many times until he got bored of getting bitten by the ants.
Next, we saw a tree swaying back and forth. We quickly realized that it had a monkey on top of it. Dad joked that there were probably five or six coming up behind us because you can’t really find monkeys alone. Sure enough, we continued walking down the path and we came upon five or six monkeys. One of which had a baby on his back.
The next day we went to the Brazil side of Iguazu park, Foz de Iguazu. Mom and dad got to do a ropes course. It looked really fun but Jack and I were too short to do it. We did get to do a few things in the beginning and the zip line at the end.
We also got to do this activity where you climbed up a big pole and jumped off the top (you were connected to something of course). Dad thinks it was 50 feet tall. Imagine climbing up to a four story building that was as round as a log that shook when you stood on it. You were supposed to try and grab the bar but Jack and I were way too short. It was fun anyway.
Also recommended for the Brazil side of the park was the bird Sanctuary. It was really interesting. It had a bunch of different types of birds reptiles and butterflies. In one of the enclosures that you could walk through there was a toucan sitting on a railing. Next to it was me looking at it, behind me was a girl who looked about my age, and behind her was a little boy. The toucan immediately began to hop in our direction. I quickly moved out of the way, as did the girl but the little boy wasn’t paying attention. The big old toucan pecked him on the forehead. He cried but he was ok. I’m glad it wasn’t me.
The last day we spent in Iguazu we did the canopy trail. About half way through, after seeing birds and a little lizard, we saw the black vultures. We had seen them before circling the falls to find the fish and birds and other creatures that had gone over the falls, but never as close as we saw them that day.
We took a canoe down the Iguazu River. The ride started up near the Devils Throat. One of the things dad said he really wanted to see before we left was a toucan flying. The rest of us had already seen one. On the canoe ride we saw a toucan and just before we floated away, the toucan flew. Dad was glad that he got to see it.
There was a little butterfly that kept following us around. I think he liked us.
I think this was my favorite trip ever. It was really different from other trips and it had lots of animals that I had fun learning about. We had a field guide and checked off all the animals as we saw them. By the end, most of the animals in the book had been checked off. It felt good to know we saw almost the whole jungle.