Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Antarctic Adventure #19 - BA to Iguassu Falls, 31 Dec 2019

Antarctic Adventure #19 -BA to Iguassu, Falls, 31 Dec 2019

Woke to a beautiful sunny day in Buenos Aires.  Another early morning, we had to have our luggage out of the room by 8:20am, but we elected to leave our bags at the hotel & just take some carry on for our 2 nights in Iguassu Falls.

 As our bus departed the Panomerican Hotel, we saw crowds of people & realized they were all gathering for a big outdoor New Year's Celebration.  Shame to miss that!
 Flew out of the International Airport again, but we made it there easily - no traffic on this holiday morning.

It was an easy 2 hour flight from Buenos Aires, north to Iguassu.  Landing you could see that this is the greenest place in the world!  We landed and had stairs to walk into the airport.  Just as we got inside, the skies opened up & it poured!  But by the time we got our luggage to go to the bus, it had stopped & the sun was back out!

Our local guide, Romera, met us with the bus at the Iguassu Airport.  First thing she taught us was that Iguassu is a native name meaning "Big Water."  It certainly is that!!!  This is our second visit - we were here in 2016 as a pre-trip to the Wilderness Patagonia trip.  As we crossed the bridge of the Iguassu River, which is the border of Brazil & Argentina, she pointed out how the barriers are painted - blue/white on the Argentine side, green/yellow on the Brazil side. 

 We drove straight across the border into Brazil so we could explore that side before dinner tonight.  It's a short trip, only 2 nights here.  Can't waste anytime!  Took a while to get through immigration to leave Argentina & then to pass into Brazil.  We never even had to get out of the bus - Romera did it all for us.  We were grabbing a snack at the Brazilian Iguassu Falls National Park Visitor's center by 4pm!  I immediately got to start my Iguassu bird list with this pretty guy.  Still trying to ID him.  Ruth, one of the group sent me an email after we got back that identified him as a Cattle Tyrant, apparently a common bird in the area.

Just like our previous visit in Dec 2016, we entered the boardwalk from the Hotel Das Cataratas.  Last time we walked around inside the hotel, but we were on a tight schedule for this trip, so the bus dropped us off directly at the boardwalk entrance.  If you have never seen these falls, they are truly a wonder to observe.  Of the 3 most well known falls (Victoria in Africa, Niagara, & Iguassu), these are the most impressive over all.  Partly because of the extensive access to viewing them.  Bottome line, we are very lucky to have seen all 3 of them multiple times & we highly recommend a visit!!!
We immediately saw a troop of monkeys showing off their skills in the trees above us.  Such an awesome backdrop!!!

My personal favorite bird guide pointed out a Plush Crested Jay and a Chestnut-eared Aracari (type of Toucan). I loaded my pictures & then so that you can really see how beautiful the birds are, I loaded pictures form Wikipedia!!!!

Continuing along the boardwalk, we saw more monkeys, a White Tailed Kite, and Michele picked up a dead tarantula!!! The views of the falls were a continuous backdrop.

There were Turkey Vultures circling overhead & the vegetation was lush with all sorts of unusual blooms & leaves. The Argentine Tegu Lizard was also on the path with us. Various sizes, most at least a foot long.

We started to see the Coatimundis (they are curious creatures & caused quite a stir when they started investigating a young Asian girl's backpack!!)

Just before we got to the board walk out over the water, we managed to get a picture of one of the myriad butterflies flittering everywhere.

Took a zillion pictures from the end of the boardwalk.  It was amazing to stand down there.  The spray was exhilarating.  

Final pictures from the tower overlook before being forced back on the bus!!!!  Could see some type of Swallows along the cliffs, but not close enough to identify them.  There are apparently several kinds there.  Such an amazing place.  Tomorrow we get to spend all day on the Argentine side!!!  Yea!

After a rather rushed visit to the Brazilian side of the falls, we were bussed back to Argentina & delivered to the Panoramic Grand Hotel in Misiones. It was a beautiful hotel & our room was very nice. We had a lovely dinner & then a New Year's Eve Cocktail party with the hotel guests & our OAT staff.

More later, but wanted to wish everyone Happy New Year! We are enjoying our 30th Anniversary out on our balcony at Iguassu Falls, Argentina It's been a beautiful day.  The hotel (& OAT) had given us a bottle of champagne & we drank it while listening & watching the fireworks.  Once again we got to experience Fireworks for our anniversary!  Bliss!