Ciudad del Este Stories and Tips

The Argentine side - the falls from below - the Inferior Cataract walk

The Argentinean escarpment Photo, Ciudad del Este, Paraguay

Your final look at the myriad of waterfalls at Iguacu will probably be from the inferior (lower) set of walkways.

This takes you down to the river and provides stunning views of the falls looming far above you and the great arc of the escarpment which stretches for 3 1/2 miles. By now you may have had your fill of tropical vegetation and gushing torrents but the view from beneath is rather special and there is one last thrill before you head for the exit.

It is also - after the Garganta di Diablo - the most touristed part of the falls and there is a constant stream of people heading down the walkway. In the height of the summer take your swimming trunks as there is a beach on the Rio Iguacu.

The inferior walkway is reached from the Estacion Catarata on the miniature railway. From there follow the signs to the Torre Mirador (Viewing Tower). Further on the from the Superior walkway, near the Sheraton Hotel, is the start of the inferior circuit. This heads down through the forest along a metal walkway, there are a number of steps at this point so people in wheelchairs or mobility problems may need help to descend. But we did see two people in wheelchairs on the trail so it can be done.

As ever look after for animal life on the trails. As ever there are the thousands of butterflies in assorted colours. These are preyed on by an exhaustive selection of birdlife - toucans, parakeets, finches and fruitcrows - which are in turn food for assorted hawks and eagles. After five minutes descent there is a restaurante and toilet facilities, it is a good idea to stock up on water before descending the trails as the temperature in Iguacu in summer is 45 degrees. And also use the rubbish bins provided, the last thing you want to do is leave rubbish lying around in the jungle.

We now realised we were descending the western cliff face which has not many falls on it's own but looks directly into the cataracts of the Iguacu river. But we were facing eastwards which mean't we had a good view of the escarpment with it's twenty waterfalls. When you first catch sight of this wonder you just stop and stare. Viewing platforms are set up at all the best parts and it is hard to describe the grandeur of this vast parapet of gushing waterfalls - one after the other, twenty in all stretching into the distance (see photo).

When I looked closely I could see the walkway of the Superior Catarata walk laid over the top of the waterfalls. It was dwarfed by their size but you could actually see people walk over the lips of the waterfalls just as we had done a few hours earlier. Jungle blocked the furthest part of the escarpment from view but the infernal spray of the Garganta was visible soaring into the air.

We were now well below second tier level and close to the riverbank. Across the river was the Isle San Martin with its rocky shores and soaring palm trees. On our side of the river was a small beach where zodiacs braved the river and in summer took people to the Isle San Martin. As the trail continued viewing points were set up giving good views of the entire escarpment, the views got better as we approached until we were nearly under the first waterfalls pouring down from above. The trail ended, literally, under the first of the waterfalls.

It tore down from 70ft above with it's spray engulfing the viewing platform. The volume of water was amazing. I can't imagine what this place looks like after heavy rainfall. Brave souls went to the end of the walkway and stood underneath the spray to see how long they could last. I tried it and lasted two minutes as the spray soaks your hair and clothes and even gets into your mouth. For some perverse reason everyone enjoyed having their clothes drenched, their vision obscured and their face streaming. The whole group giggled and laughed.

We tourists are a strange bunch....

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