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Iguazu Falls

December 16, 2009

and here we all are!

During the week of Thanksgiving, we trekked up (well, actually flew up) to the northeastern corner of Argentina which borders Brazil across the Iguazu River.  These breathtaking waterfalls were a phenomenal sight.  The falls themselves are often compared to the Victoria Falls  of South Africa and our own Niagara Falls.  Iguazu is wider than Victoria but since there are many (270 to be exact) discrete falls which make up Iguazu, Victoria beats it as it one large fall.  Iguazu has the others beat with the greatest average annual flow of any waterfall in the world.  Enough with the statistics….

The trip was fantastic!  Miles and miles of trails to hike and climb, a boat trip that makes the Maids of the Mist seem like a walk under a mister hose at the fair.  We chose a hotel that was located in the Iguazu National Park (the only one in the park) and made the proximity to the nature trails, zodiac boat rides and views very memorable.  While we stayed on the Argentine side of the Falls, we did head back over to Brazil for a day to take in the views of the falls from the Brazilian side.  The Brazilian side offered great views for pictures while the Argentinean side offered a better “experience” of the falls.  Our conclusion was that you really do need to do both sides of the falls to get the complete experience.  At one point, we all stood looking out at the falls and while standing in Argentina, we could see Brazil and Paraguay…it was a cool thing to witness.  The forests surrounding the falls are all part of a National Park and were chockfull of interesting birds, monkeys, lizards and an interesting racoon-like anteater looking animal called a coati.  They are very bold animals and the children couldn’t get over how the animals would climb right up onto people tables and grab food off the plates while they were eating from them.

The Falls are located in the Argentine province of Misiones, named after the missions or villages created by the Jesuit missionaries in the early to mid 1600s.  The Jesuits began settling in this area trying to convert the indigenous Guarani people to Christianity thus saving them from jungle and European slave-traders who routinely scoured the jungles for new “cargo”.   There were approximately 40 or so of these “reductions” as they were called in what is now Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.  These Jesuit reductions became economically self -sufficient,  resistant to slave raids, and taught the Guarani people skills to improve both their work and life.  The Jesuits were hugely successful until their expulsion by the Spanish in the mid-1700s. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour we took of one of the best preserved ruins, San Ignacio, which has now been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  This region in Argentina is an undiscovered gem and taught us much.  If you have time over the Christmas Holidays, rent the movie The Mission with Robert De Niro and Liam Neesom and you will get a feel for what was happening at this time in history.  Don’t let your little kids watch it….lots of violence but really great movie.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. David Triick permalink
    December 17, 2009 22:05

    Another great commentary on your experiences. Myra and I wish that you will have a wonderful Christmas and successful New Year in 2010!
    We will be in Ohio next week ready to see Scott and family, Bill and family and Robby. After that we will be looking forward to David and Natalie’s baby in late February.
    Love to everyone, Uncle David

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      December 18, 2009 06:16

      Thanks so much for the warm wishes! We hope you have a wonderful time with the family. Please send our best to Scott, Laurie and the kids (not so much kids anymore, i guess!) Can’t believe you are going to be GREAT-grandparents…well you are GREAT grandparents already…but you know what I mean! Is Natalie coming back to Ohio to have the baby? 2010 promises to be an exciting year for the Triicks!
      Our love to all of you-

  2. Debbie B. permalink
    December 22, 2009 10:00

    Meg,
    Great description of the falls! I think you could commentate for those National Geographic films…put your PR background to work!!! One picture was exceptionally close to the falls/water, and that must be why you said it made the Maids of the Mist look like a walk in the park???
    Thanks for sharing, will look for the movie you suggested.
    Missing you….

  3. The Maurers permalink
    December 24, 2009 09:20

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of you. We’ve really enjoyed your blog and loved your Christmas card.

    Meg says “I can’t wait for you to come back in 2010. Third grade misses Mary Cate and Liam”.

    Think of you often!

  4. January 8, 2010 00:06

    you guys look great!

  5. anna noone permalink
    January 11, 2010 19:30

    sooooo beautiful

  6. Nancy Phillips permalink
    January 12, 2010 08:52

    Happy New Year Hayes gang. What fabulous adventures you are having, we are envious. David & I have been to Iguzu, on the Brazil side. We took a helicopter ride over the falls.
    My neighbor is working at your shop in Old Town for the holiday break, so don’t hurry home, you may not have a job any more.
    Glad you are happy and well.

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      January 12, 2010 13:18

      hello…we are 1/2 day away from landing on antarctica….yahooo! the drake passage was ROUGH (even for me, the old navy girl)
      are talking about sarah ? if so, she is the best. she has been for quite awhile! we love her there!
      can’t wait to hear from you about the safari!
      miss seeing you and your smiling face!

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