Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Take Me Back To: Iguazú


Crickets peacefully harmonized with the melodious jungle birds, creating a quiet symphony celebrating the end of the forest's storm. Lush, emerald green trees and vines surrounded my cabin and the nearby lodge, and the scent of fresh rain and damp foliage wafted through the air. As I sat in my treehouse-like cabana at La Aldea de la Selva, my own jungle retreat in Iguazú, I couldn't help but fall in love with this paradise. As if being in Argentina wasn't magnificent enough, we were lucky enough to explore the wondrous jungle as well. Even on my walks to the pool I saw exotic creatures like agoutis and giant lizards the size of cats. The sun blazed brightly, emanating warm amber rays during the day - while the nights were filled with exhilarating thunder storms and torrential downpours that were sometimes more frightening than they were amusing. Yet once the storms calmed down, the sun regained its power and illuminated the beautiful town of Puerto Iguazú.


But we didn't just come here to lounge by the pool and soak up the South American sun; we came to see the famed Iguazú Falls. When we ventured to these marvelous waterfalls, their beauty left me speechless. We trekked through the forest by foot and by truck, exploring different views of the falls and admiring the many birds and butterflies adorning the jungle, from which we hopped a boat that took us along the Iguazú River and up close to the falls. Our boat provided us with the most incredible view of La Garganta del Diablo, or the Devil's Throat, the most impressive and massive part of the falls. We went underneath several of the falls, rendering us drenched and filled with adrenaline for the rest of our adventure.


After our boat ride we continued hiking and exploring the falls. The many falls were all beautiful, but once we were atop the Devil's Throat, Iguazú truly took my breath away. I have never seen anything so astounding. I stood in complete awe as these massive falls plunged to the ground, spraying mist and creating rainbows against the gleaming waters. I was floored by the beauty and inspiration found in these stunning waterfalls. 


Following our visit to Iguazú Falls, we enjoyed life in the jungle while laying out and sipping caipirinhas by the pool, leisurely reading our books, taking a long road trip to the San Ignacio Jesuit ruins, and eating lots of succulent Argentinian steak. I'm no ardent meat lover, but these steaks were incredible. And paired with a bottle of Santa Julia cabernet sauvignon, it was as near to perfection as gluten free gourmet can get. 


After several days in the rainforest, we headed back to Buenos Aires. As much as I loved the bustling city life in Buenos Aires, I missed my jungle oasis and the enthralling waterfalls in Iguazú. I fell in love with the lush feats of nature around me, the combination of chaos and peace in the jungle, the character and comfort of my treehouse cabin, the strong drinks and even stronger sun at the pool, and falling asleep to the exotic symphony of the rainforest every night. Saying goodbye tugged on my heart, although I was filled with an incredible amount of joy for being able to see the marvelous wonders of Iguazú that I had always dreamed of.

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