What's the best thing you've seen in South America?
Easy! The Iguasu Falls.
Legend has it that a forest god planned to marry a beautiful woman called Naipa, who fled down Rio Iguazu in a canoe with her mortal lover Taroba. In rage the jealous god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls (Iguazi, meaning 'great waters') over which the girl fell and, at their base, turned into rock. The warrior survived as a tree overlooking his fallen lover.
Stretching almost 3kms long, the falls can be seen from two alternative perspectives - the Brazil side gives a overview of the 275 waterfalls that form this grand spectacle whereas the Argentina side let's you get up close and personal with this aquatic powerhouse. The river forms the boundary between the 2 countries.
It takes 2 days and 1 border crossing to get a proper look at the falls.
On day one, we took in the Brazil perspective - here you can get some prime vantage points of the falls as a whole as you walk a long, elevated path cut into the cliff face that borders the river in front of the waterfalls.
The path begins at a spot set well back from the falls and get closer and closer until you get almost within touching distance of them. Here, I'm glad to report, my waterproof camera stayed waterproof as we walked out on the mental platform across the river right into the heart of the falls. Standing there, we welcomed the large volumes of spray that were blown our way and helped cool us after our long walk in the hot Brazilian sun.
On day two, we got even closer to the falls on a high powered speed boat that blasted us straight up to the to plunge pool at their base where you get both drenched and awestruck - the sheer power, size and thunderous noise of the falls have to be experienced to be believed.
But we weren't finished yet. It was hard to believe that the falls had yet more to offer but we had saved the best the best till last. It was time to take a walk to the 'Garganta do Diablo' (Devil's Throat).
The semicircular Devil's Throat is where the broad Rio Iguacu makes it's single most dramatic, 82 meter-high plunge, splitting into dozens of waterfalls. About half of the river's flow falls into this long narrow chasm.
They have somehow managed to build a metal footbridge and viewing platform right up to the edge of this beast. How it hasn't been taken down too I don't know! The whole world seems to drop away over the edge at this point.
I could have stayed there all day and looked out at it all - the sheer scale of it all makes you feel very small, the white watery mist formed rainbows and the immense power was palpable, breathtaking. You couldn't help but smile like an idiot!
So, for all of the above, 'What's the best thing you've seen in South America?', is an easy question for me to answer.
The Iguazu Falls were recently announced as one of the 'New 7 Natural Wonders of the World'. Let's just say they'd get my vote any day of the week.