Across Travelers Stories: Iguazu falls & Jungle Off the beaten Path

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

From Moyra Smart – Across Ambassador

Moira Smart visited South America for the 5th time with Across South America. Today we are bringing a Story about her Iguazu Falls and Yacutinga lodge trip. Continue reading this post and find out about her fascinating Iguazu falls & Jungle off the beaten path trip.

Thanks Moira for sharing a new trip story in our Blog!

Moira first taste of Argentinean Mate

This was to be the first of my five vacations organized by Across Argentina. We booked direct from South Africa as we were not keen to involve an extra local agent to help us with our Iguazu falls & jungle off the beaten path trip. After a lengthy search on the internet, we chose Across Argentina who took care of us from arrival at Buenos Aires airport until our departure.

At Iguazu airport a driver was waiting to transport us to our accommodation. No frantic looking for a taxi at midnight. This has impressed me on all my trips – no matter the inconvenient time, there has been a reliable driver waiting for us. The Orquideas Hotel in Puerto Iguazu, set in lush sub-tropical gardens, was a marvellous starting point for our adventure.

Iguazu falls & Jungle Off the beaten Path: The Yacutinga Reserve

A vehicle from the Lodge in the Yacutinga Reserve transported us from Puerto Iguazu into the depths of the Misiones Atlantic Rainforest, negotiating the muddy roads through ‘yerba mate’ plantations and rural communities. Yacutinga Lodge nestles in harmony with the surrounding jungle. We could see the understorey of tangled vegetation, plants such as orchids, bromeliads and lianas reaching for the sun – and butterflies galore. The forest canopy enclosed us in the secrets of this world.

Quieten your mind and the forest talks. There was a profusion of sounds: woodpeckers, hummingbirds, toucans, trogons and tanagers, interspersed with the eerie sound of black howler monkeys and, at night, myriad frogs.

Exploring the Yacutinga reserve with expert local guides

Our expert guides, an ornithologist and local Guarani, patiently pointed out and identified what our unexperienced eyes could not see. Silently gliding down the river in a kayak held its own surprises as a Capybara family rushed into the water and kingfishers diving for a meal. And was that a Caiman?

Capybara as we kayaked at Yacutinga

After two days of wonder at every new sensation and sight we returned to the town. But with difficulty. Even with chains on the wheels we were well and truly stuck in the mud! After all, this is called a “rain” forest for a reason.

Read More Argentina’s Hidden Treasures: Jungle Lodges off the Beaten Path

Exploring Iguazu Falls Argentina

Back to our base at Orquideas from where we were to visit the mighty Iguazu (Guarani for ‘great water’) Falls from the Argentina side and then the Brazil side. The falls lie within the Iguazu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Getting up close to the falls

We set off through the forest on what is called “The Great Adventure”. We waited in anticipation on the pier to board the boat which navigates these tumultuous waters into the canyon below the falls. We donned our life jackets and were ready for action. As we rounded a bend in the river, we were faced with a moving, thunderous sheet of water gushing down from 80 meters above us. The rising mist created a spectacular rainbow.

We waited our turn to get up close and be swept into the spray. Our cameras were safely tucked away as we were happily drenched! Swifts, which nest behind the falls, were the only brave ones to venture closer, while aquatic plants thrive as they cling to the rocks.

After disembarking, we walked on shaky legs along the impressive walkways that extend across the top of the numerous falls that make up the Argentina section. Along the edge coatis dug for tasty morsels, thrilling the children. Above the roar of water, we heard exclamations in many languages as people gazed in awe.

Exploring Iguazu Falls Brazil

There was more to explore the next day as we entered Brazil. During the rainy season, about 12 million tons of water flow over the falls every second. Due to this, the main walkway was closed but we still had amazing views where the Iguazu River plunges into a narrow gorge known as the Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat). All too soon it was time to head back to Buenos Aires and vibrant city life.