Immensely powerful expanses of cascading water - the Iguazu Falls are an amazing sight.
We flew to Iguazu - the Argentinian side - from Buenos Aires and were met by our guide and driver. He offered us the option of a boat ride under the falls at $80 per person which seemed steep but it was something we wanted to do.
275 separate waterfalls drop over a cliff along a semicircle of nearly three kilometres. Set in sub-tropical jungle the falls span the Argentinian Brazilian border. The language of the local Guarani Indians named the falls: "I" means water and "guacu" means big" - an apt description - Brazilians still spell the falls as Iguacu rather than Iguazu which is the Argentinian spelling.
We went straight to the Falls and we began a walk along the trail seeing the falls at the edge first, which would be impressive anywhere else, and gradually approachg the main falls.
The falls are an amazing sight and the noise of water thrashing and crashing over the precipice is immense. They are created as the Iguazu River rushes headlong over the edge of the Parana Plateau dropping 60 to over 80m in a series of separate flows created by numerous small islands. The water level can fluctuate a great deal and as the river delivers more water some of the smaller islands become totally flooded and the number of torrents decreases as they join up to create wider stretches.
This is expensive but so much fun.
We were given waterproof jackets with hoods and thick plastic bags for our belongings. Nevertheless, everyone got soaked - which is the point really.
The sturdy rubber dinghies were equipped with very powerful motors and expertly piloted down both arms of the falls either side of Isla San Martin.
Isla San Martin ends with a beach opposite the point where we embarked and was a location on the filming of "The Mission".
First we went up the Brazilian side, close to the falls dropping from the island, and up to the mouth of the incredibly powerful torrent of the Devil's Throat at the head of the gorge.
Then we rounded the island to go up the Argentinian side. Very soon the cameras had to be put away and we were driven hard right under the spray from the torrent at the head of the gorge - twice! Then back around to the Brazilian waterfalls for each side of the boat to be drenched again - we were all absolutely soaked but it was brilliant.
The boat motored some way downstream and dropped us off at a landing point where we climbed up to get to a large open vehicle to take us back to the falls. A guide told us all about the jungle we were passing through - it was very hot and humid - talking about the flora and fauna which live here. If you're very lucky you might see a jaguar.
We saw clouds of beautiful yellow butterflies - apparently they suck up minerals from evaporating puddles.
We were drenched but it was very warm and we soon dried off, continuing our walk along the rim of the falls and out along a walkway over the plateau of water to the Devils' Throat.
We saw quite a few fish in the river approaching the Devil's Throat, including big catfish, and a gorgeous toucan high in a tree.
We were guided through all the customs formalities then taken to our hotel in Brazil, the magnificent Das Cataratas. The welcome was wonderful, even though we looked like bedraggled water rats! And to cap it all we'd been upgraded to a deluxe room. Practically the size of a football pitch, with a fabulous bathroom, I could have wished for a couple more nights here!
We dined in the poolside conservatory restaurant on a Brazilian barbecue buffet with a huge selection of dishes to choose from including half a dozen different meats freshly spit-roasted. Particularly enjoyed a creamy catfish soup, brie in pastry with berries, gorgeous chicken salad with raisins and peppers in a creamy sauce, lamb and rare beef fillet.
It was a full moon so we went out after dinner to take a look at the falls by moonlight. Just across from the hotel we were able to look over the wide expanse of falls on the Argentinian side which we had explored today, they looked beautiful.
The following morning, after a wonderful breakfast, we walked the trail along the falls. The park doesn't open to the public until 9 a.m. so we had it all to ourselves, it was wonderful.
Colourful butterflies fluttered around and fat millipedes lumbered across the walkway. At the falls swifts were diving through the spray to their nests in the cliffs.
The Devil's Throat, the head of the falls, is unbelievably majestic. The waters thunder over the cliffs in a wide horseshoe.
We walked along the walkway out over the falls to a tremendous view of the Devil's Throat, spending time just taking in the immensity of this powerfully beautiful spectacle.
Then we climbed up - there is an elevator but it didn't open until 9:30 a.m. - for more great views from above the falls.
We returned to the hotel, arriving just as the first tour bus of the day rolled up! We spent the next few hours by the pool, being pampered by attendants bringing fresh fruit juice cocktails, fresh fruit skewers and cold wet flannels.
There was a lot of wildlife around, including trees full of noisy red-rumped cacique birds building nests and very large, ugly lizards.