Thursday, 15 January 2015

Iguazu: The lower trail

Part of the falls

We have moved from Buenos Aires to Iguazu in the northwest of Argentina, home to the famous waterfalls and said to be of the best places in the world to see butterflies. We are staying at the Sheraton hotel inside the national park and we decided to begin our exploration by walking the Lower Trail (Sentado Inferior). I was thrilled to photograph my first Iguazu butterfly on the way to the start of the trail: a Crimson Peacock.

We had taken, unintentionally, a short cut towards the main falls, but this meant that we built up nicely to the main event.  Soon we came to our first waterfalls, a twin cascade called Las dos hermanas, the two sisters. 

This was quickly followed by a smaller waterfall, Bossetti, with a distinct rainbow effect where the water hit the pool below.

 We emerged onto a view area where a more dramatic wall of water was to be seen.

We now took a steep path down down a track which seemed to lead to San Martin Island and were immediately greeted by a Giant Swallowtail which was just demanding to be photographed.

It was soon joined by a Broad-banded Swallowtail.

As we walked along the path by the water we noticed a number of very wet people coming towards us and eventually we worked out that this path led to where the boats which gave you a close-up view of the falls departed from. We remember getting quite well soaked on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara a few years ago, but these were much smaller craft and the soaking on offer seemed much more comprehensive.

I did get a nice picture of a Julia butterfly along the way however.

When we could go no further we retraced our steps, but this detour had offered some good views of the falls and a few butterflies, so it was well worth it.

We now found ourselves going against the flow of people, but soon reached a major view point, where people were jostling to take selfies using the selfie-sticks that were all around. I opted for a high view-point above the crowd.

At the back of the viewing area I was pleased to spot this cheerfully coloured Plush-chested Jay.

The remainder of the walk back to the start was relatively uneventful. Various colourful butterflies glided past, but none would agree to be photographed.

Conditions: sunny and hot, but cooled by the spray from the falls.

Distance: the actual trail is 1.6 km.

Rating: Five stars.

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