Wanderlust, a travel magazine that I subscribe to, is doing a special issue of the world's top 100 travel experiences later this year and have asked readers to send in their top ten lists. By the very nature of the exercise all they are looking for is a simple list of things to do or see and that's what I've sent them. However that's not enough for me.
So, I've decided to properly write up the ten that I sent them. There is no significance to the order, they are simply in the order that they occurred to me.
Great Travel Experiences: Helicopter over Iguassu,
My first experience of the Iguassu falls was at ground level. We took a boat out to a series of walkways that are built across the falls and walked out above them. They were incredibly impressive, much more impressive than any other falls I had ever seen, including Niagara. The water was brown and muddy but it thundered and roared so loudly that conversation was nearly impossible. The walkways were crowded with tourists gaping open mouthed and jostling for better angles for their pictures.
It was the next section, when we left the walkways and descended onto the paths that run alongside the falls where there is a first impression of the true scale and power of the series of cataracts. At one point on the trail you round a corner and there, glimpsed at first through gaps in the trees, is a long curving series of falls, perhaps a mile wide, pouring billions of gallons of water over more than 250 connected falls. It's a truly incredible sight and one which is said to have moved Eleanor Roosevelt to the words "Poor Niagara!" when she saw it.
The way to really understand the falls, though ,is to take a helicopter ride above them. Only then do you get a proper idea of the scale. From the air it looks as if some mighty Titan of legend has taken a gigantic axe and smashed it into the ground.
Down on the paths and walkways the sheer power of them is close and personal but from the air the Devil’s Throat is a great gaping wound in the Earth. The whole span of the falls is a series of vast arcs where hundreds of individual waterfalls tumble down in gigaantic steps in a torrent unlike anything I had ever seen before.
There is absolutely no question in my mind that of all the natural wonders I have ever seen, Iguassu is by far the most impressive and anyone visiting must take the helicopter ride. Simply marvelous.