On this trip we took 22 high school students to Argentina. Part of the trip was trekking through the jungles of Iguazu. For many of the students including myself, it was the first time to be in the rainforest. We were rearing to get some nature and fresh air. My mission, to find TOUCANS! This was our 4th day in Argentina. We had been on several tours around Buenos Aires and we were all at the stage where we feel comfortable with each other. The Iguazu trip was bound to BOND us all together and IT DID! We took a flight from the Buenos Aires International Airport (EZE). We laughed going through customs because we could walk through with liquids. Most of us had coffees or water in our hand. It was an uncomfortable yet exhilarating feeling! On our flight we were able to see Uruguay from the plane.
Our tour guide Mauriano, hired a company by the name of Sol Iguazu Turismo for our jungle adventures. Our tour host from Sol Iguazu Turismo spoke English and Spanish. He met us at the airport and had a charter bus ready for us. The bus was nice and comfy and had air conditioning. We definitely felt the temperature change from Buenos Aires weather. We were averaging about 65 degrees in the city and we now jumped to about 78 degrees in Iguazu. A lot of us were super excited since this was the first day since summer vacation that we felt like we were in summer weather. We were all coming from San Diego, which in the summer is beautiful!
TRAVEL TIPS IN IGUAZU LIST
- MOSQUITOS! Bring mosquito repellent. They even bite in the winter time.
- Iguazu is a RAINFOREST, so it is warm. Most likely you want to wear comfortable but AIRY clothing. You will need a comfortable pair of shoes for trekking. Make sure you have good tread on them.
- DIRT. The dirt has a lot of clay in it and its really RED. If you have been to the RED ROCKS in Arizona, you’ll know what I mean. The shoes that you bring into parts of the jungle should be a pair that you won’t mind getting dirty. There is a strong possibility that you might have to throw your shoes away if they GET really dirty. Keep that in mind!
- BATHING SUIT. I wore my bathing suit underneath just in case! I brought a change of clothes as well. That helps if you sweat like crazy or if you get wet.
- BACKPACK: We were able to leave our stuff inside our bus and later our jeep, but if you have valuables, then a backpack can go with you virtually anywhere. Just try to keep it light.
- HOTEL INFORMATION: Bring a card or something that says your address just in case. A lot of the places will drop you off or pick you up at your hotel.
- WATER & SNACKS: Try to bring some water and snacks on your trek. You will be out for 3 to 4 hours in some cases. DO NOT SKIP breakfast or lunch. Hydrate yourself and eat power foods like vegetables or fruits. One of our students got sick from fatigue because he didn’t hydrate himself and didn’t eat breakfast.
Sol Iguazu Turismo dropped us off at our hotel to get our belongings for zip lining. They picked us up in an World War II jeep . It was a bumpy and adventurous ride. You have to watch your head and things just in case we hit a pothole. It’s fun to drive with the tarp over your head and to be able to see everything without a window!
The Red Dust was a unique part of the ride. I was taking photos with my camera. I had to put it away at one point because the red dirt dust particles were getting into the camera lens. BE CAREFUL. My shoes, and my clothes were starting to get dirty.
As you go into the jungle you pass through an area where indigenous Guarani natives live. You will see them living in shacks, some of them looking like shanty towns, others a little more well built. Some of the houses had small tv’s in them and the natives were watching the soccer games for the world cup. This sounds cliche, but I was moved by what I saw. I actually teach about the Guarani people when I show “THE MISSION” during our topic on the Spanish & Portuguese in South America. Many of them were living in poverty. I saw people washing their laundry in the local river. I saw kids wearing hand me downs that probably were probably donated to them by some non profit organization or church. I’ve been told about this, but this was the first time I saw it. Some little kids were playing outside and they would wave to us. I was touched by their genuine happiness as we sped by in a jeep. I started to cry. Some of the students saw me, but I couldn’t help it. I wanted to get off the jeep and talk to them and ask them about their life. I realized that maybe they are the ones that are VERY FORTUNATE. They live with so much simplicity that they don’t suffer from the daily stress in life due to computers, email, cell phones etc…
The sounds of the jungle are enticing. I could imagine any botanist in heaven with all the different types of plant species that I saw. The zip lining course consisted of 3 different rope courses. The rope course is up in the trees so there is some climbing involved.
If you have a fear of heights, this activity might not be suggested for you. The zip lining is actually not scary AT ALL! The part that is a little scary is climbing up some of the wooden ladders that have no railings, but you are strapped in. As you zip line, there is a person waiting at the next rope course to give you signals to start slowing down. They then re-clip you to the next zip line and OFF YOU GO! You feel as if you are flying and you become ALMOST one with nature!