Tag Archives: Travelpics

Four tips for an Iguazu Falls visit

I stayed on the Argentinian side of the falls in February 2014.  If I had stayed on the Brazilian side the correct spelling  would have been Iguassu Falls.

The falls are extensive.  Some facts about the falls:

  • they are 3km wide and the drop is around 80 metres.
  • the average flow rate approximates 1800 cubic metres per second.

For comparison, Niagara Falls has an average flow rate of 2400 cubic metres per second but the height is only 50 metres and doesn’t have anything like the width of Iguazu.

According to our guide, at the time of our visit the flow rate was about half normal.  When you consider the photo below you can imagine how impressive the falls must be at the time I was there.  They were truly impressive despite the ‘low’ flows. It was very noisy standing next to the falls where the photo below was taken.

Argentina14022 - print

 

Tip 1: Visit both sides of the falls

The two sides are different.  In general, walking on the Argentinian side covers a more extensive range of the falls close up.  On the Brazilian side our guide recommended one walk to us and this was relatively short. You tend to have a more panoramic view of the falls from this side.  Nevertheless, the photo above was taken on the Brazilian side so it wasn’t all about distant views.

 

Brazilian side of Iguassu Falls
Brazilian side of Iguassu Falls

 

Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls
Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls

 

I also encountered a very pleasant walk on the Argentinian side of the falls which resulted in the following photo.  This was on the Devil’s Throat walkway.

Argentina14025-2 - print

Tip 2: The upper circuit, lower circuit and Devil’s throat are the key walks on the Argentinian side

The photo labelled Argentinian side of Iguazu falls above was taken on the Devil’s throat walkway. The following was taken on the upper circuit (which is wheelchair accessible).

Argentina14048 - print

The lower circuit provides a different perspective as shown below.

Argentina14060 - print

 

Tip 3: Take your time and rehydrate

I covered the walking activities in a day and a half.  This was enough to give an overview of the area but as a keen photographer there are endless subjects to keep you clicking away.  For this New Zealander the weather was warm and humid.  The walking lasted quite a long time on the Argentinian side of the falls. You will therefore feel much better about your experience if you keep your fluid intake up and you don’t rush things.

Tip 4: Sheraton Hotel is very well located on the Argentinian side of the falls.

Firstly, I will declare that I have no involvement with the Sheraton Hotel and I do not work in the hotel business. From the Sheraton Hotel you have direct access right in front of the property to the Argentinian side walkways.  There is no need to catch a bus to the Argentinian side of the falls.  This strikes me as being highly advantageous.

Conclusions

I hope you find the four tips above useful.  This is not an exhaustive list. If you have been to Iguazu Falls feel free to add to my tips.

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Iguazu Falls – it certainly offers something different to other well known waterfalls both in terms of the falls themselves and the setting they are in (more on this in a future posting).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Penguins of Antarctica

If you visit Antarctica you are going to see lots of penguins. However, the type of penguins you will see depends on where you go.

In February 2014, I visited the Antarctic Peninsula with Quark Expeditions on board Sea Spirit.  I was on the Antarctic Explorer trip which meant I did not go south of the Antarctic circle.  On this itinerary I was expecting to see Chinstrap, Gentoo, and Adelie penguins.  Little did we know when we left Ushuaia that we had a surprise awaiting us on our first day of landings.  This surprise took the form of an Emperor penguin on Deception Island.

Emperor Penguin

We later learnt this sole Emperor penguin left Deception Island two days after our visit.  It was a mark of how unexpected this visitor was that all the expedition guides on our trip who could come over to see this penguin did so with great enthusiasm.

Antarctica14478 - print

 

Feeding penguins

In general, the penguin chicks we saw were around six weeks old when we visited. This enabled viewing of feeding behaviours, as shown in the following photo of Gentoo penguins.

Antarctica14586 - NG

 

Penguin behaviour around water

Watching the penguins near water was a fascinating experience. They look quite awkward approaching water,  often stand and contemplate for a long period of time at the water line (see below a chinstrap penguin) before entering the water but once they enter  they are very swift swimmers.

There are strict guidelines about approach distances in Antarctica but I found that if you chose a place to sit and observe by the water line penguins will emerge from the sea and walk right past you (this is permissible as you are not approaching them).

Antarctica14182 - Facebook

 

Groups of penguins  versus lone penguins

Survival is much higher for penguins found in groups. Sometimes penguins are found huddled together and this huddling often occurs if a predator is nearby.

Antarctica141091 - NG

Antarctica141043 - print

 

 

Do you tire of photographing penguins?

On our last landing of the trip one of the Expedition Guides commented that I was still photographing penguins.   I immediately commented that you can’t take too many penguin photos.   At that point I was taking photos that were showing different penguin behaviours.   For me, each landing yielded plenty of opportunities and I made the most of the time available on land (usually about 2-2.5 hours on each landing).

This was my first trip to Antarctica and of course the travel season is short.  However, it strikes me that if you are to go on repeat visits, doing so at different times of the year will reveal a whole lot of different behaviours.

Antarctica14146 - NG

Antarctica14799 - NG untitled14963 - NG

Herein lies an important decision to make before visiting Antarctica – the question of what time of year do you most want to visit.  It is worth spending time researching this and thinking about what stage of the penguin life cycle you most want to observe in what could be your only visit to this fascinating land.