Iguazu Falls

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After another lengthy bus ride (17 hours) I arrived in Puerto Iguazu, the town close by to Iguazu falls which is located on the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

After arriving around lunch time I headed straight over to the Brazilian side of the falls where you are able to get the grand view of the falls.

I was completely blown away by the phenomenal amount of water going over the falls and just how many falls there were stretched over several kilometers. It was absolutely spectacular!

At one point I was able to walk out on a platform in front of a huge waterfall that was sending up such an incredible amount of spray that I got absolutely saturated. It was such an odd experience because for some reason I felt so happy and I actually started laughing out loud despite being myself and getting ridiculously wet. It seemed that it affected everyone in a similar way because everyone I saw had a huge smile on their face. Apparently it might have something to do with the negative ions in the air but whatever it was it was an incredible experience.

The next day I headed to the Argentinian side where you are able to get more up close to the falls. Once again it was amazing to see just how much water there was going over the falls. I also took a boat ride that goes down underneath one of the falls and you get absolutely soaked. It was amazing to feel just how powerful the water is.

That night a group of us headed to a spot in Puerto Iguazu where you can see Brazil and Paraguay while standing in Argentina. Pretty cool!

Paraguay on the left, Brazil on the right and Argentina at the front. 

Puerto Iguazu was a really nice town and while I was there the weather was absolutely perfect – sunny and hot. The falls are one of those things that I would definitely recommend to anyone traveling in South America, apparently they put Niagra Falls to shame!

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Horse Riding in the Cochamo Valley

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This continent just continues to amaze me! I thought I’d seen some of the most spectacular places in the world, but yet again South America has shown me that it is a land made of jaw- dropping scenery that you could never get sick of.

The Cochamo Valley in northern Patagonia was one of those places that stopped me in my tracks and had me shaking my head in disbelief at just how beautiful this part of the world is.

After a 2-hour bus ride from Puerto Varas we arrived in the town of Cochamo where the riverside lodge of Campo Adventura is located. It was here that we would begin our 5-hour ride into the mountains. After being kitted out in wet weather gear, we met our guide Kurt, who owns Campo Adventura, and our Chilean ponies.

Then our group of seven horses and riders was off. The ride started out nice and easy on the flat, following the river, but soon we started to head into the thick of the forest and up into the mountains. I’ve been trail-riding before but this was something entirely different. The track wound through the most beautiful green forest, with the aqua-marine waters of the river visible through the trees and over a number of smaller creeks running down from the hills.

I know it sounds lovely but it was a tough trail. The path is over a hundred years old and in some parts has been cut in so deep that the ground rises above the horse on either side and is so narrow your knees often scrape against the rocky walls. And the mud! I’ve never seen mud so deep or so thick! But the horses took it in their stride and traipsed through even though at times it was up past their knees.

The horses were incredible! They could take a hair-pin turn while stepping down two feet from one slippery rock to another even slipperier rock. In places they needed to walk across mossy wooden poles that had been put along the track because the mud was too thick. They crossed freezing cold, fast-running rivers that came up to their bellies. And they did it without any fuss, like absolute troopers. Incredible I tell you! I have always loved horse but these ponies gave me a new found respect for just how intelligent these creatures can be.

So after 5 hours of absolutely grueling, but incredible trail riding we arrived in La Junta Valley where the Campo Adventura mountainside lodge is located. As we rode out of the forest and into the open fields if the valley I was amazed by the astounding beauty of the area. On every side the valley is surrounded by enormous snow-capped mountains made of granite that are so dark in colour that they have a metallic shine – it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

The lodge was a gorgeous little wooden building with a warm kitchen and cosy beds. The trail we took is the only way to get there so everything has either been brought up on horseback (or by mule) or on foot (including the huge slow combustion oven) and it also means there is no electricity. What an incredible place to live. We were well looked after by the locals Tatiana and Horacio who cooked us a delicious dinner of salted pork and vegetables.

In the evening and also the next morning Kurt took us for a walk around the property where we saw beautiful waterfalls, got to take a ride on a cable car across a raging river and at one point had to make a river crossing in bare feet through water which two hours ago was snow on the mountain tops (brrrr).

I couldn’t believe that one place could be so beautiful – lush green rainforests, spectacular waterfalls and awe-inspiring mountains – what more could you ask for!

Riding back down was once again an amazing experience and I still couldn’t believe the things these horses could do.

Thanks so much to Kurt, Cochelo, our local guide, whose horsemanship was incredible to see, Tatiana and Horacio for allowing me to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience and see a place so beautiful I know I will never forget it.

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