By Global Scholar Harper Speagle-Price
Just before 5am, CIEE Open Campus headed to the airport to embark on our study tour in Iguazú Falls (las Cataratas del Iguazú). Iguazú Falls is the largest global waterfall system located directly on the border of Brazil and Argentina. These waterfalls along the Iguazú river are so magnificent that they are considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world. When we arrived in Puerto Iguazú, the closest city to the falls in the province of Misiones, our first stop was the Wanda Mines. The Wanda Mines is a gemstone site filled with quartz crystals, amethysts, and many other varieties of gems. Our guide allowed us to adventure inside the mines to get the best view of the gorgeous crystals. That night, we were treated to a traditional Argentine dinner. We had the opportunity to make our own empanadas, try authentic Argentine asado steak for the main course, and most importantly, finish the meal with mate and dessert containing Argentina’s famous dulce de leche.
The following day was our trip to the falls. We left early in the morning to ensure that we had plenty of time to spend in Iguazú National Park. After taking a small train further into the depths of the jungle, we ventured on a short hike to Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo), a chasm within the canyon in which the majority of the river flows and one of the most impressive aspects of the falls. We observed a variety of flora and fauna, as well as various species of animals and wildlife such as coatis, toucans, an enormous spiders. We hiked the trail along the upper rim of the canyon which provided spectacular views of some of the park’s most beautiful waterfalls. Some of the group later decided to hike the lower rim which offered different, but just as extraordinary viewing points of the falls from an alternative angle. That evening, we explored the city of Puerto Iguazú and got the chance to experience some of the festivities of Carnaval. We spent our final day relaxing by the hotel’s rooftop pool before returning to our home in the metropolitan of Buenos Aires.