For day 2 of my Iguazu adventures, I actually did not go to “the” falls. Instead I chose to take a day to wander Senedero Macuco. A nature trail which takes about an hour to reach the solo Salta Arrechea waterfall. This is the one place in the park where visitors have the opportunity to swim. The trail also provides an opportunity for viewing wildlife like capuchin monkeys, rare birds, lizards, unusual insects and masses of butterflies.
In total, guests typically take 3 hours for Macuco. The estimated hour there and back is combined with an hour or so to relax, swim, and have a picnic at the waterfall. I took 5.5. I was just enjoying myself SO much!
On the way to the falls I was trying to spot wildlife as much as I could. Immediately beginning my walk I was welcomed by a swarm of neon yellow and lime green butterflies. Mixed among them were just a few beautiful black and yellow swallowtails. When I got into the more dense forest I found ants. They were always alone, and, I swear I am not exaggerating, the size of my pinky finger. I know I have small hands, but this is still a gigantic ant, unlike any I had seen before.
Eventually I came across a young boy, perhaps 9 or 10 years old, and his father. The father was teaching the boy how to spot wildlife in the rainforest. They were moving at about as leisurely of a pace as myself, so when we spotted the capuchin monkeys high above us in the tree-tops, we all had the pleasure of sharing the moment together. They did not speak a work of english, but we seemed to all become quite friendly, and helped one another to spot the monkeys and lizards. I took a lot of pleasure in the sweetness between the father and son while they enjoyed the jungle together.
When we reached the waterfall, I found that the mother and daughter of the family was waiting for them. I took a quick dip in the rocky waters, and a brief shower in the fall. It was quite an amazing experience to stand under a waterfall! But my favorite part of the day is what came next.
I got out of the water and sat on the rocks to dry off and enjoy the scenery. When I sat down I discovered my clothes and bag had quite a few butterflies on them. Just to be clear, I was surrounded by butterflies all day, and the day before. This was different. I have been to butterfly conservatories where I was not so completely surrounded by these beautiful little fairy creatures. They were EVERYWHERE. They were particularly attracted to my bright pink hiking bag. And the children at the fall, ages about 5-12, were attracted to the butterflies which were attracted to my bag. So I spent the next couple of hours catching butterflies with children. They would all excitedly bring me their butterflies for me to take photos of. None of them spoke any English.
The entire interaction between the children and their families and me made me unbelievable happy. Ecstatic even. Another indescribably magical day.
On the other hand, there were people from my morning bus who rushed through the trail. I don’t understand why people like this bother to travel….? These people didn’t catch a glimpse of monkeys swinging from the trees, they didn’t spend magical moments laughing with children when a butterfly lands on their foreheads. My best advice to travelers is to stop and enjoy where you are and what you are doing. Really take it in! Otherwise, I just don’t see the point! This may not be my highest quality photo – but look at how incredibly happy this boy is for catching a butterfly! Look at his face! The capuchins did NOT want to pose for pictures. They were very hard to photograph because they did not sit still, and were always amongst the leaves.