The cost of the boat ride to the waterfalls was 125 pesos. I bought my ticket at the hostel and received 10 pesos discount. I know 10 pesos (USD2.5) is not much, but I love discounts.
At the bottom of the Lower Circuit, Steve and I descended many steps to board our boat together with 18 other passengers. It was a large, orange rubber speedboat with powerful engine. There wasn’t any line at the “dock”. YEPPI!
We all were given a waterproof sack to protect our belongings. I removed my hiking boots and put on my sandals.
First, the speedboat took us around the waterfalls to warm us up. I felt like I was on a roller-coaster. I put my hands up, let the boat swing me left to right and right to left. There was no shortage of screaming, of course.
At one point, a 3-year old girl sitting in front of me shouted out exhilaratingly,”Cataratas! Cataratas!” (waterfalls).
Then, all the passengers felt the enthusiasm from that little girl and all started chanting, “CATARATAS! CATARATAS!”. I love the spirit of South Americans. They are fun, and always ready to have a good time. The chanting was powerful that I’ll remember it forever.
I thought of taking my camera out from the sack and recording the fun time, but was afraid that I might miss the moment. So, I decided to let it be. No photos, no videos; just immersed myself in the moment, completely.
The guide on the boat started putting on waterproof pants, and then a waterproof jacket. From the look of the gear, I was sure that we were going to get wet, really wet.
He warned us to put our cameras away now.
The speedboat charged full speed toward the waterfalls. All passengers were so high, had our hands up, as if we were worshiping the cataratas.
Suddenly, a thick curtain of water hit my face; a wave of showers came down on me. I couldn’t open my eyes. I tried using my hands to block the water to no avail.
A few seconds later, we all burst into laughter.
That was the closet we could get near the waterfalls. We had a taste of its power.
“One more time! One more time!” We all shouted (in Spanish, of course.)
The speedboat took a turn and charged toward the waterfalls for a second run.
A huge splash of water slapped us once again. We were wet. Head to toes kind of wet. The most exciting kind of shower I’ve ever had.
The speedboat did make a third run into a different waterfall.
Big smiles on all the faces. This experience reminded me of my childhood, playing in the water.
I felt free. It was okay to let loose, and be silly.
For this boat ride, I would suggest board short for guys and swim suit for the ladies. Or you can purchase a poncho. I personally enjoyed the refreshing shower from the waterfall.
After the boat ride, we took a ferry (included in the entrance fee) to San Martin Island. It’s a tiny island next to the waterfalls.
Some locals people had brought lunch to have a picnic there.
I’m not really a beach person, so Steve and I opted to hike up the island.
Hmm… there were fleets of stone stairs. Very steep and endless.
After God knows how many steps, I started mumbling, “What’s up there? It better be worth it.”
I felt like I was climbing up a mountain to reach a temple. Will I be enlightened after this climb? I thought to myself.
My legs felt like giving up and I looked at Steve, he had a walk in the park kind of expression on his face. Of course, he was a marathon runner!
If not because of Steve, I would have said, “FXXX this. I’m going down.”
But lucky me picked a good traveling partner.
On top of San Martin Island, there were viewpoints that offered spectacular views of the waterfalls.
The panorama of falls extends for nearly a 140 degree viewing angle! I didn’t bring my SLR wide angle camera. The heavy mist was almost like rain. I managed to take a short video. Enjoy.
The hike was well worth it.
Next: Highlight Of The Day: Devil’s Throat