Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Butterflies, More Butterflies, and Some Waterfalls

This post is all about Iguacu Falls, which is technically spelled with one of those silly curly things on the bottom of the c or in English with a z. They are big. Really big. Not massively tall (though taller than Niagara), but never-ending. The falls and the mist also create a tropical rainforest on steroids for plant and animal life. This is especially true for butterflies. If you have ever been to one of those butterfly gardens where they have butterflies everywhere, imagine that you increase that butterfly density by about 10x and the number of butterfly types by about 100x and you have the top of Iguacu Falls. I have dramatically cut down the pictures here, but Tara was ready to kill me for trying to take pictures of every single type of butterfly.

Now, to the pictures:

You can visit the falls from both Brazil and Argentina (they are right on the border). We did both, but if you ever visit, I don't really see a reason to spend the money on the Brazil side. The Argentina side is much better. Here is a shot from Brazil, though, which does have a couple nice panaromic viewpoints.

A shot of a completely different section of the falls from Brazil. Everytime you think you have seen them all, you walk around a curve in the path and see more.

Regular readers know that I really like lizards. This lizard gets a gold star for sitting perfectly still while I took his picture. He was close to three feet long.

The lighting isn't great in this shot, but I thought Tara would like it if I included a shot of the two of us. This is in front of part of what is known as "the Devil's Throat". I forgot my barrel, or I would have definitely gone over in one.

I took this picture as a joke, but then we realized that squirrels are rare in most of South America and many of the visitors were genuinely amazed at this crazy creature. We were hiking a trail and these South Americans stopped us to point out the squirrel. They seemed surprised when we laughed and kept walking.

And the butterflies begin. They were everywhere. At times it was like a butterfly storm. If Alfred Hitchcock were still alive, he could write a movie called "Butterflies" about them. I won't pretend to know what kind any of them are. Here's the first. I'm naming it Autumn Gold.

This one is going to be called Orangy Spots on Blue-Violet Wings.

What do butterflies attract? Birds. What are harder to photograph than butterflies? Birds. But I got a few shots. These are common at the falls. I suggest that New York try to replace their pigeons with them. People would be much happier.

I really like pictures of fungus. It is colorful, doesn't move, and doesn't get enough respect. Here is the best from the Falls.

Let's call this guy Electric Blue Death Machine. Sounds more ferocious than Electric Blue Butterfly.

This one was tiny. Thus, I have dubbed him Blue Runt. I think the other butterflies were laughing at him.

A lot of butterflies landed on both me and my backpack. Maybe because they are everywhere and explore everything, or maybe because my diet consists mostly of sugar and they like the taste of me. This one sat on my finger for a good 5 minutes. Let's call him Tigger. He can't bounce, but the colors are right.

Calling this one Saran Wrap since you can actually see through its wings. These were also huge. The biggest butterflies we saw in the park.

We shared a taxi to the Argentine side of the park with a British couple on vacation. They were upset that they had not seen a toucan, and we hadn't seen any close. Then, Tara spotted this one in a tree right above us. Unfortunately, the Brits weren't around, but he was a huge toucan. I asked, but he refused to share his Froot Loops.

If you eat enough of those blue butterflies, you turn blue. That is what happened to this bird.

This one looks like it might actually be a moth. Not sure. It liked me as well. I'll call him Big Blue.

A picture of the some of the falls from the Argentina side.Tough to see, but on the left half there is a small, circular drop off before it falls again. This is the heart of the "Devil's Throat" and presumably the most painful part if you accidentally fell into the river.

We hiked to a small falls where we could swim. On the hike back, we spotted this yellow headed woodpecker. He moved fast, and this is probably the best picture I have. Neither of us had ever seen one, so I thought I should share.

This vulture was just sitting on the road waiting for something to die. They are about the size of a hawk and I don't know what this one was doing since I didn't see any dead animals.

Instead of raccoons, they have an animal called the coatimundi. Like raccoons, they can be aggressive for food. They dig through the trash and come to places where people eat. They are good at grabbing chips from people's hands. These were marching towards us as though they would eat us. They just needed to cross, though.

One last comment. I almost called this post "Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink". It is amazing that among this much water, they have no waterfountains. Restrooms every 10 feet, but you have to buy water if you want (not drinkable straight from the tap). We don't take our water filter on day trips like this. So, if you visit the falls, take plenty of water or be prepared to overpay for it.


  1. Ha! That's funny about the squirrels--one of my friends' family is Portuguese and she told me whenever her cousins who live in Brazil have visited, they go nuts over all the squirrels in Central Park.

  2. Loving the butterfly names - Andy, I think you have missed your calling...

  3. What's your favorite palace so far?

  4. liken the butterfly names andy

  5. what was your werdist animal you saw.

  6. Shyana, we get this question a lot. We have seen many really great places. Most recently, Iguacu Falls was terrific and Ushuaia (the southernmost city in the world) is beautiful. And thanks for the compliment.

    Tanner, the weirdest animal was probably the coatimundi at Iguacu Falls. They look really funny. I also really like the guanacos (like a llama) which are very big and also look funny.

    Thanks for your questions!

  7. Andy, you are quite the butterfly comedian! I've never laughed that hard at butterfly humor in my life. Well...I guess this is probably the first butterfly humor I've heard, but still...

    Miss you!