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The Iguazu Falls can roughly be divided into two halves, one side dominated by the San Martin Falls , the other by the Devil’s Throat. In between these two is the Isla San Martin. The island takes some time to reach and its trail is more physically exerting, but offers really stunning views of the Falls, as well as a sandy beach to rest on.
To get to the Isla San Martin, one must descend down the stair case off the lower circuit to a free ferry crossing. These depart every 15 or so minutes and are subject to the river level. Once across to the sandy beach that faces away from the Falls, there is a trail (beginning with approximately 170 stairs, so not for the faint of heart!) that heads towards a series of view points. The most stunning of these faces opposite to the tremendous power of the San Martin waterfall—making it a true highlight of a tour in Iguazu Falls . Standing here overwhelmed by the force of the curtain of falling water directly across, it is difficult to be sure whether the waterfall named the island or vice versa. Look out for the rings of rainbows caused by the falling water, as well as how the falls curve away back towards the upper and lower circuits. Heading back along the trail the other way, one has the opportunity to see the other side’s waterfalls, including the ‘three musketeers’ all the way to the Devil’s Throat and the Falls on the Brazilian side.
Clambering around the rocky island is fun in and of itself. Covered in a permanent mist, accompanied by the endless roar of the Falls, this spot seems cut off from the rest of the world; the perfect spot to pretend to be a character from that iconic movie featuring Iguazu, the Mission .
It is also a great place to do a little wildlife watching, especially the brave trees rooted to the rocks and the unique species of birds that find a home here. Keep a look out for snakes, though!
The trail, though somewhat challenging, is only about 650 meters long—what takes time are the awe inspiring views, combined of course with whatever amount of time one wishes to spend on the beach at the bottom of the island.
Think of opening a picnic, catching some sun, and enjoying being below and surrounded by one of nature’s seven wonders. If in something of a rush to see the whole park, remember that even the rapidest of trips to the island take about two hours. Thought of as the heart of the Falls and even its pearl, this somewhat remote area should no doubt form part of even the shortest tour in Iguazu Falls .