A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Paseo Luna Llena


When we walked through the gate of the Parque Nacional Iguazu the first thing we saw was a set of posters advertising the Paseo Luna Llena, a full moon walk over Iguazu Falls.

The walk is held only four nights a month, and we all recognized the rare opportunity to see one of the world’s natural wonders by the light of the moon. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

We signed up on the spot, then set off to explore the falls in the daylight.

The Argentine park is very well organized with an excellent trail system that brings you within a dozen feet of several of the 270 different falls that combine to make Iguazu.




And while Iguazu may not be the tallest set of water falls in the world (that would Angel Falls in Venezuela) and they may not be the biggest by volume (see Victoria Falls in Zambia), they are breathtaking.  The falls are magnetic; it’s hard to stop looking at them.

When the trails bring you close to the falls, you don’t see them so much as experience them.  The wind whipped up by the water.  The soaking spray.  The deafening roar.  At close range they engage all five senses.


When the crowds began to build just after lunch, we retreated to the Hotel Riotropic for a siesta.  A little rest was in order if we were going to be out watching waterfalls at midnight.

We returned to the park after dark, for an incredibly ordinary dinner — and an extraordinary night.

Around 9:30 pm a guide came to the park restaurant to pick up the tour group.  A thunderstorm had swept through the area, briefly calling into question whether we’d be able to do the walk at all.

But as we exited the restaurant, the skies were clear, the night was cool and the moon was rising.

We boarded the train that connects the different parts of the park and rode about three miles into the jungle, to the Estacion Garganta del Diablo.  We disembarked and began a mile walk on a metal catwalk through the jungle and over the Rio Iguazu to The Devil’s Throat.

Garganta del Diablo (The Devil’s Throat) forms the core of the falls.  It’s a powerhouse display of natural forces in which nearly half a million gallons of water per second pour over a 2 mile semicircle of rock into the river canyon 230 feet below.

The jungle, the river and the catwalk glowed in the moonlight.  There were no other lights.

We followed the catwalk to a small viewing platform that extended directly over the sheer drop of water hurtling through the horseshoe formation that is the Devil’s Throat.

The water crashed over the edge, plunging into an opaque whiteness.  It was impossible to distinguish water from mist from rock.  It was magical.

iguazu luna

I have been obsessed with full moons for more than a decade, ever since I read these lines in The Sheltering Sky:

…We think of life as an inexhaustible well… Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really… How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty… And yet it all seems so limitless.”

I don’t know how many more full moons I will see; none of us do.  But no matter how many I do see, this one I will never forget.

Our pictures from Iguazu Falls are here.


1 BaltimoreJen { 10.22.08 at 6:32 pm }

I have been dreaming of my own family’s RTW trip since my children were born. I have 6 more years to go. In the meantime, I am reading your blog and keeping notes. Buenos Aires has always been one of my favorite cities but now I have to add this moonlit excursion. It sounds like a fairytale. Can’t wait to read more!

2 Jamie { 10.23.08 at 1:24 am }

Wow, this post gives me chills! I was wondering if it was too wet to take pictures. Guess I’ll click over and check it out.

3 Mark H { 10.23.08 at 8:13 pm }

I think Iguazu is one of the most magical sights I’ve ever seen – certainly the pinnac le of waterfalls. Under moon-light, it must be extra special.

4 molly { 10.30.08 at 5:16 pm }

that sounds amazing!

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