Untamed Americas | Coatis at Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls spectacular views in Argentina

As I stood at the front of the line waiting to enter Iguazu Falls I was feeling a sense of sheer exuberance.  The day before I had set foot in this wonderful treasure of a National Park around noon.  It was literally packed and I found myself fighting for elbow space at many of the most popular lookout vantage points.  Today my efforts to enter the park early were about to be rewarded.  As the gate opened only a few others entered the friendly confines before me.

Most make a beeline for the Devil’s Throat for a spectacular and intimate panorama of the falls mightily crashing down.  I on the other hand, chose to head in the opposite direction.  I noticed as I was wandering about that I did not have any company with me.  It was like I was on my own private tour.  It was simply brilliant.  I marvelled as I took in the spectacular scenery uniterupted with all of my senses dazzled in an unfamiliar manner.

Iguazu Falls slow shutter speed

I noticed a particular vantage point that was truly breathtaking and I pulled out my tripod from my case.  I meticulously tinkered with my camera settings to boost the saturation levels, sharpness and exposure to hopefully obtain the ‘perfect’ shot’; however, I soon realized I was no longer alone.  My camera bag that was placed haphazardly on a nearby park bench was now the object of affection from a pack of strange looking animals that vaguely resembled raccoons.

Coatis on the move - Iguazu Falls, Argentina

My heart began to race as I felt a sense of potential danger being surrounded by a pack of wild animals.  It would have made sense for me to retreat but my instincts thrust me towards the animals in an attempt to rescue my bag.  My attempt to secure my bag was ‘oddly’ successful but the curious and inquisitive creatures stuck around to observe me a little longer.  I marvelled at their distinct faces and long stripy tails.  Finally they sauntered off together walking along a pedestrian railing in a sequenced orderly fashion.

Coatis walking along the railing

It was an encounter I’ll never forget.  I was half terrified and half mesmerized.  To encounter wildlife I had never seen before in such an intimate manner was truly a momentous and unique moment; however, I also realized it could have potentially been dangerous.

National Geographic Untamed Americas

National Geographic is launching a brand new mini series “Untamed Americas” debuting June 10th and 11th at 9PM et/pt on Nat Geo channel.  The series showcases the rugged beauty found in the Americas emphasizing wildlife spectacles amidst stunning scenery.  Narrated by Academy Award nominated actor Josh Brolin, the high definition footage celebrates the incredible landscape and wildlife in the Americas while encouraging others explore their own backyard.

Untamed Forests of the Americas

For more information be sure to check out the following links where you can learn more information regarding the series and potentially win some amazing prizes:

Website:  www.natgeotv.com/untamedamericas

What other Travel Bloggers are saying about untamed experiences in the Americas

Instagram Contest:  http://tvblogs.nationalgeographic.com/2012/05/04/instagram-contest-show-us-your-untamed-americas-and-win/

Video Clips:  http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/national-geographic-channel/specials-1/untamed-americas/

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  1. says: Tiffany

    Hey Sam! What beautiful pictures of the falls. I am just about to post on Iguazu Falls animals, did a google search to see what other people were posting and you popped up! As always, love your stuff! 🙂

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  10. says: Germo Bailey

    What a great and scary experience. I would have left the bag and slowly backed away with my heart in my mouth, but that’s just me. However, I don’t think they posed any danger; if they did, am sure there would have been signs in the park warning visitors of the threats. Thanks for sharing this story with the rest of us who live vicariously through others like you.

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  15. says: Chrystal McKay

    If only my experiences with Coatis were positive. I was attacked by them at Iguazu. They wanted my breakfast. I didn’t want to give it up. I was hungry you see. 30 or so started jumping at my breakfast. I could feel the hunger in their little beady eyes. So I squealed like the girl I am and ran away.

  16. says: Arianwen

    This looks amazing – good thing I’m heading there later this year! Your wildlife experience reminds me of having my lunch stolen by raccoons on a beach in Costa Rica. I also saw a coati fall out of a tree on that same trip. It looked so stunned and I really wish I’d caught it on camera!

  17. says: Tammy

    Wow…I love the way the details showed up on your pictures. Nice shots! I am learning photography at the moment and would love to have your technique. When I was in Iguazu, I don’t even owned a proper camera and even if I did, it will probably got screwed up by the water when I got close to the FALL. You are good. Luckily I only need to capture NON-moving FASHION objects around the world. Great blog.
    Cheers.

    1. Thanks Tammy!

      It was tricky to capture the falls given the amount of water and mist. I find the best thing one can do it go early in the morning and head in the opposite direction of the crowds.

  18. says: Jeffery Alden

    The Coatis are beautiful and the water fall is mind blowing. I want to take a tour at Iguazu Falls, Argentina to see the coatis and the amazing water falls.

  19. says: Mark Wiens

    I don’t remember seeing any coatis when I was at Iguazu Falls a number of years ago, but I also choose to get off the main trail and found some great places to watch the falls from peace and quiet – amazing place and awesome photos man!

  20. says: Tristan

    Since I haven’t been to Iguazu Falls yet, I guess I will have to content myself with watching Untamed Americas.

    How I wish I can be there in the near future.

  21. says: Sam

    They do seem to move in a pack. Like a raccoon, but the tail and how they keep together makes me think of a pack of monkeys. I understand they’re called coati’s.

  22. says: Ahrria

    What a great set of photos you have posted here for us.. Anyway, thanks a lot! I am sure a lot of people would really love to share this too..

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    1. Thanks Cal! I was using a neutral density filter to help block out light and given the water a smooth kind of blurred effect. I remember shooting with as flow of a shutter speed as I possibly could in TV mode with a tripod.

  24. says: Laurence

    The waterfall shots are awesome, but the Coatis pictures steal the show for me. Love that chap peering off the railing. Clearly not a crowd follower 😉

  25. says: Andrew

    The animals are pretty cool. Iguazu is definitely on my list, especially as I have seen all of my wife’s pictures from her time there too.

    Isn’t it great when you can get into a park early enough to avoid the tourists for a bit.

    1. Oh it sure is Andrew! I’ve often found that I enjoy going to a famous attraction or park more than once to kind of scope it out and figure out a way to avoid the masses.

  26. says: Andrea

    Ugh – I was so grumpy with them when we were there. People kept feeding them in the eating area and they were obnoxious and ruining our lunch. You really can’t leave anything around or they come in droves.

  27. says: Ruth

    Coatis are so cute. I once saw a bunch of them eating fruit in the jungle. But you encountered an unique opportunity to take a great shot. Wow!!!