Falling for Iguazu

Trip Start Sep 22, 2012
Trip End Oct 21, 2012

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Where I stayed
Jasy Hotel Puerto Iguazu
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Brazil  , State of Parana,
Sunday, September 30, 2012

Day 1

Today we had our first (intentional) early wake up, and prepared to head off to Aeroparque airport for our flight to Iguazu Falls. Buenos Aires was either still sleeping, or stumbling out of a nightclub at this time, so the drive to the airport was a breeze.

Aeroparque, which is mainly used for Domestic flights, is one of the weirdest airports I've seen. It is virtually located on the outskirts of suburbia, next to the river, and the tarmac looks like a jumble of aeroplanes parked willy nilly all over the place. When the aeroplane was taxiing out, it was like an aviation version of the game "Rush Hour ".

When we landed at Puerto Iguazu, the aeroplane wobbled a bit, landed safety, and the whole plane applauded. The airport is pretty small, and is one size larger than a tin shed at the end of a dirt runway. During our transfer ride to our hotel, the whole area seemed to be an abundance of butterflies, which was also a slight shame since they kept splattering against the van's windscreen.

Our hotel, Jasy hotel, is very nice and rated number one of the hotels in the area on Trip Advisor. It was easy to see why when you saw the hotels surrounding! One thing we aren't thrilled about is that need to put your used toilet paper in a bin instead of flushing it, due to the primitive plumbing. Yecch. I've seen this before in Egypt and some parts of Asia, but I still hate it.

Ted and I decided to walk around the town nearby to see what there was. Nothing. It actually came as a relief because the town isn't a hodgepodge of insane touristic activity. There was actually very little open and no traffic on the roads. Everyone must have been at church. We still managed to find an outdoor eatery open selling olives (every store is selling them) and Argentina's staple dish empanadas before heading back.

We were picked up at 2.15pm for our sightseeing tour of the Brazilian side of the Falls. We were in a group of about ten, and crossed the somewhat modest bridge to the border crossing. When Ted and I crossed from Russia to Mongolia, the crossing took six hours. This one took six minutes. Before you knew it, we were in Brazil! Rack up country number 53 for me and 49 for Ted.

We arrived in the town of Cataratas and dismounted the bus, and were then picked up by another bus to start our 1.5 klm walk along the Brazilian side. We all fell over ourselves trying to get a photo of the Falls before getting off the bus, once again forgetting that, chances were, the view was not going to disappear that fast! Sure enough, the further you walked, the better the photo op.

There were creatures running around called the quatis (also known as Brazilian aardvarks, Mexican tejón, hog-nosed coons, pizotes, Panamanian gatosolos, crackoons and snookum bears), which signs in English, Spanish and Portuguese asked you not to feed, mainly because they could carry rabies. Clearly the signs weren't written in Idiot, because there were idiots everywhere doing the exact opposite of what the sign said.

I took probably six times more photos than usual, since it isn't every day you can see one of the 7 wonders of the natural world (according to the sign anyway), but most of them were reserved for the area called the devils throat, which had a walkway that went right to the edge of the Falls, as well as an elevator which took you to the top of an observation tower. Super cool.

Before coming away on this trip, Ted and I wondered whether paying the Brazilian visa fee of $60 per person was going to be worth it, especially since we would only be spending a few hours there. Well, we can turn around now and say it was, otherwise we'd always feel like we only did the half Iguazu.

After all this, we returned to Argentina and our hotel, and Ted thought outdoor dining would be a nice idea. Unfortunately so did the mosquitoes, so hopefully we don't end up with malaria, typhoid and God knows what when we return home!

Even now at 8.30pm, I am yawning so it's probably the early part of the holiday catching up with me. We head to the Argentinian side tomorrow which hopefully, is just as great as the Brazilian side. Truly Ted and I experienced a full Brazilian today.

Day 2

Today was the day when I think I saw one of the most - if not the most - amazing sight today. I've seen Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls and now, Iguazu Falls and I can definitely say the latter was the most amazing. As Eleanor Roosevelt said when she witnessed Iguazu Falls for the first time: "Poor Niagara"!

Our pickup today was at 7.20am, but since we were in bed by 9pm last night, we certainly weren't struggling. Once again we were picked up by a small bus, transferred to a bigger bus, and driven out to the Falls with a larger tour group. I find it so droll how Argentinians walk around carrying a gourd of mate with them, like a cup of coffee from Starbucks.

When we arrived at the park, we were both taken aback at the place. We had expected to be walking along a jungle track, armed with machetes and fighting off wild animals, creepy foliage and evil Nazis before reaching the Falls. The park was actually completely laden out with gift shops, bathrooms, maintained gardens and helpful staff. It was so easy! We then boarded a train to take us on our way, guaranteeing that we we're never walking far.

We then walked about a kilometre across a walkway that was elevated above the water, to reach the part of the waterfall called the devil's throat. All I can say is, WOW! I have never seen a more amazing view in my life so far. It was like standing right before the largest force of nature you could ever experience. It reminded me of a movie special effect. The view of the torrent was completely panoramic and there were hundreds of photo opportunities. I enjoyed them so much I even wet my pants, due to all the spray coming off the Falls. I know I've used heaps of adjectives here but the truth is I need to use capital letters again...WOW!

We had plenty of time to stand and enjoy this spectacle before we continued onto more view points. Even though they were not as grandiose as the devils throat, they were still spectacular. I never thought that one thing could be viewed as amazing from so many different angles. I won't bother going on too much about the view, I'll let the pictures do the talking. Actually, they won't do the Falls any justice either, so maybe you should just VISIT them!

I think Ted and I posed in more photos here than anywhere else which was easier said than done because, just when you had the perfect photo lined up, some idiot would move into the view! We also faced another force of nature today when, standing on one of the higher viewpoints, Ted commented on the storm clouds that seemed to be rolling in. Suddenly out of the blue, a huge storm front blew in, causing half the tour to lose their hats, and knocking over about a dozen children and short Mexican women. I almost thought Ted was going to blow right over the protective barrier! Unfortunately it also meant I got hit by a stray tree branch but I guess that's all part of the experience.

After all this excitement we went for a buffet lunch and several beers in the park's restaurant. Clearly Ted and I were impressive to the Argentinian crowd, because we were even interviewed by some students for a school project. I don't know what the subject of the project was and I think we were too afraid to ask. We then headed towards the exit, conveniently located next to a gift shop, and returned to our hotel.

All in all, another great day.
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