Southern Cross - The Falls

Trip Start Jul 30, 2010
Trip End May 29, 2011

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Parana,
Monday, May 9, 2011

"Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it."

Lao Tzu, Chinese Taoist Philosopher

Normally GAP Adventures is pretty good at putting together an itinerary; we've had few complaints on all the trips we’ve done with them over the last 9 months or so but this wasn’t the case with our tour to the Iguaçu Falls (or Iguassu or Iguaz). 

After some discussion with the hotel back in Bonito the hotel management finally agreed that check-out time was (and as was published in each room and reception) was midday and not 10am. This still meant we had 7 hours to kill before our 12hr minibus drive to Foz do Iguaçu. And so we had a long leisurely lunch then sat watching the Fiats roll past from the park with a statue of two giant leaping Salmon before going back to the hotel and hung around until our minibus arrived to take us on our lovely, sleepless, uncomfortable journey to south-eastwards across Brazil to Foz do Iguaçu. So we basically had a wasted day when instead of hanging around Bonito we could have had an early bus to Iguassu where we could have checked in to our hotel and had some decent sleep.

Still we arrived safely enough and after being allowed a shower before we had checked in we jumped in to a fresh minibus and sprinted off to the Brazilian side of the Iguaçu National Park. There we walked along the 1.2km 'Path of the Falls’ which finished off at Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat). 

From the Brazilian side the initial impression of the falls isn’t overwhelming. From path the scale of the falls isn’t apparent since you’re quite some distance from the sound and the power generated. It’s really only towards the end of the trail, at the mouth of the falls that the sheer amazing magnitude becomes obvious. On the walkways you can walk out into the mist and spray from the falls. You can also take photos – tho’ not that many before your camera lens is covered in water. Darting in and out of the mist are hundreds of swifts. Somewhat slower are the butterflies that are everywhere, and which if you’re still enough for a few moments will land on you in search of moisture and salt.

The next day we did a day-trip to Argentina – another stamp in an increasingly crowded passport – to view the falls from the other side. It was a brilliant day. The Argentine side had more walkways and treks and its best walkway out over the Garganta del Diablo was extraordinary. We stood over the mouth of this huge waterfall, or rather waterfalls, as enough water to fill 36 Olympic sized-swimming pools every second thundered past beneath us. The mist quickly soaked us but as the weather was good and we dried off quickly.

As if one extra country wasn’t enough the day after the trip to Argentina was followed by a quick visit to Paraguay which was nothing more than a visit to some Duty-Free shops. Actually it was more like a visit to a mix of an upmarket Argos and a Spanish-speaking version of Tottenham Court Rd. And there were discounts to be had especially if you were willing to pay in cash. But given I wasn’t happy to walk about with a large wad of dollars I wasn’t able to buy myself a new camera.  I’m not really sure if it really counted as a visit to another country; we didn’t get any stamps in our passports – the border crossing is way too busy for the authorities to be bothered with those sort of formalities – and we didn’t get to see any of Paraguay, just a bunch of shops and market stalls. It’s not much different to visiting Calais to buy some vino.

Back in Brazil we readied ourselves for the drive to Paraty. This was a gruelling 15hr drive to Sau Paulo followed by a 5hr drive to Paraty. Well, this was at least the plan but this being Brazil it didn’t quite work out that way.

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Simon Sandford-Taylor on

Hi again, are you now at the point when you look back amazed by all the things you've seen and done in the last year? I am amazed at the fact that I have been following this now for a year and how little has changed here but you have seen areas of the world that I didn't even know existed.

Enjoy the rest of your trip


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