The Iguazu Falls

Trip Start Jun 15, 2012
Trip End Dec 20, 2012

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Parana,
Friday, June 22, 2012

The 7 hour bus from Paraty to Sao Paulo wasn't as bad as we were imagining. The seats were much wider and softer than those on airlines and they reclined 160 degrees - the journey went by quite quickly. Though Sally was feeling a bit ill so slept a lot of the way, getting out at the 2 30min stops for fresh air and a stretch of the legs while admiring the Brazilian countryside.

We arrived into the bustling Sao Paulo bus station around 7pm and were swiftly ushered into taxis heading straight for the airport. Alberto managed to get us on flights to Foz do Iguacu instead of an overnight bus - score! It was rush hour so the journey to the airport took a lot longer than imagined but it meant we go to take in the night time view of the city. Wish we could have spent a little time in Sao Paulo to see the sights, such as Sennas grave and the F1 track! Ah well! The airport was also amazingly busy so we queued for well over an hour to check into our flight - we passed the time people watching! Dinner was a shared Pizza Hut - after travel ling the whole day and most of us not feeling 100% some greasy commercial food hit the spot!
Our flight was delayed so we didn't take off until after midnight - safe to say we slept for most the flight, apart from being woken for juice and some crackers. So the flight went by quite quickly! We landed in Foz do Iguasu around 2am and were greeted by Eduardo - our tour guide around this area for the next 2 days - who took us straight to the hotel. The hotel is the most modern we've stayed in so far. We checked in, dumped our bags and went straight to sleep.

The next morning we woke up and had breakfast in the hotel - were too tired to explore the town for food. Sally made it her mission to sample all the cakes on offer (around 8) - getting her monies worth she said!!
Our guide Eduardo collected us and we set off for the Iguazu Falls. Just before we entered the National Park we were offered with the opportunity to view the falls by air - from a helicopter. It took a bit of umming and ahhing but we decided to go for it - why not, we'll never be here again! It was a brilliant experience, the national park went on for miles and the falls look like a forest fire when you first get into the air. Sally was chosen as co-pilot and got to sit in the front of the helicopter - an experience she'll remember for a long time. It was well worth the money! The Falls were impressive and the helicopter ride brilliant!
Once back on the ground we entered the Parque Nacional do Iguacu - the Brazilian side of the falls. We walked the 1.2km trail around the falls - seeing the impressive Argentinian side and all the various animals and insects which inhabit the park. We then took the trail which went right over the falls and into them! The Devil's Throat 90 meters high soaked us all and provided amazing views and experiences of the power of the falls.
All throughout the park you have to be aware of Quatis - raccoons that have a nasty tendency to bite and attack tourists lunches!

That night we had dinner at a traditional Brazilian family restaurant which was quite when we first arrived but there wasn't a spare table when we left! Sally struggled a bit for the first time since we left the UK for food - ended up having bean soup and chips! Adam had a selection of local Brazilian cuisine with the other boys - as well as a lot of juice between us all. A couple of beers and caiprinia's saw the end of the night off in style. The live entertainment in the restaurant was a singer with his guitar - a mixture of Bono and George Michael in Sally's opinion. Conversation over dinner also turned to the Brazilian toilet seats which are hollow and make a 'pfffff' of air as you sit on them - apparently only in Brazil, no where else in South America.

The next morning we were up early as we were crossing the border to see the Argentinian side of the falls - the most impressive as everyone kept telling us. There were many more trails on this side and much more opportunity to get closer to the falls. We trekked around 7km in all winding in and out of the falls and the views they were offering. We all then took up the option of the boat ride into the falls. Started with a 30min 4x4 trek through the national park where we saw Capuchin monkeys swinging in the trees and the tracks of a Tapir. We reaching the dock with the speed boats and were kitted out with life-jackets and waterproofs bags for all our stuff - all this while being surrounded by hundreds of butterflies - all different colours and sizes flying and landing on us! The speed boat was brilliant - a completely different way of seeing the falls. The boat gave us 10 mins to take pictures of the falls, then told us to put everything away and proceeded to take us to within 7 meters of the falls - we all got soaked but what an experience. Such up close views of the falls and their power falling into the river - amazing! Plus we were fully kitted out in our waterproofs so we were fine!

We decided not to go around the bird and insect place on the way out of the falls - it had been a long day and 2 hours of birds and insects wasn't tickling us. Instead we came back to the hotel and tried to find the football on somewhere - but no luck. Brazilian TV isn't interested in Euro 2012 - so through the power of Skype we caught extra time and penalties from 32 Graham Park Road! That night we had dinner at a Thai restaurant - a break from the heavily meat and cheese featured Brazilian diet! Plus they were showing highlights (not so many) of the England game - so the guys were great company during those 20mins!

All in all the Iguazu Falls are amazing - they're 100% natural which puts them ahead of Niagra Falls. But they are an awesome sight to see and to experience - the power of nature!

Tomorrow we will take a day tour to Paraguay, then an overnight bus to Concordia, where we will then be collect by a Gaucho and taken to his ranch for 3 days. No electricity & lots of riding horses and looking after animals - this will be something completely different!
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