Iguazu - The biggest waterfalls in the world
Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
87Trip End Dec 29, 2008
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Where I stayed
The journey was comfortable enough and we arrived more or less on time at 9.00am the next day. An extra treat on this bus was a game of bingo en route with the prize of a bottle of wine. No, we didn't win.
Arriving early, we had a whole day to have a look around Puerto Iguazu, the town closest to the falls
We were staying at The Marco Polo Inn, a relatively new backpackers hostel close to the main bus station so really convenient for getting to the falls. Sitting on the landing outside the room one evening using the laptop to try and book book some accommodation for the next stage of our trip into Uruguay, I hear a broad Scottish accent say "hello", it is a guy we last met in the kitchen of a hostel in Arica, in northern Chile. A small world yet again.
The next day we set off on the bus to the entrance to the park. We arrive at the entrance at 8.40am, unfortunately, the park doesn't open until 9.00 but this turns out to be good as we are right at the front of the ticket queue. As the opening time approaches we appreciate our early start even more as the tour buses and crowds arrive
Once through the gates there is a scramble as everyone wants to get on the first train to the falls. We decide to go all the way to the end of the track and work our way backwards, taking in two predefined walks that take you closest to the falls. The ride in the open sided train is pleasant enough as we have sunshine and clear blue skies and we ride through hundreds of butterfly's to reach Devils Throat. It is a 1km walk along a boardwalk though trees and over water to catch our first sight of the falls.
The first thing we notice is the noise from the falls which gets louder as we approach along the walkway. The spray also starts and increases, the closer we get and we get our first of many soakings of the day as we stand on the viewing platform. The sight is incredible, indescribable and it it easy to understand Eleanor Roosevelt's comments upon her first sight of Iguazu, "poor Niagara".
As we are now a bit ahead of the crowds we take advantage of this and head back to the train and to our next destination the Upper Circuit walk which takes us very close to the falls. This is followed by the Lower Circuit which, if anything takes us closer still (and even wetter)
The next day we decide to visit the Brazil side of the falls and so get the bus to Foz. We need to change buses on the way which involves being dropped off just after the Brazilian border and crossing the road to get another bus back to the park entrance. On the way we jump off the bus and get stamped out of Argentina. Back on the bus the driver announces that it is not necessary to go through Brazilian immigration if we are staying only a day (so we don't bother).
The entrance to the Brazilian side of the falls is much more impressive than the Argentine side. A big entrance building complete with shops and, instead of trains, it is a series of buses that take us to the falls. It is our first time in Brazil and I have to say our first impressions are very good! The organisation on this side of the falls seems much better and the views are equally impressive - being further away from the falls the viewing platforms provide a much more panoramic view of the falls and are great for taking photographs
Both Argentine and Brazlian sides of the falls are set within a large area of rainforest, which are inhabited by much wildlife. We see many interesting large birds of prey, a massive variety of butterflies and quite few comical racoons scouting around for crumbs left by some of the million or so tourists that visit every year.
After seeing the sights we stop for some lunch in the buffet restaurant in the park and right next to the falls. Good food and a change from Argentine cuisine.
We like Brazil so much that, we go back the following day (with a few hours to spare before catching the next bus out of town) to visit the nearest Brazilian town of Foz to have a look around the town and maybe do some shopping. The goods in the shops (which are open even at siesta time) are much better quality than those found in Puerto Iguazu. Semi-precious stones are amazingly good value. Although this is just another day visit, this time we decide to go through the immigration controls just to get Brazilian stamps in our passports.