Iguazu, Iguacu or Iguassu?

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Oct 19, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We decided, as advised by many guidebooks, to dedicate a whole day to each side of the falls (Argentine and Brazilian). Due to border regulations for crossing into Argentina, we decided to spend the first day on this side. Despite having the option of a guided tour, which would include taking us across the border crossing, we decided to DIY it. In hindsight, this was probably not the best decision as crossing the border and dealing with immigration proved to be much more hassle than we had expected. The phrase “Should’ve done the tour” was inevitably used a lot of times that day.

(Apologies in advance for this paragraph, as it may sound like a combination of Lonely
Planet meets David Attenbrough)

It was all worth it in the end though, as the falls took our breath away. The power, size and sheer noise of the falls have to be experienced to be believed. A total of 275 individual falls occupy an area more than 3km wide, 80m high, which makes them wider than Victoria, higher than Niagara and more beautiful than either. In our experience we found that the Argentine side offered a much more up close and personal experience, allowing us to truly appreciate the sheer power and size of one of the "7 Natural Wonders of the World.” The highlight of the Argentine side was definitely “Garganta del Diablo” meaning “Devil’s Throat.” This is approached via a lengthy set of bridges across the Rio Iguazu. Finally, yes Bryony, it is a real rainbow, and no, you can’t really swim in the falls.

What was such a great day, however, could have gone very wrong (for Mason.) After crossing the border and arriving at the Puerto Iguazu bus terminal with no Argentine Peso’s to our name, we were glad that the woman at the bus terminal agreed to sell us our bus tickets to the falls as well as providing us with the Peso’s necessary for entrance to the park. However, upon arrival at the park entrance, Mason realised he had in fact, no Pesos and had been “Real Hustled”. After a generous donation and a pointless purchase to get change
in Pesos, he/we eventually managed to scrape together the 85 Pesos required for entry. Resigned to the fact that the money was gone, but still willing to give it a go, Mason asked for his money back, once we arrived back at Puerto Iguazu bus station. Surprisingly he was fully reimbursed and was still happy despite being doubly conned by exchange rates.

After quite a tiring day, trailing behind Argentine OAPs, all of us needed a slap up meal. As we were back in Brazil for the evening, we decided that this time we would splash out (6) on the traditional Churrascaria. Having various cuts of delicious meat (minus the chicken hearts) delivered to your table on a hot skewer over and over again was our idea of heaven. Having them delivered by a creepy Brazilian man was not.

The next day we had the easier task of visiting the Brazilian side of the falls. After seeing what the Argentine side had to offer, we doubted whether the Brazilian side would be able to match it. We were pleasantly surprised by the more panoramic view of the scenery we had
seen the previous day, as well as the unexpected chance to practically walk under the falls, getting wetter than you would in most Brazilian showers. The Coati, a native South American creature, ran amok throughout the park scavenging food, and even trying to steal a tourist’s camera from his table! The Oriental enthusiasm for photography also got in our way many times during the day.

In summary of this ridiculously long blog, Iguazu Falls is an amazing place, worthy of its status as a natural wonder of the world..... but you probably didn’t need us to tell you that!

Next up The Pantanal!

See you in Hanoi!
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