Three Countries In A Day.
Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
402Trip End Dec 31, 2013
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Where I stayed
Che Legarto Hostel, Puerto Iguaco Argentina
The amazing world class attraction of Iguazu falls is quite unique in that it divides and creates the borders of three countries, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Due to this it is possible to do a day trip that places you in three countries in one day. It is also the reason for several spellings for the falls Iguazu, Iguacu and Iguassu depending on the country you come from.
We arrived in Puerto Iguazu Argentina, tired from our 20 hour bus journey but keen to sort out what we could do to best use our time. We were looking at the ticketing booths at the bus station (pre planning our onward journey to the Pantanal area of Brazil via Campo Grande) before we had even gone to our hostel, when a charming man named Fernando with very good English, popped out of a tour office and engaged us in conversation
We walked to our hostel and checked in, showered and felt immediately human again. A 20 hour bus ride can be quite successfully washed away in the shower. Truly! We went back to see Fernando and booked the three countries tour for the next day and a "green pass" for the Argentinian side of the falls the following day, which allowed us to pretty much do all the activities. We were able to pay on visa with no extra charges which is a bit of a rarity and sealed the sale.
Our tour picked up us two, very tired travelers, at 7.20 am after a band in the café opposite our hostel played bad music until 4 am (the drummer seemed to think every song required him to do a loud solo), keeping us from our sleep. As is usually the case we drove around picking up other starters from other hostels until the bus was full, it was then off to the border between Brazil and Argentina. (Leave Argentina, enter Brazil knowing we have to do it all again - and again)
Having been lucky enough to have visited both Niagara and Victoria Falls, we are able to say Iguacu surpasses them big time. The setting is gorgeous. Green luxuriant jungle surrounds, with colourful butterflies and birds flitting and flying around us, as we walk along the paths and boardwalks showing the falls off to their best. Many butterflies land on us. We are told that they are attracted to the minerals in human sweat and there is plenty of that given the very high humidity and jungle setting.
Although it was crowded and we were on a reasonably short time frame due to the other places to visit on our tour, we got to see an amazing panorama before us and were so pleased we visited this side of the falls. Many people only see it from the Argentina side.
A fabulous buffet lunch was next on our tour agenda then it was off the Brazil Paraguay border and a tour of the amazing Itaipu Dam project
Last item for the day was to be shopping in Paraguay which of course is not our favourite thing! Apparently Argentinians and Brazilians love to go there for cheap duty free shopping but nothing appealed to us - other than watching some street urchins have a bit of a fight over territory for cleaning car windscreens! We found the border city of Cuidad Del Este rather dirty, unkempt, and unappealing. After a long day it was back to our hostel, hoping for a better nights sleep than the night before.
Footnote: Iguacu National Park is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
TRAVEL NOTE: We booked the bus trip from Retiro BA to PTO Iguazu Semi Cama Executive to leave at 18.55 pm and arrive 11.30 am. The bus was booked at the Tigre Iguazu booth, but the bus was actually a Via Barriloche bus. They will talk up the belief that with executive, you can have all the wine, spirits, champers that you want, in reality we were offered one small bottle of red wine each and to get a drink of water was difficult.