Three countries, one big waterfall

Trip Start Nov 20, 2007
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Trip End May 12, 2008


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Monday, February 11, 2008

Our next leg of the journey was to visit Iguazu falls, a massive waterfall that is half in Brazil and half in Argentina. We were told that it was worth seeing the falls from both countries so that is what we did.

We first stayed in the Brazilian town called Foz do Iguazu. Frankly there was not much to do here apart from visit the falls and eat in more self-service ice-cream places (including the amazing "Office of Ice-cream") and go crazy in an eat as much as you like pizza place. We felt totally disgusted with ourselves after that one but when youīve eaten as much as you can and they then bring around dessert pizzas (like chocolate, strawberry and banana) and then tell you there is also eat as much as you want ice-cream afterwards, you just have to break through the pain barrier and keep going! The main attraction of course was the waterfall itself which were immense, at a guess a similar size to Niagara. The most spectacular bit was the Garguant del Diablo (Devil`s Throat) - where you can stand near the bottom of and get deafened and very wet!

Foz do Iguazu is also very close to the Paraguay, just a small walk over a bridge in fact, and so we thought we might as well have a day in Paraguay to see what it was like and have a break from the waterfall. The first strange thing was the very slack border control. Most people just walked over the bridge but being good citizens we hunted down the Brazilian immigration (and it really was a search) and whilst they went through the motions of stamping our passport etc. the Paraguayian side simply shrugged their shoulders saying "we donīt really care what youīre doing!" The town we went to was called Ciudad Del Este, an incredibly busy, bustling town which has the largest collection of electronic shops and market stalls youīll ever see. You couldnīt walk for more than 5 seconds without someone asking you if you wanted to buy a camera, ipod, pirate cdīs/dvdīs etc. People were coming over with massive empty bags and were walking back over to Brazil with as much stuff as they could possibly carry - very amusing! But thatīs not all, Paraguay also has the worldīs largest dam which was close by. So we hopped on quite a scary bus to take a look. On the site of the dam used to be a waterfall bigger than Iguazu but they used the site, controversially taking out large amounts of rainforest, to create the dam that supplies virtually all of Paraguays energy and around 20% of Brazilīs. We have to admit we didnīt understand much of the tour (hydroelectricity is hard enough to understand in English yet alone Spanish) and whilst the dam was big, itīs never really going to look pretty. So we walked back into Brazil (along with hundreds of human cart-horses after their shopping trips) after our interesting, sometimes scary day in Paraguay.

We then made the short bus ride from Brazil over the border into Argentina to see the Argentinian side of the falls. The town we stayed at was called Puerto Iguazu, and from our first meal there we knew were going to like Argentina a lot! We had a parilla (an Argentinian barbeque) for 2 people which comes to your table on a grill over coals and had loads of steak, sausages, chicken, pork and unidentifiable squiggly things that we left! It was all delicious although we didnīt come close to finishing any of it. All this plus starters, desserts and beers for less than 10 pounds between us!

It was then back to the waterfall to see it from the Argentinian side. Here we got to see the Devils Throat from the top and went on a boat to the bottom of some of the larger falls. The boat ride was great fun and the view looking up at the falls was amazing for about two seconds before the water came crashing over us, absolutely soaking us from head to foot! Great fun, and what a romantic way to spend Valentines Day (err...kind of!).

After seeing Iguazu falls from both sides, and our interesting day in Paraguay we continued to travel south on yet another mammoth bus ride to Buenos Aires.
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