The start of Argentina
21.02.2010 - 23.02.2010 36 °C
Iguacu Falls are on the Argentine and Brazil border. We approached on the 16 hour bus from Sao Paulo so arrived into Foz do Iguacu which is on the Brazil side of the falls. We had booked into a hostel on the Argentine side of the falls as we flew out of the airport on that side two days later. After 9 hours sleep on the bus and having to wake Sarah up to get her off the bus (one of her best sleeps since arriving) we did not feel too bad, but unpaved roads on the bus during the night did break the sleep up for Sarah a bit, rattle rattle rattle.
A quick bus into the local bus terminal then a wait for the bus that crossed the border and we were on our way. We read in the guide book that if you are just crossing the border for a day there is no need to go through Brazilian passport control on the way out - which was good, as the bus did not wait at the Brazilian boarder and you had to wait another 40 mins for then next one ...so, we decided to risk it. The plan was to come back to Brazil two hours later after checking in and getting rid of the bags.
So a shower and check in complete back on the bus. Passport control were none too happy that we had decided not to enter Argentina and less impressed on the Brazil side that we had not left. But in the end they just waved us through and said on the way back do it properly. Luckily, a little strategically, we were on a tour bus at this stage which waited at the passport control.
So the Brazil side of the falls is just an overview. You look across the river at the falls mainly.
They are massive, bigger than Niagra- see photo below for stats!!!
They just keep on going- very wide and very amazing. So we walked the path, seeing lots of Coatis, little possom, bandicoot type creatures, one chased Sarah for a little bit.
Then got to the end of the path that had a small walkway out into the middle of the river where you could stand in the mist of one of the major falls. It was pretty amazing.
Then up the tower to the to of those falls. Sarah struggled with the grated floor on the observation deck but we managed a couple of photos. Back ont he bus and through passport control for the 3rd time! properly with little fuss.
We also visited the Tres Fronteras - the point where the 3 borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. it´s a view out over the river, but you see the 3 painted pillars of each - a bit hard to get in one photo (in fact impossible without a helicopter) - but I am sure you get the idea.
Dinner that night was the first search for a Argentine slab of meat. We found a nice restaurant and ordered a few beers and abottle of red- lots of Malbec- and then decided on the special cut of meat- Matambre- lower back bit of cow. Unfortunatley not a big slab of red meat but nice all the same.
Next day was the Argentine side of the falls. There was a gas powered train that took you into the park and a superior and inferior walk, one at the top of the falls and one at the bottom respectively. This gave a much closer view of the actual falls and complimented the overview we saw the day before.
At the bottom of the inferior walk we got on a boat and did a little trip out to the bottom of the fallls. Once lap for a look and photos and the next we were told to put the cameras away. As we had been told it was like being in a shower we had prepared- Sarah in bikini and shorts, and me in my shorts only, both with thongs. Shoes and other clothes, bag etc in dry bags provided. We were at the front of the boat so on the second loop around the falls the driver pushed the boat into the mist of the falls and it is fair to say it was not a shower- more a bath- it felt like someone was throwing buckets of water on your head.
I am sure we were no where near the actual bottom of the falls but given I could not see due to having to cover my eyes as the spray hurt even with them closed it was hard to tell- but it felt like we were under the full force.
Out of the boat- small walk up the path dripping wet and a seat on a rock to dry off and have some lunch- getting good at rolls and cheese. Pretty scenic spot for lunch too.
We then walked back to the train, and on the way saw a Toucan flying overhead. They do look pretty amazing and we are both looking forweard to seeing more. We then caught the the train into the centre piece of the park. There is a grated raised pathway that is 1.2km out across the water out to the top of the main water fall. We walked out it and stood right atthe top of the biggest water fall of the lot. It was absolutely amazing.
The old pathway which was noticably higher than the existing one was washed away in the floods of 1992- it is amazing to think how much water must have been going over the falls at that time ifthe water level at the top was 2 or so metreshigher than it weas the day we were out there.
So after and amazing journey to the falls it was back to the hostel and the search for the meat continued. Sarah had read that the town had soem of the best restaurants in Argentina and there as one that came highly reccomended. So off we headed. It is also important to note that as usual I am looking for dinner at around 6pm- stretchingout to 7pm if pushed. Given this we are waiting at doors of restaurants for them to open, or at best eating in an empty room, but the advanatge is great service- five waiters on hand with nothing else to do. By the time we finish the restaurant is normally buzzing. So the meat ont his night was spot on- 500g of meat cooked to perfection on a grill at the front of the restaurant and served on a hot grill at the table. Sarah had ribs which I also managed to get a fair chunk of.
A ten minute chat with two Dutch men who sat next to us at the end of dinner was about the longest we have spoken tro anyone else since starting the trip- they had just come form the south of Argentina and had some good advice on things to see.
The next mornign revolved around preparing to get to the airport to fly out to Buenes Aires where we will meet with Sarah´s parents and their friends who are just finishing a three week holiday and where the next installment will come from.