2019 - South America - Day 5 - Iguassu
Another early start as we had arranged our taxi to take us to the airport for 7am. The guy at Reception tried to rustle up some breakfast for us before hand as they didn’t open the restaurant until 7am. The cups of tea were very welcome as were the fresh bread rolls.
We were flying out from the Domestic airport and it took us about 15 minutes to get there. Check in was nice and smooth until they told us that the baggage limit was only 18kg. It was annoying we had not been told that in advance but it only cost just over £10 to pay the excess on Karen’s luggage. Needless to say mine was fine. It was a nice airport and all very well organised.
Upon reflection we were happy to be moving on from Buenos Aires. In fact Karen certainly was as she had not felt comfortable there at all for some reason. Mind you she was probably more nervous about the next part of the trip. Buenos Aires is a capital city that is not really geared up for tourists. To be truthful there really isn’t an awful to see. We had done everything we wanted and if we had had another day may have gone on a day trip across the River Plate to Uruguay. The people had been friendly enough but it felt like a city that was still sorting itself out from a troubled past and needed to do that before it could think about overwhelming itself with visitors. Still I was glad we had visited and seen what we had seen but its not high on my list places to revisit.
The flight up to Iguassu was smooth enough on a nice modern plane (take note BA). We arrived into the Argentine airport (there is one each side of the border). It was somewhat bigger than Norwich airport but less busy. I was able to watch through a window our luggage being taken off the plane and driven to the luggage belt which amused me.
This part of the trip was an organised tour and so we were met by a youngish lady holding up a board with our names written on it. She introduced herself as Eliane and she was to be our personal guide for 3 days. This was more than we had anticipated as we thought it was a group tour. Almost immediately though we were bombarded of questions of what we wanted to do and when. We asked to be taken to our Hotel to start with.
Our Hotel was on the Brazilian side of the border. For reasons I still don’t understand we had to make our way into No Mans Land in the middle of the border with our guide in an Argentine taxi from which we were then transferred into our guides own car. Leaving Argentina was straightforward and we got our passports stamped to show we had left. To enter Brazil our guide had to fill in some forms and then park up and walk us to the Immigration kiosk where a chap put a Brazilian stamp into our passports.There was a bit of a queue to get to that point but we were through in about 25 minutes.
From here we drove to the town of Foz du Iguassu to get to our Hotel. Unfortunately our room was not ready (due I think to the company with whom booked this 3 day tour with, telling the Hotel it was our ‘special anniversary’ meaning that we had been allocated a special ‘suite’). Not knowing this at the time, we were quite irritable about the room not being ready as we wanted to change into our walking gear in order to start walking round the falls. So whilst in Reception we had to open our bags, retrieve all we needed and popped into the nearest toilets to change.
We then said we would like a snack or something before we went to the Falls. Rather strangely we were taken to a MacDonalds which left us perplexed as a choice. Even more so when they seemed to have run out of almost everything. We wolfed down a small burger each and drank the only drinks they had (bottles of water) and then made our way in our guides car the Brazilian National Park for the falls. If you go in on your own you have to park up and wait around the entrance for double decker buses to take you to different trails some 12km away. As we had a personal guide she was allowed to use her personal tourism car but had to take a special GPS device to monitor where she was taking us and at what speed.
As we reached the first stopping point our first glimpse of the Falls made all the effort (and worry on Karen's part)to get here so worthwhile. They were breathtaking. Words and pictures cannot do any justice to the sheer majesty of them. They were huge. No make that beyond huge. They make Niagara Falls look like a trickle from a bath tap. Despite the fact it started to rain as we stood there we didn’t care and were speechless. Quite why this isn’t one of the 7 wonders of the world I don’t know. As we walked along the views and vistas got unbelievably better and better.
As we walked we were amused to be amongst some creatures called Coati's. They were like Golden Raccoons and were not afraid of people at all. Anyones rucksack was fair game for them to try and find food. I had one trying to climb up my back from a fence to get to mine much to Karens amusement.
We walked down and down the trail until we came to the end at Devils Throat. Here we were literally at the bottom of one of the large falls. The noise was cacophonous and every so often the wind would change direction and everyone would get doused in the fine mist from the water. It was refreshing in the 30c heat even though we were getting soaked. The experience was amazing. After being there for some time (and Karen purchasing her fridge magnet) we caught the elevator back to the top of the ravine and slowly made our way out of the National Park. They call a visit to the Falls an immersive experience which it certainly is.
Back at the Hotel we were able to check into what we discovered was a special suite. I’m not sure how different it was to other rooms but it was very large. We also had a nice letter left for us along with a celebratory plate of fruit which was a nice touch.
To eat we decided to follow the guides recommendation and head to the Shopping Mall which was 2 blocks away. Now if Karen had been nervous in Argentina it compared to nothing her here in Brazil despite the guide telling her the town was perfectly safe. She was paranoid about getting there and getting back asap before it got dark.
The mall looked and felt like any other mall in the world. The first thing we came across was the Food Court which Karen was adamant that the guide had told us about. Despite my protestations that she meant proper restaurants in the mall Karen insisted we eat in the Food Court. It turned I was right of course, but we didn't discover that until we had ate more takeaway food. I had a bland Calzone which was just toasted cheese and Karen has a Margarita pizza. On our way out we walked passed the restaurant we had been recommended.
Back in the Hotel we went to the glamorously named Piano Bar (it was a bar though and did a piano sitting in the corner) and persuaded the barman to bring us some tea - with cold milk. When we got to our room I discovered that each room was only allowed to connect 3 devices to the Wifi. As we had already done both our phones and the iPad, I couldn’t connect the laptop to upload the blog which was disappointing. We had another early night as our tour of the Argentine side of the falls we had agreed would start at 8am the following day.