Our final day in Brazil, and our first day in Argentina…
After nearly two weeks it was finally time to say goodbye to Brazil, but we definitely went out with a good one!
Day 95 – Friday 26th August 2016
To be completely honest there is only one reason that we chose Foz do Iguazu as the place to go after Rio, well maybe two, but mainly because of Iguazu National Park, and more specifically, Iguazu Falls.
Second only to Victoria Falls in terms of size, Iguazu Falls was voted one of seven natural wonders of the world back in 2012. The surrounding rainforest is home to over 2,000 different species of plant as well as the opossum, the only marsupial that can be found outside Australia.
We had to be up before 10:00 as thats when breakfast finished, so set our alarms for 09:00 and started that day with coffee and toast, because the free breakfast was about as basic as it gets. Simon, one of the engineers who we met in Rio, suggested that instead of taking a paid tour of Iguazu Falls (which cost roughly £30 per person) we could do pretty much exactly the same thig without a guide for a fraction of the cost. We decided to take his advice, mainly because it meant spending less money, and walked to the local bus stop from which we could get all of the way to the falls for less than £1. It was pretty hot and sweaty given that there was no air conditioning and very few windows that could actualy be opened, but after an hour or so we were there.
Upon arrival we brought our tickets which cost around £13 each, meaning than we saved roughly £16 per person in total, and then ventured into the park. I don’t think either of us really knew what to expect other than loads of waterfalls, but were left completely stunned as soon as there was a break in the trees:
We walked for around two hours, stopping loads along the way to take in the panoramic views of the waterfalls. There’s about two hundred and seventy five of them in total, which neither of us could quite comprehend:
Along the way we stopped at quite a few viewpoints which looked over the falls, which were beutiful but also very crowded. Luckily there seemed to be a bit of a queueing system going on, which isnt something we’ve experienced in South America before, and meant that we could actually get a good enough photograph without having other people in shot with us:
Near the end of the trail we reached probably the most spectacular viewpoint of them all, a boardwalk which we followed out on to the water at the bottom of the falls. It didnt look particularly wet and we were ready to give it a go without any weatherproof gear on, but bumbed into a couple of really friendly guys who took off their used ponchos (the cheap and lightweight kind that you always find at waterpark rides) and let us wear them. In all honesty, I have no idea what we’d have done without them. It was so wet and misty that neither of us could use our cameras becuase they’d have been absolutely drowned. I did pull out my phone for a quick selfie though, which was totally worth it:
Back on dry land we took off the ponchos and handed them on to other people who looked like they were about to brave it without. These things were on sale for like £1 each but it was great to see that everybody was recycling them instead of forking out and throwing them away. From there we took an elevator to the final viewing platform around three quarters of the way up one of the falls. The sound of crashing water meant that it was almost impossible to communicate, and although it was so wet that we couldn’t really take photographs, I did manage to get this beauty from the bottom:
We plan on visiting the falls again in a couple of days from the Argentinian side, which is supposedly completely different to the Brazilian side which we visited today. Apparently the viewing platform in Argentina is at the very top of the falls which we stood underneath today, and will be amazing to see, especially now that we know what to expect.
We stopped for something to eat before catching the bus home, which proved a lot more difficult than expected thanks to these pesky little buggers called coatis. They can sniff out food a mile away and will fight you for it as if it’s their own if you let them get too close, which meant that we didn’t stay for long before getting up and leaving.
From the park we took the bus back to our local stop, picked up some food for dinner in the store on the way, and then headed back to the hostel to cook. We cooked noodles because they’re cheap, added frozen vegetables because we’re grown ups, and stirred in some chicken because there was loads of it and we fancied filling ourselves up.
Neil, another one of the engineers who we met in Rio, gave us an unopened 1L bottle of rum becuase he couldnt fit it in his suitcase to take home, which played a key factor in our friend-making process after dinner. We got chatting to four other travellers, two from Barcelona, one from New York and the other from Italy, and shared the rum between us. Conversations included the standard where are you from and what do you do, then moved on to more embarrasing issues such as brexit, before turning completely political as the rum went down.
It was a great evening, and we were even repayed in beer for sharing the rum, which came as a bit of a bonus I guess. Surprisingly enough after sharing 1L of rum and three beers between us and over the course of three hours or so, none of had any trouble getting to sleep. It was deifinitely one to remember, with new friends who we’ll almost definitely be staying in touch with!
Day 96 – Saturday 27th August 2016
Waking up after an evening of rum and beer was surprisingly easy, which comes as a change after the rough starts we had in Rio almost every morning after an evening out. We made it downstairs in time for breakfast again, before having to pack our bags and check out of the hostel. We knew that we had to cross the border into Argentina, where we had a hostel booked in Puerto Iguazu, and to do so we had two options. We could either take four buses, which took an hour each, with up to fourty minutes wait between each ride, or take a single taxi which took twenty five minutes. It cost more, but for convenience more than anything we took the taxi.
At our hostel when we checked in there seemed to be literally nobody who could speak english, although that did change after a while once more people arrived. Our dorm, which cost £7 per person per night, accommodates eight people, but only had four this evening – Abbie and I, another guy who we didn’t speak to very much, and a girl who lives about five minutes from Abbie and I back home in a place called Belvedere. It’s a small world eh?
For dinner we went to a restaurant called A Piacere, becuase we’d been told that we absolutely 100% had to try a chorizo steak, and did. Not only that, but Abbie had a bottle of wine and I had 1L of beer, and in total everything only came to £17 each. Not bad, right?
Once we’d eaten we walked back to the hostel where we had a pretty laid back evening in anticipation of a busy day tomorrow.
Anyway, now for some exciting news! Back when we stayed in Kelowna I was contacted by a member of the Itourz Asia team who wanted to hear about some of the adventures that Abbie and I had during our stay. We discussed a few things and with my permission they’ve put together and published a travelogue based entirely upon our experiences. I know its not that big a deal, but it means a lot to me, and it would be brilliant if you could check it out too. Click here to do so!
Oh and lastly, while we are doing the whole promotion thing, Abbie has her own facebook page which is used solely for uploading photographs, called With My Compass. She’s a much better photographer than I am, and if you want to check that out too, just click here!