Posted by: robinson2000 | August 11, 2013

“It makes Niagara Falls look like a trickle!” – The Iguazu Falls

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Puerto Iguazu – 31st July – 2nd August

We knew that the bus ride to the border of Brazil and Argentina was going to be a killer since we’d both done it before, but it never gets any easier. The journey (Tuesday 30th) was supposed to take 24 hours but being wise to South American punctuality and travel we knew it would be longer. We’d chosen to travel with Crucero del Oeste, which departed from Rio’s long distance bus terminal at 2.30pm in the afternoon. It was a comfortable enough bus, far better than the one I had dragged my poor friend John on two years prior, and we both fell asleep soon after leaving the terminal. Unfortunately after only a few hours into our 26 hour marathon journey, Nicola felt quite unwell and managed to fill two bags full of vomita without spilling a drop. Luckily with my rapid response and first aid instincts I was able to nurse her through her misfortunes and as luck would have it, the bus pulled over at a service station where I was able to find a bin. The rest of the evening and night passed uneventfully (thank goodness, I was having visions of our disaster school trip back from Germany where half the bus picked up the nora-virus and we were running low on sickbags) and by morning (Wednesday 31st) we were still trundling our way through the south of Brazil. In typical Brazilian fashion we arrived two hours later than we thought in the border town of Foz du Iguazu, a reasonable sized town from where you can view the Iguazu Falls, but its far better on the Argentinian side, plus we had both visited the falls from the Brazilian side before. Foz is bigger than it’s Argentinian neighbour but not particulary tourist friendly. We quickly gathered our mochillas and headed out of the small terminal. Our aim was to head across the border to Puerto Iguazu (the Argentinian side) but this involved catching three more buses! Nothing is ever easy when travelling! We’d both done this before but it didn’t seem any easier and even with Nicola’s excellent language skills it wasn’t easy working out which buses to catch. In the late afternoon we eventually arrived in the quiet town of Puerto Iguazu following a border crossing and more stamps in our passport, where we found a room at a hostel I’d previously stayed at called Hostel Falls Iguazu which had the added bonus of a small swimming pool.

The main reason for visiting Puerto Iguazu is to see the mighty Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s natural wonders, which is essentially a series of enormous waterfalls that cascade down over the Parana Plateau for as far as the eye can see. Its a spectacular sight and even though it was both our second viewing, it was just as amazing as the first time I set eyes on it. Unfortunatley we made a big mistake in assuming that we could pay on credit card on arrival (Thurs 1st Aug) and didn’t have enough cash to cover the very expensive entrance fees. Luckily there was an ATM inside the park but it was typical of the lack of working systems in Argentina. Time and time again we had problems with using our credit/debit cards to pay for accomodation or bus tickets or even withdrawing money from an ATM. We take it for granted in the UK but in Argentina there is usually a queue of 30 deep to reach an ATM becasue they only allow citizens to withdraw a small amount of money.

Once the enraged Nicola had given the girl behind the ticket counter a firm talking to about how unjust it is to charge foreigners 3 times the entrance fee of an argentinain national, (perhaps the UK should introduce this pricing discrimination for all of our tourist attractions?)not accepting cards in this day in age and essentially calling Argentina a tin pot excuse for a country, we entered the park and wandered towards the path that led down to the falls. In an attempt to not get ripped off by the over-inflated prices of food and drinks sold by the park, I had brought along a bag of sandwiches and fruit for the day which I carried in a plastic bag by my side. Along one of the pathways was a group of small bear like creatures, called Coatis, which run riot around the park. As we passed the group of critters, one decided to grab my plastic bag and within seconds I had 3 or 4 of the pests ripping the bag away from me. There was nothing we could do as the group tore the bag to shreds and ran off with all our lunch. Mugged by a group of small furry animals, I’ve never been more ashamed and this just added to our bad mood, particularly Nicola’s!

After the “attack”, the rest of the day was brilliant as we meandered our way along the various walkways seeing the 275 different waterfalls plus there was an opportunity to get just metres away from a gushing waterfall, which of course, we did. Soaked but invigorated we soon dried off in the basking soon before finishing off our day with a short train ride to the main attraction, the Devils Throat or la garganta de diablo. The Devil’s Throat is a roaring bowl shaped waterfall that crashed down from all angles and creates rainbow effects in the sun light.

The next day (Friday 2nd) was lovely and hot and we relaxed around the hostel’s arctic like pool and swung in the hammocks before catching another long distance bus to the nations Capital, Buenos Aires. This was to be another epic journey of some 22 hours but we knew food was incuded on this journey so we were planning on a relaxing journey. We said goodbye to Puerto Iguazu in the late afternoon and looked forward to our arrival in the big capital.

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Responses

  1. Mugged by small furry creatures, your Dad will think this very funny and I;
    ‘m sure he’ll talked about it for a long time……Hope N is feeling much better and her temper has cooled. We’re busy painting here to get the extension completed 10th week tomorrow!!
    Take care of yourselves,
    S and M x x

  2. Hi S and M
    Yes I’m sure he will get plenty of laughs from that one. Nicola’s temper cools pretty quickly luckily! Hope you get the painting done quickly.
    See you soon.
    Ben and Nic xxx


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