Posted by: ghostdawg2 | February 10, 2010

Iguazu Falls by Wednesday January 6th 2010

Walkway at Salto Floriano

After a bumpy flight from Salvador into Foz do Iguaçu, Jeff and I were greeted at the airport by César, our appointed driver for the transfer to our hotel.

Much like in Salvador, the Iguazu tour package we purchased provided transport to and from the airport. After picking up our bags and hopping into the van, César worked some serious magic to help us breeze across the border into Argentina. We bypassed a line of about 20 people at customs when leaving Brazil and after butting in front of several tour buses at the Argentina checkpoint & following little more than a glance at our bags by an Argentine border guard, we were on our way through.

While crossing the Fraternity Bridge that links Brazil & Argentina, César stopped the van on the actual border and in fairly good English said, “See that line?  Right now I am in Argentina and you are in Brazil.  hahaha.”  We were also treated to a view of a spot off in the distance where Paraguay, Brazil & Argentina meet.

On Fraternity Bridge

Where Three Countries Meet

We were scheduled to be in Iguazu for about two days and the timing worked perfectly with our day and a half tour package.  The Iguazu Falls form the border between Brazil & Argentina.  Our tour package had us in the Iguazu Falls National Park in Argentina for all of day 1 and then back in Brazil on day 2 for just a half day before returning to Argentina and on to the airport for our flight to Buenos Aires.

So on Tuesday, after a relatively early 6:45am wake-up, a quick breakfast and a short bus ride, Jeff & I found ourselves at the Iguazu Falls National Park with a tour group of about 35.  The National Park is fairly large with several trails that take you right up to and at times over the falls.  We began the day with a quick train ride (think amusement park train) and following a 1000 meter hike found ourselves at the largest, most impressive section of the falls called La Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat).  The trails take you so close to the edge that most tourists leave the area soaked from the spray of the falls.

La Garganta del Diablo

The majority of our hiking for the day after this point was done along the Circuito Superior (Upper Circuit) which has scenic views of most of the major falls below La Garganta del Diablo.

Iguazu Falls from the Upper Circuit

Following a buffet lunch in the park and a rather uneventful 30 minute jeep ride through the rainforest, Jeff and I boarded a boat for the highlight of the day.  About 20 of the 35 members of our group signed up for the “Grand Adventure” where you are treated to an up close view of the falls via boat.  All of our guide books raved about it describing the adventure as an “unmissable – though drenching – experience that gets you almost under the falls.”  Well our boat captain did that description one better by actually putting our boat into the falls at one point.  We have (a very poorly produced video) of the experience that we hope to cut up and post on YouTube soon.

Going Into Salto Bernabé Mendez

Day 2 in Brazil was a little less exhilarating as the lone trail is relatively short & there is no boat or jeep ride.  Nevertheless, we were treated to some fantastic panoramic views of the falls.  While the Argentina side gets you up close and personal, the Brazil side gives you a better perspective of the magnitude of the falls.  The tail end of the trail on the Brazil side takes you to a viewing platform where you are surrounded by the falls on almost every side and again get nearly drenched (refreshingly so in the 90 degree, 90% humidity weather) by the spray from the falls.

We struggled to find much of a nightlife in Puerto Iguazu and have yet to meet many English speaking tourists so look forward to what Buenos Aires will have to offer in the coming days.

As for my Spanish, so far I’m still quite rusty & a bit surprised at how much of the language I have forgotten but it has been serviceable and certainly useful as many guides speak only a small bit of English.

I’m about four days behind on the blogging but hope to have more from Buenos Aires soon. Note that I’m using all of Jeff’s photos in this post at the moment since he has gone through the trouble of processing and uploading. He deserves all of the credit for their quality.

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