Published: November 11th 2008November 10th 2008
Iguazu Falls - Argentina
We are very excited about going to Iguazu and it is a relief to arrive in Puerto Iguazu after a 24 hour bus journey from Salta. Contrary to our earlier experiences, this bus was not quite as luxurious. True, you could put your feet up om the coffee bar in front of the seats, but whenever the bus went round a corner coffee would pour out of the bottom of the machine.
Puerto Iguazu is a small town and is little more than a stopover for people going to see the falls. We stay in a lovely hostel and wander along the river to see the point where 3 countries meet. The next day we get up bright and early, excited about our day at the falls. There is a recommended way to view the falls - you start by walking along the high path to view the falls from above then walk along the lower path which is where you get wet! The falls are spectacular. The noise and the power of the water is incredible. We take it in turns to run up to the end of the walkways and get wet!
Now for the big one - Garganta del Diablo (Devil´s Throat). We go on a short train ride and then it´s along the 1km walkway to reach the falls. Crossing the river and seeing the size of it makes you realise where all the water comes from. The fall is amazing - there is so much spray that it is impossible to see the bottom.
The falls are in a national park with rainforest and all sorts of wildlife. We end the day with a 6km walk through the rainforest. We have picked up a leaflet which promises sightings of all sorts of wildlife - we see mosquitoes and something that looks like a large rat with funny ears. There is also a waterfall pool for swimming - Tom gets down to his underpants, gets his feet wet then gets dressed again after deciding it is too cold to get in! We return to our hostel tired and happy.
Itaipu Dam - Brazil
Our 3rd country on the trip! We cross the border in to Brazil, we stamp out of Argentina at customs but the bus doesn´t´t stop at Brazilian customs, so we enter the country illegally! Foz do Iguacu is the town on the Brazilian side of the falls and feels a little more ´edgy´ than the Argentine side. We stay in an adequate hostel (we have to repair the mosquito net at the window with sellotape!) and then spend the afternoon at the Itaipu dam.
It is the biggest hydroelectric dam in the world and is very impressive.
Some interesting facts about the dam:
- It is the run and owned by a private company, 50% Brazilian and 50% Paraguay.
- The power is split equally between both countries - but Paraguay only use 7% of the power so sell 43% back to Brazi.
- The dam accounts for 90% of Paraguay´s power and 20% of Brazil´s.
- It displaces 40 times as much water as Iguacu falls.
We go on a bustour around the dam and for about 2 minutes the bus passes in to Paraguay (Our 4th country).
Iguacu Falls - Brazil
Up early again to visit the Brazilian side of the falls. Visiting the falls for the second time we hope that we won´t be disappointed ... and we aren´t. The Brazilian side is more like a theme park and much busier than the Argentine side but the amazing panoramic views over the falls make up for this. After being so close to the falls on the Argentine side it is fantastic to get a completely different view. From this side you can see the bottom of Garganta del Diablo and get a much better of the scale of the fall. And you still get wet!
Not very logical - but we now have to go back to Argentina to get a long distance bus to Rio. Our journey continues... http://picasaweb.google.com/phy7tes/Iguazu