Published: January 10th 2009January 5th 2009
The day we left Florianopolis was a typically hot sunny Brazilian day...typically. It was bound to be hot and sunny when we had a 14 hour bus journey ahead. But we had survived the hurricane and it was time to move on. When we planned our little RTW adventure 12 months ago we had both decided that a definite stop would be at the Iguassu Falls, deep in the heart of South America, crossing the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
As all overnight bus journeys are, it was hot, long and uncomfortable. For some reason this one seemed more uncomfortable than the rest and we had very little sleep between us so it was grouchiness all round. There was nothing wrong with the journey really, other than the Brazilian bad boys in the seat behind us who we yabbering on and singing hip hop songs loudly for most of the journey, but I think we had just developed a severe case of bus travel fatigue and our patience was wearing thin. As this mood still hung heavily over us when arriving at the Terminal Rodoviaria in Foz do Iguaçu, we opted for cheating with a taxi ride to our
hostel rather than the local bus, not really in our dwindling last month budget, but we just couldn't figure out the right stop and our Portuguese is still ropey at best.
Now, I'd say we also have a touch of hostel fatigue, but the Pousada De Laura was a lovely looking place, spotless in fact, roomy and tastefully decorated. Now I know I am a sensitive sort, but the owner got right up my nose. He was being helpful I know, but I would describe it as intrusive. Literally anytime you left your room, left the hostel, went into the kitchen, he wanted to know what you were doing or where you were going....I like a little privacy. To be honest I think the reason was because there are some security issues in Foz and he wanted to make sure we were not going to stray into the dangerous areas of town. The Hostel was situated a few streets away from the river edge and the bridge which takes you to Ciudad Del Este, which is the border town of Paraguay, and has a reputation for robberies and muggings. In fact you can see the Flavelas in Paraguay from
the road side. The town of Foz itself, which is the Brazilian side of the falls, was fine, although not a place you would want to stay in for long, it was fairly modern and had all the amenities you could wish for, but still had a slight air of edginess. But it was a convenient place to base yourself to visit the Brazilian side of the falls some 20km away.
Our first day in Foz was spent sleeping off the grumpiness from the bus journey, and also allowing our bodies to get used to the stifling heat in this part of Brazil. It was much hotter than we had experienced for a while, in fact not since Bali and Lombok. It was over 35 deg and very humid, and with that came swarms of mosquitoes, even I was getting bitten.
The next day we were in much better spirits and excited about seeing the natural wonders of the Iguassu Falls. We got the local bus to the entrance, paid our entry fee, got on the shuttle bus and followed the crowds to the catwalks along the cliff edge giving you a spectacular view of all the Falls,
and the star of the show the 'Garganta do Diablo' or 'Devils Throat'. It is not just one waterfall but a whole series of immense, stunningly beautiful waterfalls. It is formed by the confluence of the Rio Iguassu and the Rio Parana, where they crash into a huge canyon falling 80m, not particularly high waterfalls, just huge in width and water volume. It was every bit as amazing as you expect it to be. The catwalks take you right up close to the base of one of the falls, where you get a much needed soaking and cooling by the spray. Around the park it was possible to spot exotic birds, huge insects and many coatis searching for scraps from the tourists.
In the afternoon we visited the 'Parque des Aves', humanely housing many birds from the forest and jungles of South America, the highlights being huge walk through aviaries allowing you to get close up to toucans, macaws, flamingoes, birds of the pantanal and many more. Our favourite was the more tranquil setting of the enclosure containing butterflies as big as your hand and humming birds as small as bees. I have to mention that a certain pair
of African Greys made us think fondly of home, they mimicked the tourists and made noises that sounded very familiar to us.
It was a very, very hot and sticky day and a very sticky night followed.
It is said that the Brazilian side gives you the overall picture, but the Argentinian side gives you the close up view, so the next day we planned to cross the border back into Argentina to spend a few days exploring from that point of view. Besides, Foz was getting a bit tiresome and the rumours were that the Argentinian town of Puerto Iguassu was much better.
Happy 70th Birthday Dad for the 8th!
There are more photos below