Water, Butterflies and Birds

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March 9th 2007
Published: March 9th 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

Today is my penultimate day in Brazil. I'm crossing the border into Argentina tomorrow (apparently on a Saturday it can take up to three hours to clear customs). Hopefully if all goes well then I'll be flying from Puerto Iguazu to Buenos Aires. It will be my second time in Argentina, as I did venture over to Argentina on Thursday for the day to visit the Argentinian Iguazu falls. Trying to remember Spanish was tricky after a month of trying Portuguese.

I left Campinas for Campinas and spent two days there. One of my days was spent riding the Serra Verde Express train, going to Morretes and back again. This train went through 13 tunnels, 67 viaducts, which cut through mountains down to the coast. It dropped about 1000m in 100km.

If anything I was a bit disappointed by this journey. Parts of the journey were spectacular, but for at least one hour of the three hours down to the coast, there was not much to see. It didn't help that I was on the wrong side of the train going to Morretes.

Coming back was a lot better, as the train was less busy, so it meant I could swap sides to see all the scenery. There was also an English-Speaking guide on the train, who provided a commentary, something which they normally don't do for the tourist class passengers. This was very useful as she pointed when to look at things, through gaps in the trees, which you could very easily miss.

My original plan was to get off in the national park station and explore the Atlantic rain forest there, but the station was tiny and no one seemed to be getting off there, so I thought it didn't seem such a good idea. Instead I went all the way down to Morretes. Morretes is a pretty town, but also pretty quiet. It was a nice place to relax, I spent most of my time reading up on Argentina, sitting in the shade by the river.

I liked Curitiba, although I only really spent a day or so there. The best thing from my point of view was that its the only Brazilian city I've been to that believes in having maps at it bus stops - very useful when you don't get off at the right bus stop and end up in the middle of a rich suburb, where seems to be one giant construction site. Having the maps meant I managed to walk back to my hotel by following the bus routes. I've read a few blogs on Curitiba and a lot of people have called it boring. In some ways they might be right, as theres not much to do there. I went in the railway museum (apparently only one of the two worth visiting) and was disappointed: it was small and there didn't seem to be much on how the railway was constructed, which interested me the most.

A twelve hour bus journey later (which hopefully will be my longest one) and I arrived at Foz do Iguazu, on the Brazilian Border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The border of the three countries is formed where the River Parana meets the River Iguazu.

The Iguazu Falls are on the River Iguazu, which forms the border between Brazil and Argentina. In total 275 separate falls. My plan was spend one day on the Argentinan side and one day on the Brazilian side, which just about worked out perfectly. It took a whole day to explore the Argentinian side and half a day to explore the Brazilian side. The Argentian side has a series of trails, which allows you to get a lot closer to the falls. In particular the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's throat) where fourteen falls combine to form the world's most powerful waterfall in terms of water volume per second. Whereas the Brazilian side had the best panoramas and allows the best photos to be taken. For those who were disappointed by Niagara Falls (which I was), they should come here, as the falls seem far more natural and the setting makes it more impressive.

On both sides of the river there are national parks, which serve to protect the remaining Atlantic rain forest, home to many different birds, animals and over 1700 types of butterfly. At one point there was so many butterflies it looked like a cyclone. I didn't get to see much of the birds, so I went to the bird park on the Brazilian side this afternoon. There was a mixture of large enclosures and smaller cages for the more endangered species. The majority of the birds in the park are found in the forest here, but there was some also species from the Pantanal. There was also some other non-bird animals as well.

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


An Iguazu RainbowAn Iguazu Rainbow
An Iguazu Rainbow

The Brazilian side allowed me to see many rainbows formed by the falls.
Broken TrailBroken Trail
Broken Trail

There was a sign saying the old catwalk to the devil's throat was destroyed by flooding.
Apparently I'm now a buttefly houseApparently I'm now a buttefly house
Apparently I'm now a buttefly house

This happened quite frequently, the local butterflies had no problems about landing on people.

For me, if I hadn't seen one of these I would have been disappointed. There everywhere on the marketing for the falls.

One of the non-birds at the bird park

Can't remember what type this was...

16th March 2007

I'm really jealous! Those falls look amazing. It won't be long til you see penguins now. What's the temperature like out there? I imagine it's very humid. Shame you didn't catch any Brazilian football, that would've been good. Dangerous too, probably. Enjoy practising your Welsh in Argentina! Say hi to Gabriel Batistuta for me. Rob

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