Published: March 16th 2010March 14th 2010
Our last week in Brazil and in South America was spent in leisurely fashion except for a whirlwind trip to Iguazu Falls over the weekend. We spent a couple of days lounging around the penthouse apartment of the parents of a friend of Chuck's and totally mooching off their hospitalitly. We wandered through the Parque do Ibirapuera, had a driving tour of downtown, checked out the bar scene in Pinheiros and enjoyed the amazing view of cityscape as far as the eye could see. We went to another churrascuria as well and I worked hard at gaining back the weight I'd lost with the Typhoid Fever!
On Sunday afternoon we caught a flight to Fos Iguazu in Southern Brazil and got off the plane and right on to a bus leading to the National Park (we'd wisely travelled very light for the weekend with only carry-ons). The Brazil side of the Falls was impressive but I still couldn't see what all the fuss was about and patriotically felt that Niagara Falls is more grand. Wildlife highlights were the raccoon-type ()'s, butterflies, lizards and swifts that roost behind the falls and fly right through the rushing curtain of water! There was
a walkway that took us right to the edge of the lower lever of falls and we got wet, as we'd been promised. We took a city bus into Fos Iguazu and as it was getting dark and the Rio mugging experience was still fresh in my mind, we took a taxi across the border into Argentina and walked the few blocks to our hostel in Puerto Iguazu. We had dinner at an Argentinian barbecue place one last time and struggled to say "gracias" again after almost 3 weeks of saying "obrigado!"
The next morning was sweltering and we caught a city bus to the Argentinian side of the falls, looking forward to our boat tour that would take us right under the water. We thought we'd just be lightly misted, enough to cool off. Boy were we wrong! First, we walked the lower path to get the views at the base of the faslls and the Argentinian side is truly spectacular. We hurried down the slippery rocks to catch the next boat tour and our first clue should have been the dry bag that we were provided for our backpacks....We ended up absolutely soaked with puddles in our
shorts and not even a dry spot on our shirts to dry off our sunglasses! My waterproof camera came in handy because it was impossible to keep our eyes open! Afer a thorough dunking the boat took us downriver and we had a half hour ride on a big jeep-type truck through the jungle, looking at spiders and drying off. We also saw monkeys as well as the (raccoon guys). Lastly, we took the little train which was packed with tourists (apparently they can get up to 10,000 people a day!) to the overlook of the Devil's Throat. The steel walkway to the lookout itself was very impressive, running for over a kilometer across the river and right up to the edge of the falls. Here the water was pounding just as strong as Niagara falls and I had to admit that maybe they are just as impressive.
We had just enough time for a quick lunch back in Puerto Iguazu and some last-minute souvenir shopping (much cheaper in Argentina so Chuck obliged me) before catching a taxi back into Brazil and to the airport!
Our last few days were spent at a friend's beach house in Ilhabela, which
is a gorgeous island just off the coast, North of Sao Paolo. We relaxed, reading, drinking passionfruit caipirinhas made from the fruits off a vine in the garden, catching up on sleep and blogging, and going to the beach where Chuck got an awful sunburn from being in the water for only 10 minutes without sunscreen! After 3 months on the road, he gets a sunburn in our last 2 days! Aside from that, our stay at the beach house was a wonderful way to end the trip and definitely whetted our appetites for more beach vacations in Brazil!
And now here we are back in cold, snowy Canada. In all, it was an amazing, unforgettable trip. In my opinion (Chuck may disagree on some aspects) we got the most out of our time, and out of the countries we visited. The trip also made me realize that SOuth America (and hopefully the rest of the world!) isn't as far away as it looks on the map, and we look forward to having a chance to go back!
There are more photos below