Foz de Iguazu and Puerto Iguazu

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August 23rd 2010
Published: September 27th 2010
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We got off not the greatest bus in the world at the external bus
station in Foz do Iguazu and had to get a bus to the central bus
station. Still unsure what we were going to do with our bags we took
them to the supermarket and had beakfast. After breakfast we were
recommended to leave our bags at a little shop in the TTU (transport
terminal urbano) while we went to the falls on the Brazilian side.

We were told by quite a few people to miss the Brazilian side but
again never listen to everything you hear because in my opinion you
have to see both sides of the falls to fully appreciate them. Although
it is quite expensive with it being 37 reales for the day and a full
day on the brazilian side is only 2-3 hours. There is only 1 free walk
that you can do on the brazilian side the rest you have to pay extra
on top of your entry fee. Although the free walk that you do get is
beautiful, the colourful double deckers drop you off about a mile and
a half from the falls. We then walked, stopping and getting pictures
at all the different viewpoints along the way until we reached The
Devils Throat. The Devils Throat was a wooden platform that reached
out to just in front of the falls and was a perfect place to see the
force of the falls aswell as getting absolutely soaked.

After spending an hour and a half doing the walkway to the falls we
spent about 45 minutes eating our sandwiches and crisps that the big
rat looking animals tried to nick then quickly booked a hostel for
Puerto Iguazu that night.

We got the colourful double decker to the entrance then a bus to the
TTU to pick up our bags. It was just a public bus that took us to the
border where we had to do the usual exit stamp and entry stamp.
By the time we got to Puerto Iguazu it was 5ish and luckily I had
noticed our hostel from the bus, so we checked in and finally got our
bags off or backs. The hostel we stayed in was quite cool but
definitely had hygiene problems, the sheets were filthy and the walls
and floors looked like they hadn't been washed in years. We decided
that the kitchen was too minging to cook in so headed out for
something to eat. It seemed like we looked at every menu in Puerto
Iguazu probably because we were starving until we found a nice italian
on the main street and sat down. The waiter was brilliant and couldn't
do enough for us bringing us our drinks promptly followed by warm
bread with butter and a spicy Argentinian paste. I ordered steak after
hearing from everyone that they were the best in the world in
Argentina asking for it 'sin sangre' which means no blood, it worked
last time. The waiter brought our meals and hollies pasta looked nice
but my steak was something else, the waiter smiling after seeing my
face as he placed it in front of me. A scooter was parked near us as
we were sat outside and I am not exaggerating by saying my steak was
the same width as the front tyre. As the steak was soo big the middle
had blood in but I didn't mind because people were right for once this
is the best steak I have ever tried, it simply melted in my mouth.
After the steak we slowly walked back as I felt pregnant with the
weight of the steak in my belly. We played cards for abit having a few
stellas, then went to bed.

The next day we wanted to wake early and get to the argy side of the
falls but after eating breakfast and asking around about buses to
Cordoba we didn't end up getting to the falls till 11.15.
We looked at the map given to us on entry and thought we were royally
screwed, it had about 8-9 different trails and each one had 45 minutes
to 3 hours under it and the park closed at 6pm. We thought we better
get the best bit out of the way first and from what people had said
that was The Devils Throat which had 2-3 hours under it. It took 15
minutes to get there on the train then we marched to the viewpoint as
there was nothing to see on the way which took 5 minutes. Then we
understood why it said 2-3 hours, the view was amazing we were
basically stood looking over the falls on a wooden viewpoint and could
see all the falls with a panoramic view. I could have stood there all
day but we were determined to see it all in 1 day as we didn't want to
pay the half again for the 2nd day. As the first part only took 45
minutes and not 2-3 hours like the map said we ignored the times given
and relaxed a little. We decided to do the jungle trail next as I
still hadn't seen a snake in the wild (apart from the anacondas) and
there was a very good chance of seeing one on this walk. There was
also a good chance of seeing pumas in the wild but that didn't tickle
my fancy as much, didn't fancy being dinner. The jungle trek was quite
a trek indeed it took us 1 1/2 hours on the way there seeing a family
of the rat things and some killer ants (not sure if they were killer
but they were bloody big) then we arrived at the bottom of some
deserted falls. I climbed around abit and took some pictures before
storming back hoping not to miss the lower route. It took 1 1/4 hours
to get back seeing nothing but some huge ants again and we had enough
time to do the lower view point.
We planned on just going to the top part of the lower view point and
seeing the view of the waterfalls but when we got there we saw a path
that went very close to the bottom of the waterfalls. Even though we
shoulnt have starte a trail that long so close to closing time we
managed to sneak past the porters and start the trail. The views from
the lower trail were equally as good as the high trail and even though
we had to rush we still had enough time to appreciate them. After
getting soaked at the path that went into the waterfall we had to jog
back to the internal train station to catch the last train. We got off
the last train and had to jog to the bus stop for the 6 o'clock bus
and made it.
When we got back to Puerto Iguazu we inquired about buses to Cordoba
then went back to the hostel to cook tea. We had decided not to stay
our last night in Puerto Iguazu at Hostel Sweet Hostel mainly because
of the hygiene factor so we packed our bags ready to check in at Stop
hostel the following morning.

We wanted to get to Paraguay pretty early to spend the whole day there
but after checking in, sending postcards and the uphill walk to the
bus station we didn't even get on the bus till 11.30. The immigration
laws for brazil state that if you are passing through the country even
en-route to somewhere else you must get an entry and exit stamp. We
thought because the bus didn't stop at either office we would play
dumb if we were caught and be illegal immigrants for the 15 minutes
you pass from Argentina through Brazil into Paraguay. It worked as we
missed the queues for both offices en-route and returning.
We got our stamp entry into Paraguay got loads of information from the
tourist office at the border then headed into the mad street market of
Cuidad del Este. The markets you find are very cheap once you have got
your head around the currency. I mean a Big Mac meal was 20,000
Guaranis which tells you what we had for dinner Hollie didn't fancy
the street food but my steel stomach survived a Paraguay street kebab
aswell. I had been looking for a Flamengo shirt since we saw them at
the Maracana but in Brazil even the fakes were R$60+, I stepped upto
the first good looking one in the market and got it for R$20. Another
thing you need to know about the market they accept 4 different
currencies; Dollars, Pesos, Reales and Guaranis so no need to go local
like we did. I didn't need a camera but had got into my mind that if
they were this cheap it was rude not to. I found a Sony 14.1 mp camera
with panoramic features for 87 quid half the price of Argos (we
checked online). I decided because it was still alot of money while
travelling that I would think about it and come back after the dam.

We got told to get the 'directo' bus from the main street to the town
outside Itaipu dam then from there a tourist information would sort us
out which sounded pretty easy. We got a bus to the town but not a
directo and got dropped off at a bus station in the middle of nowhere,
where nobody spoke English. I decided I wasn't being defeated so we
didn't use the taxi option and walked about 20 minutes up the road to
a supermarket where a man helped us flag down a bus to Itaipu dam. My
expectations were high after reading this was the second largest dam
in the world and provided enough electricity to power 75% of Paraguay
and 25% of Brazil. It was the biggest pile of crap I have ever seen in
my life, it started with a 20 minute 1970s style video about the
construction of the dam, then a Spanish tour guide took us on a bus to
a viewpoint with no view, then the best part the view of the man made
reservoir the bus driver speeded past not even slowing down for
photos. It's a good job it was free because I nearly asked for a
refund on that 2 hours of my life, never mind money.
We got back to Cuidad del Este at half 4 and the market was closed
along with the camera shop I wanted to buy my camera from. Thinking
about it now it saved me some money because I am not all that bothered
about cameras anyway. We got back to the border managed to spend our
last 10 pound in Guaranis on a 2gb memory card for hollies camera
(BARGAIN) then got the last bus to Puerta Iguazu. We didn't do much
that night played abit of pool and cards then headed to bed.

The next morning/afternoon we just chilled around the hostel (not)
eagerly awaiting our 21 hour bus to Cordoba at 1pm. Although the bus
journey turned out to be the best part of the day 2 films, wine,
meatballs and mash, cakes and champagne it was better than some plane
journeys I've been on.
We were curious about Cordoba as didn't know if there was anything
there worth seeing, but not worried after all it is the second biggest
city in Argentina.

Muchos Love


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