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Published: December 4th 2012
We´ve been travelling pretty quickly since Floripa, no time to upload pictures and do blogs until now. Finally have some time to relax and a decent internet connection here in Mendoza so I´ll try and catch up.
Getting the car returned in Floripa was a bit of an adventure. Traffic is pretty laid back on most of the island but it is hectic in centro, where the car rental and bus station are. Lots of 1 way streets and intersections without stoplights or stop signs, drivers are crazy too. Luckily we made it to the gas station to refuel and then to the car rental place without any new scratches on the car. Success!
We took an overnight bus from Floripa to Foz do Iguacu, on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Foz´s main draw is the amazing Iguazu falls, 20 km south. There is access from both Brazil and Argentina with different views so we decided to do both.
We had booked a hostel across the border in Argentina for the night, so we had the day to check out the falls and Foz itself before heading in to Argentina. The falls were awesome, but everything else about the day was pretty rough.
It was a hot and muggy day, 90 deg F and 80% humidity. We had to take multiple busses to get between the long distance bus terminal (we left our big bags there), the central bus terminal, and the falls themselves. The buses in the park were nice but all the city buses were super cramped and hot, standing room only.
The falls are awesome, you really have to see them to believe them. The pictures below really don´t do them justice. The view from the Brazil side good, you can get a sense for how long and big the area is. There is a short trail, around a mile long with several panoramic views of sections of the falls. It puts things in perspective for the Argentina side (next blog). Lots of butterflies. At the end of the trail you arrive at a catwalk that leads close to the biggest area of falls called Devils Throat, and it is pretty intense. There are also tons of birds flying around through the mist, chasing bugs or something, which is fun to watch.
We had a nice lunch on the Brazil side, at a restaurant perched on top of Devils Throat. After that the day took a turn for the worse.
We headed back into Foz, with the plan to go see Itaipu dam, which is the worlds largest hydroelectric power plant. Apparently Brazil gets 25% of its total power from Itaipu, while Paraguay gets a whopping 80%. Unfortunately we didn´t get to see the dam. After 45 minutes of cramped, hot city busses, we got there 20 minutes after the last tour bus left. According to the staff there, there is nowhere you can go to even get a look at the dam. It was hot, so we decided to take a loss on the dam excursion and get to our hostel in Argentina.
Another 30 minute bus ride later, we were ready to catch what was supposed to be our last city bus, from the central bus station back to the long distance bus station. Unfortunately we got on the wrong bus, and didnt realize it until we were kind of out in the boonies. We used our portuguese phrasebook to lamely ask around to the other passengers what to do, and they said get off the bus and take another back into centro.
At this point we were pretty exhausted and sweaty, and we didn't have a clue where we were. We decided to just catch a taxi back to the long distance bus station, to avoid another pair of city buses. We walked to a gas station on the corner, and the woman working there was very friendly. She called us a taxi and 20 minutes later we were on the way to the bus station.
Our day did brighten a bit at that point. The taxi driver spoke a little spanish so we were able to communicate that we were headed to Argentina. He offered us a flat rate to get us all the way to our hostel. We agreed and it ended up being a great deal. We picked up our bags at the Foz bus station and he took us to the two border check points so we could get exit and entry stamps. The taxi was nice and air conditioned, so we finally got relief from the brutal heat.
Not the best ending to our time in Brazil, but it will have to do. And we did have a great time at the falls. More to come in Argentina the next day though.
Heres a few pics
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