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Published: October 23rd 2007
Garganta del Diablo
No matter how many times you see it, it still looks great!
It seems a little strange that we've allocated only one day of our whole trip to South America´s largest country, but for reasons of cost and language we've decided to leave the rest of Brazil for another trip. It would take at least 3 months to see Brazil properly and we're having enough problems with Spanish (not to mention budgeting) as it is without introducing a whole new language!
Our day trip to Brazil was a short hop across the border from Puerto Iguazu to Foz do Iguacu, both towns named after the nearby waterfalls. The Iguazu Falls are divided between Brazil and Argentina. Argentina has the bigger (and many would also say better) part of the park. We spent more time on the Argentinian side, and I would tend to agree that it's better, though it´s worth visiting both sides if possible. The Argentina side has more trails and and lets you get right up close to the falls, while the Brazilian side gives you a better overall view of the park and I think it has better views of La Garganta del Diablo, the park's most spectacular waterfall.
We spent more time getting to the Brazilian side than
we did at the park, mainly because we didn´t know the rules about visiting on a day trip. These are as follows:
1. You don't need an exit and re-entry stamp if only going to Foz for a day. However, you need to explicitly say this to the Argentina customs officials. The stop is obligatory so I guess it's no harm getting the extra stamp.
2. If your bus driver tells you to leave the bus at Brazilian customs, tell him or her you're only visiting for a day and don't need the stamp. Anything longer than a day and you have to stop. If you do stop, your bus probably won't wait for you and the next bus will most likely be from a different company. You could walk up to the crossroads and wait for a bus to the falls.
3. There's no need to go into Foz do Iguacu as the falls are on the same road though in the other direction. Ask your bus driver to let you off at a suitable stop for the Falls. The buses take both Pesos and Reais, as does everything in the park.
We, of course,
Great views of the rainbows at the bottom of the falls
didn't know any of this so we spent a long time on buses and at immigration. There were two French guys with us headed for the Itaipu Dam who went through all the same hassle with us. Though we were a little luckier as they were told the dam was closed when they arrived in Foz!
The falls are very well organised. You take a bus from the visitor center to the huge hotel where the trails start. It takes about 1 hour to walk the trail, and the best section is right before the end where a walkway out over the river takes you about halfway up Garganta del Diablo. The overall views of Isla San Martin and the whole of the national park is superb. However, after an hour you're seen everything. There are trails into the jungle, though unlike the other side, you need to go with a guide. You can also take a helicopter ride over the falls but this cost about a week of our budget so we decided against it
And a final word on the wildlife here. When we were having lunch overlooking the falls one of the coati (which resemble
View of the falls from Brazilian side
These falls were very near the Garganta del Diablo. You can't see them from the Argentinian side, though you can get very close to them on the Brazilian side.
racoons) came into the restaurant climbed up on the table and attacked our food! I think he wanted the sugar with my coffee and it was quite a scary moment though looking back at it pretty fun experience. Coatis will attack anything if they can smell or see food!
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