Iguazu Falls – Maradonas side

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So getting from Brazil to Argentina across the border at Foz was easy enough. It just takes a while. We caught the local bus from nearby our hostel which itself continues through into Argentina. However we had to get off the bus at the Brazilian border and get our exit stamp before then waiting for the next bus (with the same company) that then drives the couple of miles to the Argentinian border where you recieve your entry stamp (that bus then waited for us and continued to the bus station in Puerto Iguazu)

The whole journey took about 3 hours and we’d only travelled maybe 5 or 6 miles as the crow flies! But we are in no rush so that didn’t really matter.

Both hostels we stayed at in both Brazil and Argentina near the falls were pretty good. Both had pools and both were clean hostels –

The Argentinian side of the falls were bigger, this is what we had been told anyway.

We set off to the falls in the morning, again on the local bus which drives you all the way to the park entrance, we again paid for our tickets (slightly more expensive than the Brazilian side) and entered the park. Straight away we realised the park was a lot bigger, looking at the map a train was provided to take the masses to the main point of the falls on this side. It was the same ‘main’ point of the falls as before, the devils throat, but this time we saw it from above not below.

The train takes maybe 10 minutes, again surrounded by butterflies all the way, and again on arrival to the little station we were dodging the crafty Coatis!

Here strangly we found a small Subway outlet selling sandwiches! We didnt buy – it was tough. these big brands get everywhere.

The sun was beating down and a dip in the river would’ve been nice apart the the fact it wouldve been our last ever dip! The river here was a torrent of cloudy brown coloured water powering its way to our left towards the mains falls.

To get the the view point hanging above the devils throat you walk for probably 10 minutes across a carefully constructed metal walkway out and across the river to a stump of land right in the middle of the river.

The noise when you get to this point is again deafening and battling with the wind and constant spray we managed to get a few pics.

The sheer volume of water powering its way over the edge is hard to comprehend. To think this is dry season, and this cons happtant flow of H2o has happened every day of every year, for ever, crazy!

We spent probably an hour here just watching and taking pictures. Again the spray had soaked us, but the sun was so hot that we were nearly dry back the time we had walked the path back to the train.

Here are some pics from the Argentinain side of the falls, again these do them no justice.

Which side is better?

The Argentinian side or the Brazilian?  This was the question we have been asked a few times since. There is no ‘better’ side. They are both completly different.

The Brazilian side is less touristy – from here you see the full panorama off the falls and experience the devils throat from the bottom.

The Argentinian side is busier and more organised and touristy we felt – from this side you get to witness one of the most amazing sights we have ever seen – the devils throat from the top.

We keep saying this but if you ever get the chance to go to see the falls from either country as Nike says – ‘Just do it’

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Iguazu Falls – Brazil – Mindblowing

Excited is not the word! We literally couldn’t wait to see the Iguazu Falls. To be honest before we started researching our trip and looking into places we may visit in our time a way we hadn’t even heard of the Iguazu falls.

some facts –

height – 269 ft

number of drops – 275!!!

Well, after meeting and speaking with numerous people travelling in the opposite direction to us we had come to learn that the experience of visiting this mammoth set of waterfalls was going to be one of the highlights of our South American Odyssey.

We had planned to visit both sides. first the Brazilian side accessible from the Brazilian town of Foz de Iguazu. then a simple (but lengthy) border crossing to Argentina and Puerto Iguazu to see the falls from that side.

We had heard differing stories about which side was best.

The Brazilian side of the falls was reached by a simple local bus from the town centre to the park entrance. We then bought our day tickets (about £9) and entered.

The reception area was surprisingly modern and reminded us of entrance to a theme park or Disney land. We got on an open top bus with jungle noises playing through the speakers and set off on the roughly 10 minute drive to the falls.

We were also being warned through the speakers that on alighting the bus we would likely be welcomed by some local residents called Coatis that live in the park. These strange looking dog/rodent like creatures beg for food, can get quite aggressive and apparently carry rabies! The warning DO NOT FEED OR TOUCH THE COATIS didn’t put off tourists jumping off the bus with their cameras in hand throwing out crisps and fruit.

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Becca wasn’t a fan of these creatures, and to be fair they had a shady, sneaky look to them which suggested they couldn’t be trusted. Becca wanted to change from her flipflops into her walking boots but every time she put her bag on the floor the coatis thought food was coming out and they charged! I promise i didn’t laugh at all. Becca ran off screaming!

Then we heard a scream coming from near the bus, and we saw that 2 or 3 of the sneaky little beggers had mounted a woman and were clawing at her bag. One had actually managed to get all the way in! Again, I promise we didn’t laugh at all!

After all the excitement we started making our way down the set of stairs on the wooden walkway towards the roaring sound of the falls that we could already hear. We were also getting gradually soaked by the mist blowing through the tropical canopy of the jungle set out in front of us.

We were also being chased by tens and tens of tropical colourful butterflys, white, black red, yellow – pretty special.

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Your first view of the Iguazu falls regardless of which country you are in is mindblowing! Set out in front of us stretching probably 3 or 4 rugby fields in length was countless waterfalls smashing their way through the jungles and over the jagged rocks falling maybe 10 storeys to the river below.

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Its not the height of the Iguazu falls that amazes, its the number and size of the whole site, it is huge.

The walkway stretches for maybe a 15 minute walk until you get to the ‘main’ falls known locally as the devils throat. Here a very sturdy metal walkway stretches out into the middle of the river where you literally get soaked to the skin by the mist from the falls.

We donned our matching peter storm waterproofs, put our sunnys on so we could see and headed out. The noise was deafening and probably cliché it really brought home the power of mother nature.

This is where my writing stops – hear are some of the pictures from the day we spent at the Brazilian side. they really don’t do it justice.

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Sao Paulo & Curitiba – A tale of 2 halves!

After our amazing week or so of relaxation in Paraty and the surrounding areas we were on our way to Sao Paulo.

The bus journey down to Sao Paulo flew by at about 4 hours, driving up into the clouds and decending into thousands of acres of farmland – (Fazenda – farm in Brazilian) If we had ever wondered just how many trees and how much greenery there was in Brazil we were about to see it first hand! As far as we could see GREEN, GREEN, GREEN in all directions – and the part we saw was nothing compared to the jungles of the Amazon!

We had decided to take a bit of a gamble on our accomodation in the big city and had gone for the cheapest option on Hostelworld- a nine bed dorm costing roughly a tenner between us. The reviews left on hostelworld read that it was a simple hostel but a good one! We booked for 2 nights and we were soon to realise we shouldve booked for no longer than 2 hours!

Hostel name – Wanderlust hostel.

Our review – never ever go there! Ever. Even if they pay you! Presumably the official hostel reviews for this hole are written by the owner and his friends!

The hostel was in a fairly run down building in a fairly standard rundown part of the city. It was close to the Santa Cecilia metro station which was probably its only benefit.

Without moaning too much or going into too much detail we had no water for a few days, couldn’t brush our teeth or flush the shared toilet! (smelly is not the word)

Becca had a minor breakdown on checking into this beautiful (sarcasm) looking establishment which made our minds up to avoid the cheapest hostels in future – We have found you usually get what you pay for!

We had spoken to various people about Sao Paulo before we got there and the overall opinion was that it was nice for a few days but nothing more. We had only booked 2 nights and this we found was more than enough.

Sao Paulo made us realise that we were not really partial to city life and much prefered the open spaces, beaches, countryside and clean air of more rural settings – Sao Paulo had none of this.

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We spent our time in Sao Paulo walking from landmark to landmark sweating getting gradually more covered in dirt and grime from the hundreds of thousands of cars, buses, motorbikes and lorries. We did however get an amazing view of this megacity from the top of the Santander bank building. This was our highlight. Sao Paulo is truley enormous and is worth going to just to experience this alone!

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To be honest we have spoken to people since our visit to SP who had an amazing time and loved the city. The reacurring theme to all their stories was that they loved the hostel they were staying at and had met people with city knowledge who showed them around.

Our tip for SP is to splurge a bit on your hostel and you might have a better experience than us.

After organising our escape from SP we looked forward to heading further south through Brazil to the modern, up and coming city of Curitiba. This was by all accounts a quiet and delevoping, pretty to look at university hub. We were not disappointed!

Many people doing the same kind of route to us through Brazil seem to miss out on Curitiba and head further south to Floronopolis (on the coast). While we cant comment on Floronopolis we can comment on Curitiba – we loved it.

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There wasnt a great deal to do but it was one of those places you come accross whilst on the road every now and again that is just nice. Nice and relaxed, nice and clean and a really nice place to spend a few days (3 days) pretty much doing nothing!

We had booked into a hostel named Knock Knock Hostel, comparing this to Wanderlust in SP it was 5 star luxury! We had water! Not just water but it was actually hot water too!!! The hostel had a great free breakfast (cake, coffee, fruit, eggs) and was imaculate. A very happy Becca!

Luckily we had arrived in Curitiba just before the weekend where the main square and old cobblestoned centre buzzed with flea markets and locals sat outside in the Mediterranean style bars sipping on a cold Brahma or five! We of course joined them and eventually found ourselves in a local hangout on the sunday afternoon listening to a local band.

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Curitiba was such a nice city that without a hesitation we would return one day and repeat our weekend of nothingness in the sunny stylish bars and character filled streets.

Next on our route was a highlight of many a South Americas travellers diary! Foz du Igazu and the infamous Igazu falls!

We had found a hostel online, booked our bus tickets and awaited what we hoped to be one of the highlights of our South America trip, and maybe our lives! We were again not to be dissapointed!

Bye Bye Curitiba! – Hello Foz!

Paraty – Living next door to Mr Havaianas!

Our next stop after Rio was the colonial fishing village of Paraty, 4 hours by bus and minivan South of Rio. We arrived mid afternoon and had an explore of this quiet little town. Amazingly pretty, set on the coast with islands dotted all over in the bay and a backdrop of jungle covered mountains- an amazing place to spend a few days! Continue reading Paraty – Living next door to Mr Havaianas!

Rio de Janeiro – Exploring the Marvelous city – Part 2.

Saturday in Rio was opened with breakfast at Mambembe. We had decided that we would spend today at the hostel rather than exploring. The truth was our feet were killing from the past few days exploring and we needed to save our energy for the visit to the Sambadrome that evening. Continue reading Rio de Janeiro – Exploring the Marvelous city – Part 2.

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