Foz do Iguazu
From the Pantanal, Cuaibá I took the airplane and flew to Foz do Iguazu.
Guys, the airplane tickets here are stupidly expensive but sometimes cheaper than the buses. And booking in advance is a must-do.
Foz do Iguazu is the perfect jumping-off point to the Iguazu Falls from both sides, the Bird Park and the Itaipu Dam.
Accommodation: Many people told me that Tetris Hostel (actually you gonna sleep in containers) is a great place to stay with and to mingle with like-minded people.
Finally arrived in Fox do Iguazu to my host Jairo and his roommates,
I decided to visit the Itaipu Dam, a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná
River located on the border between Paraguay and Brazil.
I convinced Jairo’s girlfriend Bruna to go with me.
Bruna doesn’t speak English at all, but due to my broken Portuguese and a lot of gestures and facial expressions we got along pretty easily.
In 2016 this power plant produced more energy than any other in the world. The dam is run by Brazil and Paraguay at the border between the two countries. The project started in the 1970’s and in 1984 the first generation unit started running.
(PS: “1984” by George Orwell is a great book recommendation by me).
Wikipedia wrote: “The installed generation capacity of the plant is 14 GW, with 20 generating units providing 700 MW each with a hydraulic design head of 118 metres (387 ft). In 2016, the plant employed 3038 workers.”
In my opinion, there is no need to visit the Itaipu Dam.
Even though the Panoramic Tour wasn’t expensive.
18 Reais (5,75 US$) for students. But if you don’t have enough time, you won’t miss anything if you wouldn’t visit the dam.
Therefore, if you go please look on their website for any further information. I went there at 4 pm and got a tour at 4.30 pm for an hour.
If you want to understand the Iguazu Falls, for me it is an obligation to visit the Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian and Argentinian side.
And I recommend everyone to visit the Brazilian side first and then the Argentinian Side.
On the Brazilian side you have a great and better overview of the waterfalls. And on the Argentinian side you will get super close to the gigantic and majestic Iguazu Falls.
The waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná are the largest waterfalls system in the world. The Devil’s Throat marks the border between those two countries. On the right side is the Brazilian territory, which has just over 20% of the jumps of these falls. The left side jumps are from Argentina, which make up almost 80% of the falls. Poor, Brazil.
“Iguazú” comes from the Guarani and means “Big water”, “y“, meaning “water”, and “ûasú “, meaning “big”.
Like every mystical and amazing places there is a legend about the Iguazu Falls.
It says a deity planned to marry a beautiful woman. But the woman didn’t fancy him so she fled with her mortal lover in a canoe.
Like the insane deities in the Greek mythology he got frigging mad.
So what to do? Due to jealousy he sliced the river and created the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.
Terrific! That’s how you solve problems, huh? What a moron.
By the way, a Spanish guy recorded the existence of the falls back in 1541.
How to access the waterfalls
You can either fly to the Argentine Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR) or the Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU).
I flew with LATAM Brasil to Foz do Iguazu, and once you exit the airport 100 metres on the left side is a bus to the bus terminal and city center, bus number 120. The other option is to take a taxi.
Actually you can enter from 3 different sides, Puerto Iguazú in Argentina, Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil and from Ciudad del Este in Paraguay.
But there are two national parks, the Iguazú National Park (Argentina) and Iguaçu National Park (Brazil).
Iguaçu National Park – Brazilian side
Walking along the canyon of the magnificent Iguaçú waterfalls on the Brazilian side with an extension to the lower base of “Garganta del diablo”- Devil’s Throat is breathtaking and made me speechless!
There are helicopter rides offered to have an aerial view over the Iguazu Falls. Before you decide to do it, please consider about the environmental impact on fauna and flora. On the other side, I don’t even want to know how expensive it is. From the city center the bus number 120 goes to the Iguazu Falls. In general, it is pretty easy to get around on the Brazilian side. The last stop is the Iguazu National Park. The bus will stop at the airport as well, which is sandwiched between the city and the National Park.
The Brazilian side offers tourists double-deck buses, which allow the visitors to see flora and fauna until reaching the waterfalls.
If you are lucky enough you can spot jaguars, toucans, caimans or monkeys.
In the park there are loads of greedy and endless-hungry coaties.
Please, don’t pet and feed them. Sometimes they can be very aggressive, even though they look cute. So watch out!
Entrance fee for foreigners: 64,30 Reais or 20,50 US-Dollars.
I don’t understand until today what kind of services they charged me.
But this is capitalism. Anyway, this is one of the places you should have seen once in your life-time.
And I can’t write down the feelings I had when I saw the waterfalls, I was too overwhelmed. The pictures and videos only justify 50% of its real beauty.
Iguazú National Park – Argentinian Side
At the entrance gate of the Iguazu National Park in Argentina it is such a rip-off!
Only at the ticket you can’t pay by credit card, but in all other shops and places of the National Park you can.
And if you don’t have any Argentinian Pesos, you have to withdraw money at the only ATM they have. Therefore, they will charge you 6 US-Dollars.
Such an obvious tourist rip-off. My Brazilian friend could have paid with Reais, but I couldn’t.
Important: Please plan a whole day for the Argentinian side if you access from the Brazilian side.
I had to get off with the bus on the Brazilian side to get a departure stamp of Brazil. Catching the next bus to the Argentinian side and get off again to get my entry stamp. On the way back I did it vice versa.
But NOBODY asked me, theoretically you don’t need to go through this time-wasting procedure. Though, I recommend you to do it.
Bus tickets to Argentina are only 5 Reais (1,60$).
In Argentina you have to buy another bus ticket at the tourism agency for a round-trip to the National Park. 150 Argentinian Pesos (8,70$) for the round-trip ticket. AND FINALLY after more than one hour I arrived at the ticket booth and couldn’t pay with Reais. How funny. Not.
The park in Argentina offers also a lot of activities and there is a train, which brings visitors to the entrance of Devil’s Throat, as well as the upper and lower trails. The falls of Devil’s Throat are the highest and deepest of the Iguazu Falls. Other trails crossing the forest and there are boats connecting to San Martin Island. Moreover, the inflatable boat services will take visitors super close to the falls.
I recommend you to do the orange/red and blue trail.
Once the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt expressed these words when she saw the falls: “Poor Niagara!”.
Bye Bye Brazil
This will be my last post about Brazil for this year as I am heading soon to Paraguay. But here are some cultural facts about Brazil and things I have noticed while visiting Brazil for more than 2 months.
Are you ready for some insights of my experiences in Brazil?
Therefore, here we go:
- I can’t see any beans anymore. First due to my experience with some sorts of beans back in France and also due to their dish Feijoada.
It is literally eaten everywhere in Brazil during lunchtime.
- When you want them to meet you at 3 pm. Just say: “Let’s meet at 2 pm.”
Of course not everyone, but in genral Brazilians are not the most punctual people on Earth.
- Once you speak Portuguese, people are incredibly friendly and you start to appreciate the culture, people and their way of life more.
Finding English-speakers in Brazil is a big challenge.
- Don’t get afraid, when people hug and kiss you all the time.
In Rio de Janeiro it was very common to receive text messages with hearts and kisses, even though you just met each other yesterday.
- Brazil is the most diverse country – referring to nature and people – I have ever been to.
- I will always remember Guaraná, Açai (my favourite dessert) and a nation who is crazily in love with football.
- Last but not least: I visited a friend’s place and saw a mini figure upside down in a glass of water. I thought she might be crazy. Peeps, if you see this, don’t worry, it is just a single woman searching for love.
Single women have been known to buy a small statue of Saint Anthony and put it upside down for a week in a glass of water and put him in the freezer. Blackmailing him to only put him out after they found a good lover.