waterfalls

EN ROUTE TO IGUAZU – IGUAZU FALLS

Our last full day of the trip. We woke up early and after a quick dip in the hostel pool and some breakfast, we set off to see the Argentine side of the Iguazu falls. After a short bus ride we had arrived at the entrance and after seeing the Brazilian side the day before we were a little underwhelmed with the set up as it all seem a bit dated and in need of repair. It seemed a little sleepy too but then we realised that we had come quite early as we wanted time to explore everything.DSCN0700DSCN0692DSCN0703

There are two main walking trails to see the falls. One focuses on the panoramic views and being close to the falls and the other walks along the top of the falls. We obviously did both and had a great time walking the trails and wildlife spotting, we even saw a crocodile resting in the water!

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We were a little unlucky though as the Devil’s Throat viewing point was closed and it is apparently the best part of the falls, however we still had a great day.DSCN0764DSCN0793

There are lots of extra paid tours that you can do and after hearing reports from people at the hostel that the boat tour was fantastic, I was really eager to have a go and whe she saw how close they went to the falls, Josephina happily agreed to go too. We saw people walking up from the dock looking absolutely soaked so when it started to rain, we knew that we were going to get wet whatever we chose to do.DSCN0812

So we donned our life jackets and we were off on the boat which took us literally RIGHT under the falls. The force was so strong I thought one of my contact lenses had fallen out even though I had my eyes clenched shut! The boat trip might have been a little bit expensive, it was more or less the same price as the entrance to the park, but it was 100% worth it! We were completely drenched afterwards but it was still raining so it didn’t really matter. We were lucky to have had a bright day the previous day on the Brazilian side.DSCN0805

There was one last trail on the map, a 3,5km walk through the rainforest to an isolated waterfall. Although we were tired it was the best part of the day, apart from the mosquitos. We met some Dutch travellers who were turning around as they didn’t have any insect repellent but after sharing some of ours (Josephinas really) we all set off together. As we were all speaking quite loudly I think we scared off all the wildlife so we didn’t get to see many animals, until later!

We made our way down the trail through the rainforest passing only a handful of others which was lovely after the hustle and bustle of all the other tourists of the main trails. We finally made it to the waterfall after passing a whole groups of locals who told us we had to go for a swim so swim we did. We even managed to clamber up onto the rocks and get a massage from the water!DSCN0817DSCN0818

It was such a fantastic way to spend the afternoon and when we had finished we went to the lookout at the top of the waterfall to admire the view. We were looking out across the forest, the river and Brazil in the not so far distance when we finally saw the wildlife that we have been longing to see! Monkeys! They were quite far away but we could see them swinging from tree to tree and it was so peaceful and removed from civilisation. Just a perfect moment observing the monkeys undisturbed.DSCN0821

On the trail back which I walked barefoot I even got to see a tiny little rainforest frog and a colourful wild parrot! The only thing that wasn’t perfect was the long journey back to Goya. We went via Corrientes and after travelling for more than 15 hours after such a jam-packed trip I couldn’t wait for bed!DSCN0781

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EN ROUTE TO IGUAZU – CATARATAS DO IGUASSU

Puerto Iguazu! We arrived at our destination after enjoying a lovely view of the stars from the top of the double decker bus and armed with a few addresses and a guidebook we set off to find a hostel. Luck wasn’t on our side in the beginning but we eventually found somewhere after the fifth hostel! After dipping our toes in the water of the pool we thought we would have an early night but we got invited over to a table with a whole mix of different people. It was really nice meeting lots of people and finding our their reasons for travelling, just gives me even more of the travel bug.

The next day bright and early we set off to the bus station to catch a bus to the Brazilian side of the falls and how lucky we were with the weather, it was a bright clear day, perfect for all the following pictures! One thing not to worry too much about is passing through Brazilian immigration, the bus driver will come and collect your passports and then bring them back to you stamped! It was a little strange though when he brought them back though and didn’t even check if it was your passport you were taking. Turned out ok though, I still have my passport and now it just has an extra stamp!

As you may or may not know, it has always been my ultimate goal to go to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro specifically but Brazil in general so I cannot explain in words just how excited I was to be crossing the border. I honestly was so happy that I thought I would cry. This happiness continued throughout the day as the sights we were about to see were absolutely spectacular!

The bus then delivered us straight to the entrance of the falls, we bought our tickets together and before we knew it we were on an open top double decker bus bringing us through the rainforest. After disembarking and following a little trail, we were presented with our first views of the falls!

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Then we were presented with our first encounter with a coatimundi! Shocked would not be a good enough description as it dug it’s teeth into Josephina’s bag presumably looking for food. Some squawking and swatting later, we had learned our lesson to not leave any bags on the ground!!! They are pretty cute when not attacking you though.

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There are no words to describe just how amazing the Iguazu falls are in person. I’ve been to Niagra falls before but there’s no comparison, the Iguazu falls are on a different level. The Spanish”Iguazu” or the Portuguese “Iguassu” or “Iguaçu” comes from the Guarani meaning “big water”.

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The Brazilian side of the falls offer spectacular views across all the waterfalls, of which there are over 270 which mostly belong to Argentina. Some of the trail even allowed us to get closer to the falls as well as a higher viewing point offering a panoramic view of everything.

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After spending a few hours meandering along the designated trail, we left the national park to discover the bird park next door, the Parque das Aves.
DSCN0670My camera battery died quite soon after entering the park but I still managed to get some shots of a few parrots. Although these photos show the railings of a cage, there were a lot of walk through open aviaries with birds flying overhead.

DSCN0670We even got to see a spectacular humming bird in the butterfly enclosure. The Parque das Aves is well worth the visit and definitely a great way to spend the afternoon. You even get to hold a parrot at the end. DSCN0675 DSCN0682

This guy was maybe a little too friendly….

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Josephina seemed to be able to connect with him on a different level.

IMG_20141124_163751After walking around all day, we decided to head into Foz do Iguaçu to see what the Brazilian border town had to offer and rest our feet. Foz has much more of a city vibe than Puerto Iguazu with a main shopping street and not many restaurants or cafés to be found. We eventually found one and relaxed in the warmth of the late afternoon sun and decided we would head back to the Argentine side for dinner as we both preferred the small town atmosphere in Puerto Iguazu.

We managed to find the bus, or actually the bus found us and stopped by the side of the road to let us on, and we made our way to the border. The bus drops you off at the immigration centre and they can either wait for you or they tell you to get the next one. We were told the later so decided to forgo waiting and walk across the river to the Argentine immigration. The sun was setting and it was probably a little reckless but there’s no fun in life if you always play it safe. I think it was around a 4km walk and it was still pretty warm so we power walked across the border. A nice way to end the day!