Day 10 - Fri 7th Nov - Iguassu, Brazil
After spending all day and night travelling we arrived at the hotel in Foz de Iguassu at 8am.
Iguassu falls are on the border between Brazil, Argentina & Paraguay. Foz is on the Brazillian side and that was where we stayed for the two nights we were there. The hotel was probably the best quality hotel we had staye in on the tour and the straff were really friendly. Or rooms weren´t ready when we arrived but they had two showers we could use (one boys one girls) which were defintely needed after a full day of travelling! After everyone was changed and ready (which took a while) we went with the guide we had for the next couple of days over to the Brazillian edge of the waterfalls.
The first place we stopped at was the helicopter base! Out of the 13 of us it was only me and Nick that wanted to do it. It was about 50 pound for 10 minutes - it was worth every penny though! I managed to nudge my way into the front seat (there were 4 of us in there) so I had the best view. I´m kicking my self now for not taking a video of it on my phone but I just didnt think about it. As soon as we took off all you could see was the green of trees and in the distance a white ball of what looked like smoke (the water spray coming off the waterfall). As we got closer to it we had really good views but we were quite high up as they are not allowed to fly very close to it anymore, so you could not really appreciate the scale of it that well.
When we got back down we headed back to the minibus and drove through the national park to the edge of the waterfall. There is a trail that runs along the side of the falls which is about 1km long - took us an hour and half to walk it! We had to stop every couple of steps to take photos because the views were incredible and they just got better and better the closer we got. We saw lizards, iguanas, more butteflies than I thought it was possible to have in one place, and member of the racoon family (cant remember name) that are native to the national park there which just walked straight up to me! Ourt guide told us that the water pressure of the falls is usually 1000 cubic meters per second but as they had rain the previous week the pressure was 6000 cubic meters per second that day. The spray was very strong and we all got soaked especially as we got closer to the main section. It was a very nice and relaxing afternoon though and just what we needed after such a long day travelling.
In the evening we went to a restaurant to a restaurant just next door to the hotel and had an enormous steak! After that we headed out to a bar with the hotels owner and some of her friends. She had reserved a table in there for us at the front near near the stage that had a band doing mainly Brazillian and salso type music. It was a nice place and felt very local rather than touristy. Didn´t manage to last too long as we were still shattered from all the travelling the night before.
Day 11 - Sat 8th Nov - Iguazu, Argentina
We had an 8am start today to cross over the border to the Argentinian side of the falls. It´s not very far but it took us about an hour and half to get there as we had to cross the Brazillian and Argentine border controls.
The Argentinian side of the falls are quite different from the Brazillian, it´s bigger with more to do but the views are mainly from the top of the falls (including the river that runs down into the falls). Whereas the Brazillian side is more panoramic with views of looking up into the falls.
We had a full and fun packed day including wlking roudn trails, little train ride, jeep ride into the national park. We also got into an inflatable rowing boat with one Argentine blocke rowing all 10 ofg us. We were quite scared when we got in as we were heading downstream towards the drop of the waterfall! But he expertly moved us away down one of the side channels. Then he directed the boat up against an island in the middle of the river to show us a cayman (looked like a crocodile to me) that was lying there on the bank. We were literally a few inches away, but our guide later assured us that caymans are quite tame!
The highlight of the day was finishing on another boat trip on the bottom river (after the falls have dropped). This time it was like a speed boat that took us right to the bottom of the waterfalls - completely drenched again! Out boat driver was also a bit crazy and was following in the path of another boatand kept criss crossing in the waves that the boat in front was churning up, so that we were being thrown around all over the place and getting splashed. When we actually got to the bottom of the waterfall you could hardly see anything as the spray was so stong - we were all completely head to toe soaked as though we had jumped into the water fully clothed.
When we got back to the hotel on the Brazillian side it was about 6.30pm so it had been quite a full day. We headed out to dinner to the same restaurant we went to the previous night, then got the passports out again to cross the border to Argentina for the second time that day and went out to a club on the Argentinian side. The hotel owner and her friends were also out in the club that night and we even bumped into the guy from the rowing boat! Had a great night and we got back about 5am after and fantastic and totally shattering day.
Day 12 - Sun 9th Nov - Iguassu, Brazil
We had planned a day of activities (such as a quick shopping trip to Paraguay) but given the previous day and nights events, didnt really fancy doing much. Had to check out of the hotel at midday but we werent leaving until 4pm so ended up just strolling around the town for some lunch (proved quite hard as it was Sunday), then hung around the hotel for a bit checking some emails.
When 4pm came it was then a minibus ride back over to the Argie side and after 12 days a final farewell to Brazil. Then time to catch another overnight bus to take us accross Argentina to the Uruguay border. We got stopped by the Argentina military 3 times along the journey, once they checked everyones passports, the second time was a random check of a few people, and the thrird time the sniffer dogs came on board. Luckily all the stops were quite early on in the journey so it wasn´t too disruptive to trying to get some sleep.