Sunday, March 20, 2011

Iguazú falls, March 2011

From the Puerto Iguazú airport, we took the Four Tourist minibus to Los Troncos, the small hotel on Calle San Lorenzo where we stayed.  Sofia, the owner (I think) of Los Troncos, recommended this in lieu of an individual taxicab.  Good call!  It goes all over town and drops off all the passengers at their various hotels.

The waterfalls themselves are in national parks to the east of town.  This is true of either town:  Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, or Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.  The Brazilian town is rather larger than the Argentine one, and there seem to be more and larger hotels there.  From the Brazilian side, one can appreciate the magnitude and the majesty of the falls.  Those panoramas are seen from a distance.  On the Argentine side, you find walkways that go out over the falls themselves.  You can look over and down.  Of course, you will get wet, as you can see above.

If you are traveling on a US passport, then you will need to get a Brazilian visa if you want to visit that side.  Look on the web for the current procedures.  There is a charge, and a delay, at whatever consulate general you use.  This is because the US makes their citizens do the same to get a visa.  Sofia told us that Americans can get a visa with a twenty-four hour turnaround at the Brazilian vice-consulate in Puerto Iguazú, but I can’t verify that myself.  We have our Brazilian visas from last year.

Besides the falls themselves, you also get to see the wildlife in the parks.  It is the jungle.  Think insects!  Fascinating swirls of colorful butterflies!  Catching them in photos was at best difficult and usually impossible.

We spent one day at each side of the falls, and on the third day, we took the bus from Puerto Iguazú to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.  That is not a very pleasant place.  Passport control in Argentina seems rather tight, but there was none at all in Paraguay.  The main attraction of Ciudad del Este seems to be a shopping district right after the border bridge.  If you have ever been to the markets along the Mexican side approaches to the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing, then you know what the Paraguayan shopping area looks like.  We didn’t see any organized crime or Hezbollah activity, but web stories indicate that there is quite a bit of both there.  There seemed to be quite a bit of petty smuggling by Argentine tourists.

On the first day, we ate at the small restaurant in Los Troncos, and that was nice.  On the Brazilian side, we made the mistake of eating at the buffet in the park center.  Over-priced and under-good.  When we got back from being drenched on the Argentine side, we had a very nice fixed price meal at the restaurant across from the bus station.  In Paraguay, we had roast pork at a sidewalk café/barbecue.  But don’t think it was like the ones in Paris’s Rue de Rivoli, because it wasn’t.  The pork tasted good, but…it was where it was.

Another enjoyable thing about our short stay in Iguazú was meeting other travelers.  This is always one of the nicest things about our travels.  Iguazú is one of those places that attracts people from all over the world, and it adds an extra dimension to a visit.  After all, we all had come a long way to a very remote place in the jungles of South America.

1 comment:

  1. sorry for my terrific english:
    Until about 10 or 15 years ago, Paraguay's had not office for to record of the property autmomotor. In Paraguay many organizations that stole cars in Argentina and then sell in Paraguay without papers or UNARMED. Since that time there is a law in Argentina where the registration of the cars must be stored in all the windows of cars (in addition to traditional in chassis and engine). NOw you can see in all argentine cars write with acid in four windows: number of car registracion plate , close to number of engine). someone understand me??? :)

    a friend worked 4 years in this city in a money exchange office. anything can happen there ..... or anything ... all foreing peolple live in Ciudad del Este in a only one safe countrie club.