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Iguaçu Falls fast trip

Old Oct 6th, 2017, 07:25 AM
  #1  
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Iguaçu Falls fast trip

Iguaçu or Iguazú or Iguazu--whatever language or translation, the falls are amazing.

I would have enjoyed 2+ days in this area to see the falls off peak, go bird watching, shop a bit, but my traveling companion was on a tight schedule, so I compromised to 1.5 days for me and 1 day for her.

We were arriving late on Friday night and then my friend would fly out early Sunday and I would leave late afternoon Sunday. Friday night flight from GRU was 1 hour late, so arrived after 1am. My flight on Sunday was delayed 1 hour due to flat tire. LATAM.

I settled on first night at San Juan Eco Hotel (close to airport, shuttle, reasonable price), then splurge on second night at Belmond to have late park access and putting me in the park for my .5 day. A $100 back offer from booking.com helped, but it was still the most expensive hotel room I have ever booked. SJE Hotel--shuttle mixup so took taxi, noisy, busy--I would not recommend. Belmond--high touch staff and service, lovely room and grounds, slow restaurant with mediocre food--I would recommend hotel.

The falls have to be seen to be believed. The brochure says more than 275 falls (counting upper falls separate from lower falls, I think). Each one is a waterfall that people would make a special hike to anywhere else. The walkways take you on top, below, alongside--so accessible. Absolutely one of the most amazing places I have seen! I walked around with a silly grin on my face the entire time.

We hired a car/taxi at the hotel with the help of the bellman and were on our way to the Argentina side first. Because of the late arrival, we didn't get started as early as we planned, but we needed some rest and food. We followed standard advice--walk directly to the train, waiting about 20 minutes before boarding and riding the slow train to Devils Throat, lingering along the walk to arrive after the crowd to the viewpoint. It was still very crowded, so we waited, looked around, and eventually the wave of people left and we had a few moments almost to ourselves. Then--back on the train and on to the lower trail. Short snack time, then quickly on the upper trail. We skipped a few falls and walkways because of our time constraint. No boat ride. No shopping at the local crafts stand. Back to the exit to find a taxi to take us back to Brazil, collect our bags, and move on to the other side of the park.

We were in the park from about 9:30 or 10:00 until 3:00 or 3:30. I could have stayed another 2+ hours to have time to look at the crafts, the museum, take all the trails, relax, and not push my friend to walk so fast. San Martin Island was not open, so not an option for us, but I would like to go out there too.

If I were going again (I'd love to), I think I would go in reverse--start with the lower trail to see falls from the lower level looking up, move to the upper trail to see from the top, then take the train to see Devil's Throat, which is the most dramatic. The train was packed when we went in the morning, but had only a handful of people by 2pm. Of course, one has to watch the last return train time to ensure enough time to walk the trail and enjoy the view over the falls.

It was crowded on a Saturday in September with packed trains steady flows of people on trails, and waits for people with selfie sticks to get out of the views. Lots of coatis aggressively trying to take food and packs. A few lovely birds.
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 07:35 AM
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We arrived at the Brazil park gate just in time for the Belmond shuttle. From here everything went smoothly--to the hotel, leave the bags (they will be in your room), and hit the trail directly across from the hotel. Because it was now around 4pm, hardly anyone was on the trail. We stopped at every view, walked out to the viewpoint below Devils Throat in driving mist, rode up the elevator to the top view, and then walked back to the hotel. We were wet, tired, but happy.

Turns out we could have ridden the park bus from the food/shopping area back to the hotel. The last bus doesn't leave until 6:30pm or so. So outside guests get later entry, but do not have to be out of the park at closing time. It is true (despite people at Argentina park telling us it wasn't so) that Belmond guests can wander in the park before/after hours (maybe the park guards would disagree, but hotel staff said OK), but once it is dark, there isn't much to see.
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Old Oct 6th, 2017, 11:07 AM
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Spectacular, aren't they, the falls?
Sounds like you had a good trip, if brief.
Too bad you don't seem to have had time for the Bird Park; one of the highlights of my trip was being surrounded by free-flying macaws and parrots.
Also the coati "characters", one of whom climbed up my shoulder to get at my popsicle.
The boat ride under Devil's Throat is also pretty thrilling.
Looks like you'll just have to plan another trip someday!
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 02:11 PM
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Yes, I plan for my husband and I to go to Antarctica next winter and I was telling him how we could do a side trip to the falls from BA. I'm not sure I'll get him there on that trip, though.
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