Touring Iguazu Falls

Dec 19th, 2014, 05:56 AM
  #1  
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Touring Iguazu Falls

By 7:30am I have checked out of my room at the Marcopolo Inn and I am waiting in the lobby area when a local gentleman walks in and attempts in English to correctly pronounce my name. After arranging a tour last night for US$40, I am being picked up for a visit to the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls and a trip to Paraguay.

Fortunately for me I do not need a visa for Brasil and the trip to Paraguay I can make without a visa since we will be visiting a “Commercial Shopping Zone”. I am excited about this because otherwise a visa for Paraguay would cost me US$160. For US$40, this tour which includes lunch is already a bargain.

A few stops to round up more passengers and soon our mini-van is crossing the Parana River into Brazil. With all of our passports in hand our driver leaves us waiting in the van as he goes to take care of the border crossing formalities. Once inside Brazil we are joined by a guide who speaks about seven different languages. I mumble a feeble “Ola” and I am slightly embarrassed that I only speak one.

At the entrance to the park our guide leads us in the right direction to pay our park entrance fee of about US$21. Here many forms of payment and currencies are accepted for the admission fee unlike in Argentina.

On a “Double-Decker” bus we are driven to the starting point of our tour although the bus makes a few brief stops before getting there. At these stops for additional fees there are many activities you can do on your own including kayaking and a ten minute helicopter ride for US$120.

Although you won't get drenched on the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls you will get an encompassing view of their spectacular beauty. Following a nicely laid out trail laced with dense green foliage, the views are simply amazing. At some points you can look below and see cool rainbows, minus pots of gold, hanging above the crashing waters.

Further along I venture out to Devil's Throat where with a whipping wind you will definitely get wet but not drenched. Being so close to the pounding crest of the falls belies the tranquility of the waters just above it. Looking in the distance I wonder how long of a journey this water will make before it again becomes just a gentle stream.

Near Devil's Throat you have the opportunity to see the falls from a different vantage point if you have the patience to wait for an elevator to take you to an observation platform. I take the stairs to meet up with the rest of my group then we take a walk to meet a gentleman who immediately impresses me.

Born in 1873, Alberto Santos-Dumont the “Father Of Flight” in Brazilian aviation is considered here in the same light as the Wright Brothers are in the United States. Santos-Dumont is also famous here for his role in the establishment of this Brazilian National treasure. My new found hero on two counts.

Back on the road it is time for lunch. At a 5-Star Brazilian restaurant we enjoy a buffet filled with local favorites. It takes me at least three plates plus a few scoops of passion fruit and toasted coconut ice cream to get a good scientific sampling of all the offerings. From Raw Kibe to Carpaccio, I'm loving it!

Video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMRI..._OzLrx0EcInIKQ
DMBTraveler is offline  
Dec 19th, 2014, 07:01 AM
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Just a note for future travelers reading here: Paraguay's Ciudad del Este is a mecca for Brazilian shopkeepers who come to buy loads of cheap Chinese junk to sell at their small shops in poorer little village/town neighborhoods. The commercial center is full of vendors who cater to these shopkeepers and others. I don't think I'd advise getting a visa, nor think any tour a bargain, to waste my precious time in this area to go see this. Plenty of other interesting stuff to do at the falls. So just understand what you're getting into and make sure that's how you want to allocate your time.

Glad you had a good trip to both sides of the park to see the falls, DMB. Amazing place, isn't it?
(Santos Dumont is a "touchy subject" for Americans who grew up with tales of the Wright brothers to broach with pride-full Brazilians, btw.
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Dec 19th, 2014, 03:41 PM
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SambaChula,

I did not think Ciudad del Este was worth the one hour stop especially since I am not one that's keen on shopping especially when travelling.

I did find it interesting that I was approached to buy a set of "brass knuckles" and a stun gun.

The tour was a bargain for me because I was more interested in seeing Itaipu Dam.. and checking Paraguay off my list of 195 countries to visit without having to pay for a visa.

As one that has been around aviation for as long as I can remember anyone that has made a contribution to the miracle and beauty of flight is a hero of mine
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Dec 20th, 2014, 07:36 AM
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DMBTraveler:
Thanks for the post and the video.

I was just amazed at my first sight of The Devil's Throat.

Were the Swallows flying in and out of the misty Falls.?
Percy is online now  
Dec 21st, 2014, 01:32 AM
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Percy,

I looked but did not see any of the birds flying in and out of the misty falls. It is interesting that some of them nest behind the falls.

The wonders of nature, still so amazing
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Dec 21st, 2014, 07:54 AM
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Wow!
Nesting behind the Fall, it must be dry there.

Thanks for answering.

Merry Christmas to You
Percy is online now  
Dec 21st, 2014, 04:13 PM
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The area around the falls has some amazing creatures. I remember a whole cluster of large yellow gold butterflies drinking from a puddle. And other colorful little butterflies landing on my arms to drink salt sweat. The little miko monkeys. The insistent coatis, especially the one that tried to steal my popscicle by climbing on my shoulder. The parrots swooping around to land in nearby trees. And being surrounded by the red and blue macaws (in their house-sized bird park enclosure but free to fly) eating plants out of my hand with those huge curved beaks.

Liked your videos, btw, DMB.
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Dec 21st, 2014, 04:40 PM
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SambaChula,

What time of the year did you visit? From your posting seems like I missed out on some cool experiences
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Dec 21st, 2014, 05:29 PM
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SambulaChula is right, I had the same experiences.

Seeing the Butterflies, Monkeys and Coatis.

I had Scarlett Macaws eating out of my breakfast plate.!!

Wish I could send you a picture !

I was there mid February to mid March
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Feb 25th, 2015, 09:21 AM
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DMB,
Thanks for the review! I'm visiting BA for two weeks in May, and I'm interested in going to the Falls in the last weekend of the month. It seems like flying is the best option, and you have to spend at least one night in the area (I will seek out the inn you recommended). I'm curious how you secured the tour to the Brazilian Side and Ciudad Del Este? (I too am not a huge fan of shopping, but it is interesting and exciting, and it's another country on my list!) Also, will an American passport be sufficient to cross into the Brazilian side of the Falls and Paraguay's Ciudad?? I will already have pesos in cash from my time in BA, is this the best method for payment around the Falls? In the event that I run out of cash, are credit cards accepted (the inn, the tour, the entrance fee?) Sorry for all the questions: thank you in advance!
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Feb 25th, 2015, 10:22 AM
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Sarah, if you can spend two nights, you might see more, given that travel in and out often take half a day each. You do want to see both sides of the park, as the views are quite different. There is a great Bird PArk on the Brazil side too.
If you hold a US passport, you need a visa for Brazil. Apply well in advance from home and read the site carefully. Note you need a (tentative) printed air itinerary, not paid tickets to make visa arrangements. You should have "reais" to use in Brazil. The Brazilian side of the park can be reached from the Argentine town by locaL buses or taxi, as can Ciudade del Este. There are plenty of hotels/pousadas/resorts/hostels in all price ranges both in Foz do Iguacu and on the road to the airport, and the same in Puerto Iguazu, a bit cheaper.
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Feb 26th, 2015, 12:36 PM
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As SambaChula tells, near the Falls park entrance there is a small but amazing zoo. It is entirely closed with nets and all the birds fly and walk freely inside that huge jail, as tall as the trees. We can cross a bridge together with birds. Iside there is another closed environment, where you walk really in the butterflies and hummingbirds paradise. It is a must. Much better than to visit the paraguayan junk market is to visit the birds park and watch the Cataratas again.
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Feb 26th, 2015, 12:58 PM
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Summer (mainly February) is the most raining time, perfect to watch the strongest falls and huge amount of water. This is the better time to visit the Itaipu dam, to see the open gates.
Winter is dry (mainly in July and August), the Cataratas are "weak" (actually a huge amount of water, but weak comparing to the raining months), so good to perceive the fine details of beauty.
Anytime is good, anyway.
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Mar 4th, 2015, 06:03 PM
  #14  
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spanishsarah47,

You can purchase tour to Brazil side ($40) at bus station across the street from Marcopolo Inn... Unfortunately with a US passport you do need a visa for Brazil

Cash did seem to be preferred method of payment with discounts available for overnight bus trips back to BA. Have heard the bus ride is not too bad but I think flying from BA is a better option.

Enjoy your trip...
DMBTraveler is offline  
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