Iguassu Falls 15th and 16th January
15 Jan 2008
The day starts early waking at 5am as we need to be packed, breakfasted and ready to leave by 6am.
A five hour bus journey with time to sleep along a beautiful coastal road where we were able to see the sandy beaches which Brazil is so famous for.
After a "mid morning" coffee break we were given another taste of Danny's idea in films. This time a little more acceptable but still language was not great even though it was English. I think it was called "Banged up!" or something like that.
We arrive at Sao Paulo airport and checked in for the plane taking us to Fos da Iguassu.
On arrival we were whisked off to the helipad and took a short helicopter ride to and over the Iguassu falls. For anyone that has watched "The Mission" it was awesome. I ended up buying the DVD of the ride and took quite a few short movie clips as well as several photos.
Spend two days exploring the tri-border region where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet at the junction of the Paraná and Iguazú rivers, with the focus on magnificent Foz do Iguaçu, or Iguassu falls.
The torrential Iguassu River crosses the State of Paraná in Southern Brazil from East to West. A few kilometres before its junction with the Paraná River it forms one of the most splendorous natural beauties of the world: Iguassu Falls. Over 2.7 kilometres long and an average flow of 1.750 m3/s, this wonder is located in a very special place. The contrast between the green of the vegetation and the dark colour of the basalt rocks with whirring waters plunging from a 72-meter high cliff is magical. At Iguassu there are 275 falls in all, spread over a 3-km area, some over 80m (262.4 ft) in height, making these cataracts wider than Victoria Falls and higher than Niagara! It should come as no surprise that UNESCO declared the region a World Heritage Site in 1986.
Originally "discovered" in 1541 by the Spaniard Juan Alvar Nuñez, he named the falls Saltos de Santa María. The name we use today means "great waters" in the Tupi-Guarani tongue. The falls are protected by two National Parks—one in Brazil and another in Argentina. Tours utilise trails and catwalks adapted to the landscape of the area, and walking is easy for all ages; guided tours of the complex are available several times a day. In order to see the falls properly you need to view them from both the Brazilian and the Argentine side: the Brazilian side offers the grand overview, and the Argentine side a closer look. The best time of the year to visit is from August to November, as during rainy season from May to July, flooding will likely prevent closer viewing from the catwalks.
Film buffs will remember that Iguassu was the site of several scenes from the film "The Mission." Not far from the falls, the ruins of the Jesuit missions of the era can still be visited on a day trip. Also of interest in the area is Itaipú, the largest hydroelectric complex in the world. Experience an exhilarating optional boat tour or helicopter trip for a bird's eye view, or simply marvel at nature's breadth and the roar of the falls.
From the helipad we went straight to the National park staying on the Brazil side and went for a walk to see the falls.
They seemed to go on for ever growing in size width and height. The weather was very hot with no shade but the views took your breath away.
We climbed a little more passing large Lizards on the ground carefully and then it appeared. "The Devil's throat waterfall". As you walked out on the walkway the spray made it very difficult to take photos but the cold shower was just what was needed.
After an ice cream we went to the hotel and then in the evening went to a traditional Latin America Samba show and dinner. Christine was falling asleep during dinner as it had been a very long day.
This morning we cross over to Argentina and saw the meeting of three countries, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina who share the falls at a point in the river Iguassu.
It took quite a while to clear immigration but then we were on the way to the National Park and after a rush round where instructions were a little confused we met up again at the railway station for the journey and walk out 1500 metres to the Argentinian view of The Devils throat falls. Another shower was a foretaste of what was to come.
We took a boat trip on the Iguassu river in a raft above the falls to see the flora and fauna and hoped the rower could beat the currents and avoid going over the falls!
Having safely negotiated this we went for a 45 minute truck tour into the rain forest where the guide explained that they had many plants in the forest. Some had flowers and some didn't have flowers. English wasn't her native language!
Christine was on the edge of the truck and had to negotiate several overhanging bushes and branches. This was where it got really exciting as we transferred to a jet boat and were given water proof bags to store all our belongings and clothes. We went 700 metres up the river to the base of the falls and then under the waterfalls. Talk about a power shower! We were all soaked. We climbed from the base of the falls to a place for a late lunch and rest before walking along the superior high walk across the top of the falls.
Returning to the hotel I then tried to update this trip journey getting to about this stage when pressing the update key the PC advised me I was no longer connected and it erased the last 30 minutes work! I now know to save the update every couple of minutes.