Written by nofootprint on 27 Dec, 2010
I think to be honest I really wanted to be able to check Paraguay off my travel list ...and we were so close! There are lots of people walking across the bridge from Foz do Iguacu but mostly locals . It would probably be fine…Read More
I think to be honest I really wanted to be able to check Paraguay off my travel list ...and we were so close! There are lots of people walking across the bridge from Foz do Iguacu but mostly locals . It would probably be fine if you were in a group. There are border stops at each side and border police but I didn't see anyone being checked.We arranged before we left Argentina to have a van take us over , wait and take us back . We were the only English speaking ones , the others were from Argentina. I was concerned when we didn't stop at the brazil side to have our exit stamps ...but we had no problems . We just drove right through both sides.We booked this through http://www.ripioturismo.com.ar/eigr.htm . Cost $53.00 eachThey arranged our pickup at the airport and the touring on both sides of the falls.On our visit we had a great time just roaming around and taking in the sights of this busy border town . We stopped for a coke at a little "whole in the Wall" cafe and had a great chat in even with our limited Spanish with the owner. He was so friendly and welcoming. He and his wife own the little spot and rely on the flood of day-trippers for their livelihood. His name was Carlos!!We were looking for a Paraguay T-shirt and he hustled up the guys in the next shop to track one down for us. Unfortunately it was a bright red and white striped . Oh well!I know we didn't see much but it was neat to see the border town we had heard so much about!!The border town of Ciudad del Este is shear madness. I have to admit I love to shop in markets but the stuff here is such junk , straight from China I'd say and not the good knockoff stuff. We enjoyed the chaos though and it was pretty much what we expected.Close
Written by SeenThat on 24 Mar, 2007
In the hottest month of the year, by noon, I arrived to Asuncion for the first time. As I approached downtown my excitement grew, because the place reminded me of a much loved city. A wide, lazy river delimited it on one side, the houses…Read More
In the hottest month of the year, by noon, I arrived to Asuncion for the first time. As I approached downtown my excitement grew, because the place reminded me of a much loved city. A wide, lazy river delimited it on one side, the houses were low and often there were huge gaps among them. Any non-constructed patch of land seemed to have been conquered by lush, wild vegetation. Many of the people around had attractive, dark skin and slightly slanted eyes. A digital thermometer at the central plaza showed forty-four Celsius and it was horridly humid; water seemed to be the place essence.“It is like Vientiane, the Laotian capital,” I silently summarized while I left my luggage at the room that was awaiting me.After a quick snack at the Lido Bar, I crossed the street to the central plaza and decided to make a quick survey of the center despite the heat and the bright, burning sun. The first hours in a place provide the strongest, more long-lasting impressions and I wanted to take advantage of that.The Plaza de los Heroes was a typical colonial one, except for the fact that two perpendicular streets divided it in quarters and that one of the corners – next to the Chile and Palma junction and to the Lido Bar – was occupied by the Panteon de los Heroes (Heroes Pantheon). The last was a ghastly reminder of the country bloody and disastrous wars; avoiding it, I walked around the plaza and found the regular grid of streets so common in colonial towns. The few people around moved slowly and the gaps between following cars was of whole minutes. The fact that it was Sunday afternoon for sure contributed to the desolation; the place looked unnaturally empty, almost ghostly so. Dogs and cats were absents and birds could not be heard. Was it the heat?Returning to Chile Street I headed for the riverside; after a few blocks the regular streets’ grid broke apart and the 19th century cathedral appeared at the right side. I did a mental note to visit its museum at the first opportunity, crossed the Plaza de la Constitucion – again, divided by several streets – and found in front of me the Congreso Nacional (National Congress). The imposing building blocked the sight of the languidly blue river, but walking to the left trough the Avenida Republica quickly corrected that. I had been warned beforehand by the hotel concierge about this area and the reason soon became evident. Groups of young people stood by the corners and followed my advance with a predators’ interest. I put my camera away and began walking faster. The well guarded Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace) came soon into sight. It seemed too big for such a sleepy town and was the clearest sign to the country former importance. In front of it was Casa Viola, a historic museum closed on Sundays.Few other sights were of particular interest, except for the railway station on Eligio Ayala Street. It dates back to 1856 and was one of the first in the continent. It was relatively well preserved and well worth the extra few blocks I walked to reach it.At a slow pace – with time to admire the colonial surroundings and to avoid getting overheated – the walk took a couple of hours.Close
Written by actonsteve on 18 Dec, 2002
If you fly down to Iguacu make sure you sit on the left hand side of the plane. As you approach the city the pilot banks the aircraft to give a stunning view of the chocolate brown Iguacu river 4,000 ft below. From this height…Read More
If you fly down to Iguacu make sure you sit on the left hand side of the plane. As you approach the city the pilot banks the aircraft to give a stunning view of the chocolate brown Iguacu river 4,000 ft below. From this height you can see the great swathe of the National Park rolling away to the horizon with it's tropical rainforest stretching for tens of miles. The chocolate brown of the Iguacu weaves it's way through this jungle with the promotory of Brazil on one side and the curve of Argentina on the other. We could see a mighty rift in the earth, spume rose from it's depths and the cascading white of the falls could be seen from the plane. The whiteness of the falls contrasted with the reddish brown of the meandering river and green jungle to create an amazing spectacle (see photo).And this was just a prelude of what was to come.Whilst Niagara is only a short bus ride from Toronto and Victoria in easy reach of Bulawayo - Iguacu is a long way from the tourist mecca of Rio de Janeiro. In my opinion, no visitor who comes to Brazil should miss Iguacu Falls but there is the practicalities of reaching them which is quite tricky. The bus from Rio costs $50 and takes 24 hours stopping at Sao Paulo and Curitiba. No trains really reach it from Rio de Janeiro state so that leaves air as the best way to reach the Falls. Airfare with VASP or VARIG comes to about £100 return and there is one plane a day from Rio de Janeiro. As well as the spectacular approach described above it is probably the best solution for those travellers who are short of time. The little airport at Foz de Iguacu is very busy and about a mile from the town costing about 10 reals. There are buses just outside which will drop you outside the local bus terminal on Avenida Kubitschek.I would recomend a package to see the falls. There are numerous tour operators in Ipanema and Copacabana and competition keeps prices low and quality high. I bagged a tour with 'Shangri-La' for £166 ($276) which included flight, accomodation, park entry, tours and dinner - which is an absolute bargain. The tour was run by Ipracom Travel (email@example.com) in Rua Visconda de Piraji in Ipanema. The advantage of this is being with like-minded tourists (providing you can speak each others languages) and you don't have to worry about travel and border formalities. But if you want to do it independently you can book accomodation at the tourismo in the airport when you arrive. Taxis and buses just cost a couple of reals and cheap hotels abound in Foz de Iguacu.Some people tend to base themselves at Puerto Iguazu in Argentina. This is a much smaller town with much less tourist facilites. Foz de Iguacu is almost a city and is laid out in a grid pattern, it is perfectly safe to wander around in. And the favela which is down by the river is a long way from the tourist area. In fact Foz de Igacu has a good choice of hotels, bars and restaurantes and you must try one of the churasaria's while you are here. The streetlife is just as exciting as anywhere else in Brazil and down here on the borderlands people are much more friendly and natural then the cities of the north.Getting to the Brazilian side.Put aside at least an afternoon for the Brazilian side. The spectacle of the overall panorama of the falls needs time to take in. It can be reached by public transport from Foz de Iguacu or on a pre-arranged tour. Most hotels in Iguacu will have their own tour agencies or know of someone who runs them. With a tour you don't have to worry about transport and admittance but will be constrained by time and may be more rushed then you want to be. If you do it independently then you are your own master (or mistress?) and can spend hours lingering at the falls. Both have advantages.You can get to the falls simply by your own transport. A taxi from central Foz will be just twenty reals and five reals more per hour for waiting. They will drop you off at the park entrance which means you still have a long walk along the Avenida Cataratas to the start of the Falls trails. Buses are cheaper and go right into the centre of the Brazilian park at 2 reals from central Foz de Iguacu. They run from the Terminal Urbana (city station) which is opposite the military barracks along Avenida Kubitschek along the northern part of the city centre. This is easily walkable from your hotel if you are staying in the city and the green plush buses run every twenty minutes. They will wait at the entrance whilst you get your 8 real entry to the park and then disgorge you at the visitor centre - a short walk to the start of the trails. And to get back, simply wait at the same place and pay your 2 real fare.Getting to the Argentinean sideThis is much trickier, involving a border crossing - but still can be done. On my flight back to Rio I chatted with a Spanish traveller who had done both sides independently. He had done the Argentinean side in one day whilst staying in Brazil but this required some forward planning and a change of four buses. Here's what to do...From the terminal urbana in Foz de Iguacu look for green buses with Puerto Iguasu on the front. These are heading for the Argentine border so DON'T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT. Also check you are not one of these nationalities who requires a visa for Argentina - UK, US and EU citizens are OK but we had an Indian tourist on our tour and he had to get a visa to visit Argentina even for the day. The bus costs only 2 reals and heads west along the BR-77 to Argentina. Interestingly when you cross the Ponte Trancedo Neves bridge where the Iguacu is calm and flat the vegetation you see on the other side is Paraguay.At the border unless you are of Argentine or Brazilian nationality you will have to get out and go through customs. The bus will leave without you - but don't panic - you can use your ticket on the next bus which will be about twenty minutes later. Now you are in Argentina the bus will drive into the town of Puerto Iguasu. Here you get out and look around for a bus marked Puerto Canoas which stops at the entrance to the NP - these run every hour. The bus will drop you at the entrance and it is a short walk to the visitors centre and the start of the miniature railway to Garganta di Diablo. Taxis from the bus station cost 40 pesos.And of course to get back to Brazil you have to do it all in reverse including getting off the bus at the border and catching the next one. An early start is needed for a full day at the falls and you will probably fall back on getting taxis to and from the border. The advantage of taking a tour is that the guide will do all the border formalities for you while you sit in the vehicle. I get very nervous around any kind of borders as I was once trapped on the wrong side of the Mexican/Texan border with no visa to get back in America (it's a long story...) but at the Argentina border I was especially nervous. You see......I am British..Argentineans are a lovely people I am sure but I kept my mouth shut and head down just in case. The rest of our tour laughed at me as there was a big sign just inside the border declaring'LAS MALVINAS EST ARGENTINE' (The Falklands are Argentine).I pulled my cap over my face, sank into my seat and affected an Irish accent...Close
This may be the highlight of your trip to Iguacu Falls.An independent operator offers an excursion which includes a trip through the jungle and a zodiac (inflatable speedboat) that whizzes amongst the cataracts and under the falls themselves. This is the ultimate thrill ride as…Read More
This may be the highlight of your trip to Iguacu Falls.An independent operator offers an excursion which includes a trip through the jungle and a zodiac (inflatable speedboat) that whizzes amongst the cataracts and under the falls themselves. This is the ultimate thrill ride as the pilot spins and speeds along the Iguacu river zooming into Argentina and Brazil and pushing to the limit until each passenger is absolutely soaked and thoroughly exhilarated.The company - Macuco Tours - operates on the road in and out of the park. For 90 reals (£31/$45) you get a thrill of a lifetime and everyone who visits Iguacu should do this at least once. After paying your money (they accept international credit cards) you must wait at the entrance to the jungle for a trailer to take you down to the river. The trailer appears for new people every twenty minutes and while you wait you can coat yourself in the natural insect repellant on offer. Insects buzz in from the jungle - more attracted to the repellant then dispelled by it. An open-air trailer then chugs out of the rainforest and you climb on board. The guide was a young man with a very clear concise voice and who spoke in Spanish, English and Portuguese. The trailer rolls along at a very slow pace allowing us good views of the jungle. We would sometimes stop and the guide would pick out giant trees and poisonous shrubs. A troop of capuchin monkeys was spotted making it's way across the upper canopy. The branches would quiver then a huge black shape would launch itself at the next tree. We also spotted hummingbirds and green billed toucans in the tops of branches.After half an hour we transferred to a landrover. The track got very narrow and headed downhill at a scary angle where only a landrover would have the agility. We got out and we were on the northern banks of the Rio Iguacu. We were downstream of the falls, a mile or so from where the Iguacu turns into the Parana and around us were towering streaked granite banks and looming jungle. Bobbing on the brown water was a floating raft with inflatable zodiacs attached. We clambered across a swinging walkway to the raft, took off our shoes and put on inflatable lifejackets, and then climbed into a waiting zodiac. The pilot then gunned the engines and spun us into the river.The Iguacu is riven with cataracts and we bounced off these as we sped upstream to the waiting waterfalls. The currents and swirls were taken at speed making the zodiac jump and bump much to the enjoyment of it's passengers. The pilot pushed it at real speed and spun in a circle making the zodiac tilt on its side and making us think we would tip into the river. Then over further rapids and into the main falls. The light of day started to fade and softened the Argentine falls which now towered above us. We were seeing these falls at a different angle and many of us stood up to take pictures of the falls from river level (see photo). Then it was a zoom and we were in the gorge leading from the Giganta di Diablo.Bump! Bludgeon! He hit the water at speed.We were washed with spray and before we knew it we were under the falls. The spray was so intense we were soaked instantly. You had no option but to close your eyes as the water washed over you and you could taste it as it got into your mouth. With it's passengers soaking and laughing with pleasure the zodiac backed up, spun around, and went under again. This time we almost died of delight as the torrent knocked us sideways and soaked us to the skin. With my glasses obscured and my mouth full of water we turned around and went back in. By this time the entire zodiac was shrieking and laughing.We finally backed away and the Giganta di Diablo from river height looked beautiful in the twilight with fading rainbows. We clambered back aboard the raft on a massive high. I've had my South American river experience. It doesn't get any better then this.Close
For one of the greatest sights in South America, indeed one which epitomises this exciting continent, - come to the Brazilian side of Iguacu Falls. The vista of forty waterfalls stretched along a gigantic cliff face four miles long is earthshaking. Your ears will be…Read More
For one of the greatest sights in South America, indeed one which epitomises this exciting continent, - come to the Brazilian side of Iguacu Falls. The vista of forty waterfalls stretched along a gigantic cliff face four miles long is earthshaking. Your ears will be deafened, your eyes will be as wide as they can go and you will be happy from being drenched head to foot in the spray from this wonder. It is almost too much for the eye to take. The power of nature is overwhelming here - parrots sqawk, butterflies land on your hand to suck up the sweat, currents and eddies swirl violently and 100 year old trees tower above you inhabited by capuchin monkeys and brightly coloured toucans.For as much a part of the experience of the falls is the national park itself which stretches for tens of miles in every direction. Visitors can sit and watch coatis emerge out the forest and beg for food. These strange racoon like creatures snuffle around with their stiff brush-like tails high in the air. The spray from the falls has created a wonderland inhabited by brightly coloured birds, animals and insects. Vegetation that is unthinkable on the flat Parana plain grows in profusion here is this paradise of perpetual sunlight and light rain. And as you drive from the parks entrance you may be able to spot wildlife - hawks perch on the grass verge, butterflies flit around like little jewels and lizards lay out catching the sunlight.I have covered how to get to the Brazilian side in another entry. As you travel down the road to the Cataratas hotel on the southern side is the base for the Macuco rides which are not to be missed. This is only a five minute walk to the visitors centre which means you can partake before catching your bus back to town. The bus will pull up at the visitors centre, the start of the trails is 500m back at the grand Cataratas hotel. Whatever happens, as soon as you step out of the vehicle the awesome sound of the falls will hit you. The low growl of hundreds of waterfalls will draw you in like a magnet. Your first view may be obsured by vegetation - but when you see it in its entirety - WOW!!!!Across the horizon is a giant tier of waterfalls - forty in all - gushing white water. This is backed by a tropical forest which really does role away to the horizon. The forest also grows between the falls, not to mention next to them, above them and underneath them and seems to glow with greeness. Underneath is a colossal plateau over three miles wide, the falling water from forty waterfalls hits this, is torn up, then flows off the escarpment in another ten waterfalls into the river gorge below (see photo). But this is just in front of you - as you turn to the west there are another five or six waterfalls gushing into the gorge and blocked by an island covered in vulture-like birds. Below you is the river gorge which whooshes westwards into the Rio Iguacu. This in itself is fed by another twenty waterfalls. To begin with you just stop and stare with your eyes trying to pick off individual detail. What struck me was how primeval it looked - like something out of the age of the dinosaurs. This was confirmed by our guide pointing out jacare (caiman/alligators) lurking on the river bank one hundred feet below us.We followed the cliff eastwards and gazed across to Argentina and the magnificent falls. The Brazilian side is famous for giving an overall view of the falls which it did by giving vista after spectacular vista as we moved along the trail. As our viewing angle changed we could see the Isla San Martin which contained the flocks of buzzards/vultures. Also we could see the grand climax of the falls - the Giganta di Diablo - at the beginning of the river gorge and the Rio Iguacu being sucked into it's great horseshoe from below. When you see the river from above it is a sort of chocolate colour from the nearby sediment. As it actually passes over the lips of these falls it can for a second seem coppery before plunging down into a white spray. They have set up little viewing platforms every hundred yards along the trail. While we were gawping at the cataracts a blue/green butterfly landed on the back of my hand and it's probocis tried to break my skin. Iguacu has hundreds of species of butterfly, some of which are poisonous, and there were many flitting around the trail. The effect of this was magical and one German woman posed with "schmetterlings" balancing on her hands. I think it must be the salt in the sweat that attracts them.As we headed eastwards the views got better and better (see photo) and we were all grinning from ear to ear. There was now two levels of waterfalls in a vista which was miles long. In between waterfalls were rocky islands covered in green vegetation as well as jagged rocks and rushing rapids. But the Giganta di Diablo (Devils throat) just got bigger and bigger and the billowing spray from 12 waterfalls pouring into a horseshoe rose hundreds of feet into the air. Over 1,750 cubic metres of water a second pour over the Giganta di Diablo and from beneath these falls seemed like mountains of white water rearing above us. The trail now led down to the bottom of the river gorge and the banks of the river where a wooden walkway extended into the lower tier of the Devils throat.It felt that I was now in a enveloping canyon of rushing water. The walkway (see photo) traced the lip of a huge waterfall before it plunged into the river gorge. Above us, across from us and below us was tearing white water and the spray took your breath away. My glasses instantly were covered in water as we inched our way across the walkway, and I gripped the handrails as I reached the viewing platform in the middle of the horseshoe. I marvelled at the plant life clinging precariously to life at right angles to the gushing waters. Above me was a truly huge waterfall - over 100ft high - with it's waters having a coppery hue as they poured over the edge and where they hit the river was lit with beautiful rainbows. Everything was obscured in spray and I was being deafened by noise. My hair and clothes were soaking and spray streaked down my face but I was loving every second.Close
Written by actonsteve on 24 Dec, 2002
Your final look at the myriad of waterfalls at Iguacu will probably be from the inferior (lower) set of walkways. This takes you down to the river and provides stunning views of the falls looming far above you and the great arc of the escarpment…Read More
Your final look at the myriad of waterfalls at Iguacu will probably be from the inferior (lower) set of walkways. This takes you down to the river and provides stunning views of the falls looming far above you and the great arc of the escarpment which stretches for 3 1/2 miles. By now you may have had your fill of tropical vegetation and gushing torrents but the view from beneath is rather special and there is one last thrill before you head for the exit. It is also - after the Garganta di Diablo - the most touristed part of the falls and there is a constant stream of people heading down the walkway. In the height of the summer take your swimming trunks as there is a beach on the Rio Iguacu.The inferior walkway is reached from the Estacion Catarata on the miniature railway. From there follow the signs to the Torre Mirador (Viewing Tower). Further on the from the Superior walkway, near the Sheraton Hotel, is the start of the inferior circuit. This heads down through the forest along a metal walkway, there are a number of steps at this point so people in wheelchairs or mobility problems may need help to descend. But we did see two people in wheelchairs on the trail so it can be done. As ever look after for animal life on the trails. As ever there are the thousands of butterflies in assorted colours. These are preyed on by an exhaustive selection of birdlife - toucans, parakeets, finches and fruitcrows - which are in turn food for assorted hawks and eagles. After five minutes descent there is a restaurante and toilet facilities, it is a good idea to stock up on water before descending the trails as the temperature in Iguacu in summer is 45 degrees. And also use the rubbish bins provided, the last thing you want to do is leave rubbish lying around in the jungle.We now realised we were descending the western cliff face which has not many falls on it's own but looks directly into the cataracts of the Iguacu river. But we were facing eastwards which mean't we had a good view of the escarpment with it's twenty waterfalls. When you first catch sight of this wonder you just stop and stare. Viewing platforms are set up at all the best parts and it is hard to describe the grandeur of this vast parapet of gushing waterfalls - one after the other, twenty in all stretching into the distance (see photo). When I looked closely I could see the walkway of the Superior Catarata walk laid over the top of the waterfalls. It was dwarfed by their size but you could actually see people walk over the lips of the waterfalls just as we had done a few hours earlier. Jungle blocked the furthest part of the escarpment from view but the infernal spray of the Garganta was visible soaring into the air.We were now well below second tier level and close to the riverbank. Across the river was the Isle San Martin with its rocky shores and soaring palm trees. On our side of the river was a small beach where zodiacs braved the river and in summer took people to the Isle San Martin. As the trail continued viewing points were set up giving good views of the entire escarpment, the views got better as we approached until we were nearly under the first waterfalls pouring down from above. The trail ended, literally, under the first of the waterfalls. It tore down from 70ft above with it's spray engulfing the viewing platform. The volume of water was amazing. I can't imagine what this place looks like after heavy rainfall. Brave souls went to the end of the walkway and stood underneath the spray to see how long they could last. I tried it and lasted two minutes as the spray soaks your hair and clothes and even gets into your mouth. For some perverse reason everyone enjoyed having their clothes drenched, their vision obscured and their face streaming. The whole group giggled and laughed.We tourists are a strange bunch....Close
There are two walks through the jungle that no visitor to Iguacu should miss. One is along the precipice where over forty waterfalls plunge onto the escarpment - the Superior (higher) Cataract walk. And the other is underneath the falls - the Inferior (lower) Cataract…Read More
There are two walks through the jungle that no visitor to Iguacu should miss. One is along the precipice where over forty waterfalls plunge onto the escarpment - the Superior (higher) Cataract walk. And the other is underneath the falls - the Inferior (lower) Cataract walk. Both are spectacular and take you through primary rainforest bursting with animal and plant life. They make a good excursion after seeing the Garganta di Diablo and are within easy walking distance of the visitors centre and the Sheraton Hotel. But for me this was a good opportunity to see a South American rainforest at close hand without tracking up to the Matto Grosso or Amazon and without doing it damage. After a while it seems natural to walk beneath towering trees, watch insects buzz around and watch for monkeys in the rainforest canopy.I would do the superior Cataract walk first, mainly because the Inferior leads to a more fitting climax. But the views from the Superior across to Brazil are amazing and it gives you the opportunity to get close to over 100 waterfalls pouring into the gorge below. To get to the start of the gorge take the miniature railway to Estacion Cataratas (Waterfall Station) and follow the signs. You know you are heading in the right direction when you enter a meadow which houses the Torre Mirador (Viewing Tower) which looks like a lighthouse in the middle of the jungle. Jarring even more with it's surroundings is the glass and chrome Sheraton Hotel which is the only (expensive) hotel in the Argentine side. Then follow a track into the jungle. For the most part we walked along metal walkways, these were well kept and easy going, but we did use a couple of staircase and those with mobility problems may encounter problems.We followed our guide, Silvano, over tiny rivulets and cataracts. Through the hanging vegetation we could see the Brazilian side of the park across the gorge and realised we were at the western end of the falls. This is where it arcs for over three miles along a great escarpment then plunges down onto a plateau. As we progressed we travelled over rushing rivers and the walkway travelled the lip of these rivers as the water plunged over. As it goes over the edge it turns translucent before plunging into the Iguacu gorge. Then a great vista opened up showing the vast horizon of the Isla Martin and the jungles of the Brazilian side. Birds wheeled above us and in view were over forty waterfalls gushing into space. We crossed about ten of them as we walked on. You never quite got used to the sight of the vertigo-inducing drop to the frothing cauldron below. At the furthest point we reached a viewing platform which looked on the great arc stretching eastwards. This looked down into a gorge behind the Isla San Martin and was fed by ten enormous waterfalls. We could spot the waterway that the zodiacs used the previous day and the island between the two gorges - San Martin - was awash with glistening tropical foliage. Three of the waterfalls poured directly into a narrow gorge and the power of the water pouring through was terrifying. Instant death to anyone who fell into the crashing seastorm of ripping froth (see photo).The whole walk took an hour but seemed like five minutes and we were reluctant to go back to the Torre Mirador. Walking back through the jungle became fascinated by what dwelled there. There are no piranha's in the waters of Iguacu (piranha by the way, is a filthy word in Portuguese - it means bitch) but some caiman. But there are tapirs and coatimundis, southern river otters and peccary's. There aren't any mighty anacondas but there are ocelots, pumas and jaguars. It is unlikely that you will see such creatures as most are nocturnal. There used to be night-walks at Iguacu but they were discontinued. When I asked why I was unprepared for the answer:-"A jaguar got hold of a child and ate him".Close
I am not joking when I say this is the most terrifying part of Iguacu Falls.To stare into the Garganta di Diablo - the Devil's throat - is to stare into the abyss. Fourteen separate waterfalls combine to pour into a gorge to create the…Read More
I am not joking when I say this is the most terrifying part of Iguacu Falls.To stare into the Garganta di Diablo - the Devil's throat - is to stare into the abyss. Fourteen separate waterfalls combine to pour into a gorge to create the worlds largest continous waterfall. In terms of volume of water per second this is the world's most powerful waterfall stretching in a horseshoe over half a mile in circumference. You can walk to the edge of the horseshoe via walkways from the Argentine side and to look in is to look into a continous canyon of frothing ripping water and a spray which can be seen from 4,000 ft up in the air.When you reach the Argentine side most visitors head for the Garganta before exploring the Superior and Inferior walkways. A miniature train chugs visitors over three miles through the jungle to where they walk along a metal walkway built between islands which takes you to the lip of the abyss. The miniature railway is free with entry to the National Park and seats 300 people. Our group consisted of a pair of Catalans, a pair of Germans and a pair of Spaniards - none of which spoke English. We got by via the international language of grinnng and pointing with our Brazilian guide, Silvano, doing most of the translating. The train is open to the elements and you can watch the jungle chug by and also butterflies find you in the carriages and flit in the air around you. The journey to Estacion Garganta takes twenty minutes and when it finishes the crowds disembark and sprint for the walkway.We took our time, determined to enjoy every minute and the trail became a ringing metal walkway. First of all the walkways passed through the jungles then began to cross rivers and channels until we realised we were crossing the islands in the middle of the Iguacu.Before this year there was no walkway. The old one was washed away by floods in 1986 and you could still see the ragged concrete supports poking up from the water. After that they ran boat trips to the viewing platforms which were meant to be terrifying as the launch fought against the strength of the current. The metal walkways are mean't to be far sturdier and along with the miniature railway are new for 2002. Between the settlement of Puerto Canoas and the Garganta are about 8 islands covered in jungle with the walkway connecting each one with the Garganta and the river bank. From the walkway you could see the Iguacu meander below you watched over by steaming jungle. The islands became smaller and smaller as we headed deeper into the Iguacu river and the chocolate waters had that South American steaming languidity, but some were also running at speed as the pull of the Garganta took grip. On the last island were are number of indigenous Indians laid on for the tourists. They were simply adorned in loincloths and headdresses and sold souvenirs such as tiny axes, bows and carved jaguars. But the crowd pushed on to the last stretch as they could hear the Garganta now...The initial sight is amazing. The river is a half mile wide at this point and the metal walkway extends far into it's reaches. It stretches to the lip of a gorge torn into the river where twenty waterfalls pour into its depths. A viewing platform was situated at the very edge of this gorge where crowds gathered in the enveloping spray. Ahead was the Iguacu river at it's widest, stretching around in a great curve. It was being broken up by rapids and cataracts upstream and all force drags it towards 'the Devils Mouth'. This great horseshoe is about 500ft wide, and as it goes over the edge is is torn, ripped and broken into tearing frothing foam. Thousands and thousands of gallons going over every second. There depths are obscured by watery mist and your ears are buffeted with a truly explosive continous roar. As if fifty cannons are going off every second.As you wipe the spray from your face and look below - you notice movement. Swifts nest behind these falls and dip in and out of the plummeting cataracts. They flit in and out of the billowing vapour and the rainbows which effect different sections of the falls. And as the sunshine does bounce off all that cascading water the whole place glitters and sparkles. The whole effect is hypnotic and the spray and clouds were part of the experience. On the other side of the platform were more waterfalls even deeper into the horseshoe. More swifts wove and darted and I was fascinated by continually buffeted vegetation which clung limpet-like to rocks in the middle of the falls.After posing against it for pictures we all reluctantly move on with many backward glances. The German lady who was with us wanted her photo taken against the two, souvenir selling Indians. She draped a muscular arm from each across her shoulders and grinned for the camera. The Indians would not have been so happy if they had known that the blockage she was causing on the walkways mean't that people were squeezing past and treading on their $5 axes and carved jaguars. Oh, well such is life..Close
Written by celestemy on 17 Apr, 2007
My second stop in Paraguay, at which I arrived by car after my 24 hour I-think-I’m-gonna-die-from-an-exotic-disease sickness, was Ayolas. Fortunately, the main highways are pretty good in Paraguay, so the trip wasn’t too bad. A town with a small population near a rather large hydroelectric…Read More
My second stop in Paraguay, at which I arrived by car after my 24 hour I-think-I’m-gonna-die-from-an-exotic-disease sickness, was Ayolas. Fortunately, the main highways are pretty good in Paraguay, so the trip wasn’t too bad. A town with a small population near a rather large hydroelectric dam, we traveled to Ayolas on my husband’s insistence. In the mid-90s my father-in-law worked for the Yacyretá hydroelectric dam, which sits on the border between Paraguay and Argentina, and so he and my husband, who was 14 at the time, lived in Ayolas for one year.
On my visit to Ayolas, we stayed in a nice, little hotel, Hotel Nacional de Turismo, for about $6 per night (breakfast included). The staff of two was great. I was really sick vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and more, and they brought me bottles of water and tea, crackers, and anything else I needed. Don’t drink tap water in Paraguay…it was the culprit of my disease! I know, I know…I actually knew not to drink the water, but when a family friend brings you a glass of water, you don’t question where it came from…I thought she would know…I’m a Yankee (the Paraguayan term for Americans) and I can’t drink the water from the tap like they can! I’ll never make that mistake again.
Anyway, wandering around the small Ayolas is about the only thing to do, beyond visiting people. After a nice, traditional breakfast of juice, bread, ham, and cheese (although, I wasn’t up to eating yet), we went to visit a friend who "grows" fish and checked out his fish farm. We also went to the main street of Ayolas and met up with another friend, Emilio, at a cell phone store where he works. Honestly, there was not much to see in "downtown" Ayolas, so we went to the city museum, but it was closed for construction (probably back open by now). Soon we went to Yacyretá to check out the dam and that was much more interesting.
Since Ayolas is located on the Parana River, there is great fishing, which is great around lunchtime! Our short trip to Ayolas was mostly spent revisiting old stomping grounds and meeting up with old friends, and then we headed on to Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay.
Written by SeenThat on 23 Mar, 2007
Moving through South America can play confusing games with the Spanish language; the same noun can refer to different objects. Usually, that is of no concern to the casual traveller, unless it is related to food or other basic needs.Despite the fabulous coffees of Brazil…Read More
Moving through South America can play confusing games with the Spanish language; the same noun can refer to different objects. Usually, that is of no concern to the casual traveller, unless it is related to food or other basic needs.Despite the fabulous coffees of Brazil and Colombia, the main drinks at the southern outskirts of the continent are infusions of various herbs. These are generally known as “mate” (maa-tae), but the noun can refer to different drinks.Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay call “mate” to a drink prepared out of “yerba-mate” (shaer-baa maa-tae). In Argentina and Uruguay, the ground shrub is used to fill up an empty kind of pumpkin which has the general shape and size of a regular cup, while in Paraguay a cow’s empty horn is used for that purpose alongside the pumpkin and the metallic cup variations. A metallic straw is used to drink the beverage. In Argentina and Paraguay a kettle is used to add the water while Uruguayans use a thermos; strange as it may seem each one defends its method fiercely. The nasty part is related to hygiene; if invited to drink with a group of people, then only one pumpkin is used and passed among the people. Whenever one finishes drinking, more water is added and the “mate” is passed to the next one without further formalities. The beverage is quite bitter and some people add sugar to it.Paraguay is by far the hottest country among the three mentioned above; thus it is only natural than an iced version of the drink exists there. Less natural is that it is called “terere,” apparently there is no connection between the names of the cold and hot beverages despite being variants of the same. For the cold drink, a jug with cold water is served together with a proper “mate;” if the water includes aromatic herbs then it is called “terere con yuyos.”If the variations until now weren’t confusing enough, when the border with Bolivia is crossed, then “mate” is transformed into a generic name to any tea prepared with herbs. The pumpkin disappears. There, a few leaves are added to a cup of hot water, or sometimes they are packed within regular filter paper, similarly to herb teas worldwide. The most popular infusion are “mate de coca,” which is prepared with coca leaves and “trimate,” and infusion prepared with three different herbs. Usually these are coca, anis and "manzanilla.”Did I mention they find terms as cappuccino, late and espresso confusing?Close