A deluge of waterfall pictures
January 25, 2011 § 4 Comments
I can’t say we weren’t warned – passing travelers told us on our way to Iguazu Falls that we would take hundreds of pictures, and that we did. This was a site that was left out of our first trip to Brazil 3 years ago, and we were excited to finally visit this amazing site on the border of Argentina and Brazil. And while Iguazu does not house the tallest or the most voluminous waterfall in the world, the entire “waterfall system” is composed of 275 waterfalls amidst the lush, steamy jungle.
Brazil vs. Argentina
In our opinion, the falls experience (Cataratas do Iguaçu in Portuguese, Cataratas del Iguazú in Spanish) was better on the Argentine side.
Although you get the full panorama from Brazil, more of the falls are on the Argentina side, making it up close and personal. Plus, its park is full of winding trails that take a full day to explore. With the hassle of going to Brazil (Americans need a pricey visa), I recommend just staying on the Argentine side unless you already have the visa and ample time.
It was also nice to be back in Argentina where the Spanish language, the food/wine, and lower prices welcomed us. The Brazilian town of Foz do Iguaçu was no highlight, but to be fair, we did not stay in the Argentine town of Puerto Iguazú at all for comparison’s sake. And the reason we did not stay in that town, my friends, leads to a huge factor in our enjoyment of the Falls….
From $30 to $300
After staying in budget hotels/hostels for around $30 per night, we took the opportunity of a primely located Sheraton property (the only hotel inside the park on the Argentina side) to cash in hotel points. Once we successfully made it in with our scruffy looking backpacks, we took full advantage of the services on offer: swiped shampoo for our stash, reveled in the fluffy towels, basked in the pool/sauna, gorged on the free and sumptuous brunch, and utilized the complimentary equipment on the tennis court (at least until giant baseball-sized bugs launched a kamikaze attack on us).
The Border Crossing & Other Tidbits
Figuring out how to cross the border cheaply (i.e. public transport) from the town on the Brazilian side all the way to the Sheraton inside the park was difficult. I don’t think many travelers going to the Sheraton are worried about a budget. Since we had time to spare, we chanced it and took one public bus which got us to the Brazil exit. Although getting the exit stamp only took 5 minutes, we unfortunately had to wait for an hour for the next bus to pass. We took that bus to the Argentine entry where the bus actually waited for us. One note when crossing borders on buses – always make conversation with the driver so he remembers you. We have seen people left more than once! We then switched buses shortly after crossing the border to get to the national park. Once inside the national park we got out and asked how to get to the Sheraton, where we had to get special approval to buy our park entrance ticket there and catch another bus to the hotel. Phewf!
A couple other fun points worth mentioning were the wealth of animal life in the park (they are seemingly unafraid of humans) and the unforgettable site of the nuns getting drenched by the falls.
See which pics made the final cut in the photo album.