Iguazu Falls & Asuncion

Our arrival to Buenos Aires not only marked the start of the second part of our journey (South America), but also that of 100 days travelling!

The flight to Auckland, and then the 12 hour flight to BA were soon forgotten as we summed up our trip so far in stats:

  • 23 flights
  • 2 nights spent on planes
  • 48 accomodations
  • 10 countries (not counting where we left off)
  • About 70’000 km travelled

We left our hotel in BA in search of delicious South American food, and found this at Tanta restaurant. Jum:)

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The next day, we flew onwards to Iguazu Falls. This waterfall is the broadest one on earth! We chilled at the hotel pool the rest of the day and went for another tasty Latin meal.

That next morning, we entered the park as soon as it opened.

We saw tour groups starting to come in behind us, so we took the park train right away to go to the Garganta del Diablo (throath of the devil). This is the horseshoe bend where most water falls into the river below, causing impressive clouds of water vapor to rise up. As it started to rain as well, we were glad to have brought our gear from NZ with us;)

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We took the train back, and walked the Upper Trail to see the right side of the falls from below. As there are around 270 waterfalls in the park, most forming one big curtain with all the rain we had last night, it was an impressive sight.

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Fortunately, the rain also caused it to be around 10 degrees cooler than normal. Meaning we could walk around without getting drenched from sweat as well. When Jos was here about 7 years ago, this was a lot different…

As the falls are located within a tropical rainforest, we also saw all kinds of wildlife. There were tucans, tropical birds, lots of coatis, and tiny monkeys.

Coatis
Lots of vultures
Monkeys
There were 4 toucans in here, can you find them?
Butterflies everywhere!

The Lower Trail showed us the frontal view on Garganta del Diablo along with other falls along the way.

We also started on the final open trail of the park, a quiet nature walk called the Macuco trail. However, after 2 km we returned followed by clouds of attacking mosquitos.

Bird nests in palm tree

The day wasn’t over yet, as we still had to get back to our hotel, pick up our luggage, and cross the border into Brazil!

We expected a hassle, but it actually went by smoothly with a quick taxi ride and 2 minute stops at each of the borders. Relieved, we checked into the hostel in Foz do Iguacu.

The next morning, we took a bus to the Brazilian side of the falls. This side is a lot smaller (80% lies in Argentina) and there’s only one trail. Despite this, the trail had beautiful view points on the whole falls, and a close-up experience with the Garganta del Diablo. We got even wetter there than the day before!

Unfortunately, it was a lot busier than the Argentinian side (mainly due to the fact that there’s only one trail, but also as it was a Brazilian holiday), so you often had to wait to get a good view of the falls. It was well worth it though!

We hurried the last part of the trail to get back to our hostel in time to catch our taxi, which would take us to cross yet another border.

It turned out that the hurrying wasn’t necessary, as also this border into Paraguay was easy to cross. It was a lot more chaotic than at the Argentinian border though, and we were glad we were in a taxi.

We made it to Ciudad del Este, the border town of Paraguay, where we would take the bus to the capital, Asuncion. We saw beforehand that a bus would leave at 2PM, but as we arrived at 12.30 already, we booked an earlier one.

Tip: do your research online before booking at the bus terminal. We were promised a modern bus taking us directly to the capital, leaving at 13.15. Needless to say, they lied to our face up until the bus left at 13.45. The bus (cracked windows, bumber taped on, etc), stopped wherever they saw a person standing on the side of the road. After a hot and tiring 7h trip, we finally arrived in Asuncion. The taxi ride from there to our hotel went smoothly however, and before we knew it, we were sitting in the mall across our hotel eating a very late, but good dinner.

Asuncion is apparently the cheapest capital in the world. Given the fact we could afford a five star hotel with less money than sleeping in a hostel bed in NZ, we’d say that’s true. Havaianas cost 4 euro, cocktails only 2! Only downside is that there isn’t much to do in Asuncion.

The next morning, we walked in the sweaty heat to the few highlights that Asuncion has, and were done in a couple of hours. Most buildings are free to enter, so you don’t spend anything here.

National Pantheon of the Heroes
Eh, is that an armadillo bag?!
Many churches of course
Museo del Cabildo’s native costumes
Palacio de los Lopez, the government seat
Small market next to the Pantheon
Pretty wall art across from Cafe Bolsi
Casa de la Independencia
Little history lesson – Paraguay used to be massive
Paraguay’s traditional handwoven fabrics are everywhere

We tried a local food platter at Cafe Bolsi, and found the Paraguayan kitchen is simple, yet tasty. Most dishes have as main ingredient corn or tapioca.

Pastel Mandi’o, Mbeju (the cheesy breakfast treat on the top right), pajaqua mascada and chipa argolla

The afternoon we spent enjoying the hotel pool. It’s nice to not have something to do for once.

The next day, we’ll fly to Montevideo (capital of Uruguay) in the evening. As there’s not much else to do, this means another day of lying by the pool and updating our blog. For once, the blog is published before we even leave the country!

Up next: Montevideo & Buenos Aires!

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