We departed São Paulo on the 18:30 to Foz De Iguaza, a 16 hour overnight bus journey which would save us a nights accommodation. As it turns out, it saved us a nights sleep as well.
Long distance bus travel is the norm in much of South America, and certainly in Brazil and Argentina the standard is very high. With fully reclining seats, bathrooms and regular stops, it’s on par if not better than flying. They do have one major downside however, which is the temperature. It doesn’t seem to matter that the temperature outside is in the 30s, and as such everyone is dressed accordingly. As soon as you board a long distance bus you can expect it to be about 10 below freezing.
Teeth chattering we arrived around 10 in the morning and made our way to our accommodation for the next couple of nights – Hostel Mangorosa. A pleasant little home stay run by Joe and Gisille. They invited us to have a traditional brazillian lunch with them and a few friends – fejouda (pig stew). This was rounded off with a few Caprihanas in the garden.
The following morning we set out to see the main attraction in Foz – Iguazu Falls.
We were given very specific instructions (bus 121 to Centro) so we diligently ignored the next 3 buses that came past (55 to Terminal) waiting almost an hour and a half under the Brazilian sun. It was about this time that I started getting more vocal about my dislike of buses and started badgering Lou to get a taxi. Lightly toasted we went back to the hostel to clarify our instructions, at which point we were informed that the bus had in fact changed number / destination recently so we should have just got any one of the 55 buses…not that it matters as we were also informed. “You can get any bus, they all go to the same place”
A little mystified as to why we weren’t given this information originally, we set out with new instructions “go to end of road, get first bus you see”. This was very easy, and we were on our way within minutes.
For 10 whole minutes in fact, then rather abruptly the bus stopped on a main road and remained stationary for several minutes. Suddenly over a dozen military police arrived, surrounding the bus with their guns drawn. Lots of shouting and pointing ensued then all the men were taken off the bus and lined up against a wall to receive a *generous* searching. The women all had their bags turned out, the bus was also then turned over. They then detained a guy, said something in Portuguese, everyone applauded, the local news team turned up and filmed an interview with the police chief and then we all got back on the bus and off we went. Absolutely no idea what happened…
After transferring buses we finally arrived at the falls, after purchasing our tickets it transpired we then needed to take a bus to the start of the trails…
The falls are simply magnificent, over 275 individual waterfalls crashing down in the heart of the rainforest. Unlike the buses it seemed nature was on our side. We had a perfect blue sky and double rainbows, which combined with the falls made taking many photos very easy!
From the Brazilian side of the falls (they can also be viewed from Argentina) you can walk out along a viewing platform into the largest collection of falls ‘Devils Throat’. This is particularly impressive, as you get can get right into the mist coming off the falls – which are twice the size of Niagra!
We spent a few hours admiring Iguazu from every possible angle before heading off to the nearby bird sanctuary to take photos of exotic birds which you would otherwise never see in the wild!
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Next Stop Quito (Ecuador)