Day 3 in Iguazu Falls was back in Brazil. A helpful tip: if you’re going from the Argentina side to stay in the Brazilian side, the bus straight to the Brazil falls will take you half as much time as crossing the border yourself. It costs a bit more than taking the local bus between the two towns and then taking the bus to the falls, but if you can swing it the efficiency is great. The driver stopped at both passport stations and even escorted us to get both stamps. I was out of one country and at the falls of the next in 45 minutes.
Now I know I didn’t get the full experience of the Argentina side, but I’m not sure it would have mattered. The Brazilian side was my favorite. I’m not sure why people say Argentina is better; maybe they like the walking through the jungle experience? To me, the view you get from the Brazil side is hands down the best way to see the falls. And I’m not the only one who thought so, my new falls travel buddy Hugo (French solo guy this time) agreed with me.
The whole experience is shorter and a little more touristy: after entering the Parque Nacional Do Iguaçu, a bus takes you up to a path that runs along the top of the riverbank, and you just casually stroll to different viewpoints. It takes maybe 2 hours. But the payoff is epic.
From this side, I saw the entirety of Iguazu Falls. The part we saw in Argentina was only a fraction of the whole system of waterfalls. On this walk, every time I turned a corner my jaw dropped again. The scale is unbelievable. It is impossible to not look at it, and takes a lot of self-convincing to keep moving along. And then once you do keep walking, the next place you stop it’s the same all over again: awe, lots of staring, and making yourself keep going.
When the trail ends is definitely the highlight. Unfortunately I didn’t get to go onto the platform that would have probably been the best part of the whole trip (there was damage from the flooding on this side too), but I still got to be right next to a crazy big drop at a plateau level, before it dropped again to the bottom level. This view was beyond words. Then we took an elevator up to a final viewpoint and it was still too incredible to know what to say. I’m sure I sound like a blabbering idiot but all I could do was stare. I didn’t even have thoughts to describe it at the time.
This is why the Brazilian side was, for me, the ultimate Iguazu Falls view.
And then I ran to see the end of the first half of Brazil vs. Chile. The restaurant at the top was packed with everyone watching, so when halftime hit, Hugo, another friend and I jumped on a bus back down to the entrance. We watched the second half with a huge group of tourists and park employees. Everyone was so into it; every time Brazil almost scored everyone let out loud expressions of hope followed by disappointment, and by the time overtime was on we were all stuck there.
Next to the falls there is Parque das Aves – a bird park – that is supposed to be phenomenal. Hundreds of different bird species that are all beautiful and most of which I’ve never seen before. I meant to go here. Then the World Cup happened. As the game went into overtime I had a choice to make: see what happens, or go see birds. I’m not gonna lie, the cost of another park entry definitely factored into this decision. I knew I was going to bleed money in Rio so saving wherever I could made a difference. But also watching Brazil play such a close game while in Brazil was just too intense to leave. So soccer won, and I got to watch the most exciting PK’s I’ve seen during the games. Sorry birds, next time.
After the game was over, I went to the hostel I was staying at just for the night before my morning flight to Rio. This time I meant to be antisocial, just write some blog posts and get a good night sleep. Then I was put in a room with two girls from California who asked if I wanted to also have some wine. Two bottles of wine and Ratatouille on TV in English, and suddenly a group of us were cramped around a single couch in the common room. Oh well, productivity will have to wait.
And it has waited, obviously, because then I got to Rio and disappeared from blogging. I’ve been here a week already and I have so much to write about it will be hard to know where to start. It’s been incredible so far, so expect lots of gushing posts about this great city soon.
But for now, I’ll end this with a few videos of the crazy rushing water: