Iguazu Falls: must-see in Brasil!

We boarded the TAM flight to Foz du Iguacu at Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport. I had just arrived in Rio that morning and had spent an antsy few hours exploring the airport and waiting to meet up with my friend who had arrived a day earlier. Foz du Iguacu was the first stop on our Brasilian adventure. The flight ticket and hostel booking in Foz du Iguacu were the only planned parts of our South American trip; the rest was left up to local recommendations and whims.
Iguazu Falls  a “runners-up for the seven wonders of the world” is still relatively less known compared to its friends in the same world-class. Wider than South African Victorian Falls, and dwarfing Niagra, Iguazu is a must-see on any South American trip. Shared by and accessible from both Brasil and Argentina, it’s a perfect place for border crossing between the two countries. While my friend and I stayed on the Brasilian side, we knew we wanted to see the Argentinian side as well. While Foz du Iguacu affords spectacular views from Devil’s Throat, Peurto Iguazu in Argentina allows you to get much closer to the Falls. I found this website to be a great resource for planning for the trip. http://www.brazil-travel-guide.com/Iguassu-Falls.html
We arrived at our destination and found the bus that would take us to the McDonald’s- the one and only in town, and a prominent landmark. We had booked ourselves a 6-bed dorm at Hostel Bambu. Once my friend and I arrived there, we realized we were sharing the room with four college grads from New Zealand. Not a bad prospect as such, but as it turned out, four college-aged men are never the ideal roommates if you seek a well-rested night of sleep or a foul-smell free room. Having said that, the hostel itself was reasonably priced and had all the necessary amenities, complete with a freeloading druggie who seemed to live on the couch in the common room. Free breakfast in the mornings meant you could grab a glass of juice and some toast and fruit before heading out for the day.
The town of Foz du Iguazu itself is quite underwhelming and annoyingly “touristy”. Just walking along the main street in search of a decent meal leaves you with not many other options besides overpriced american-style places or the ubiquitous pizzerias. We settled on a splashy-looking joint with hopes that it would allow us to meet some fellow travelers. Based on the food quality and service itself, it was a disastrous choice. It was to be the first of many times I would marvel at how unhelpful English and Spanish were in conversing with locals. It was probably presumptuous of me to assume otherwise, but However, the company of a group of German men on the last leg of their 2-month South American backpacking adventure and a Portuguese love note on a paper napkin from a forward Brasilian man kept the night interesting. As it turned out, meeting those German men would prove to be a blessing when we were homeless in Rio de Janeiro on the night of new years, but more to come on that later.
The next day we took the bus (that conveniently left from outside of the landmark McD) to Parque Nacional do Iguasu. After purchasing the *** Reias entrance ticket, we boarded the bus to take us to the Cataratas Trail that comes complete with recorded Jungle noises. If you are interested in activities like rafting or zip lining, be sure to get there early, since they all close by 5p. The views from the trails are pretty fantastic, especially when you see the Falls for the first time. However, as we would soon find out, these views don’t compare to the ones from the Argentinian side. The best part of the Brasilian side is definitely the walk across the bridge with the view of Devil’s Throat. Get ready to be soaked by the spray from the falls as you walk the length of the bridge with stunningly close up views.

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