Puerto Iguazu Travel Blog› entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
This time the trip to the Misiones Province got underway to plan. We went to the ticketing office and as I expected, one of the guys left the office and escorted us to the platform. The terminus has 75 platforms and the buses coming and going every minute. Bus is not the right description, they are first class coaches. They have a range which seems to be determined by how far the seats recline and the leg room. Once we left the city limits of Buenos Aires we were served dinner which consisted of a salad with a piece of hot chicken, bread and a desert. Soft drink and mineral water were also on offer.
Once we travelled through the night and the sun came up, the countryside showed a marked change from the flat pampas with cattle that I had glimpsed in the moonlight. It was more hilly and timber plantations and milling operations were frequent. The houses had changed and the towns had roads paved with local stone in a type of cobblestone effect that looked very durable though a bit bumpy. The coach would pull into many of these towns and passengers disembarked. Boxes were often delivered from the coach's luggage area and the fuel was topped up.
The countryside was dotted with plantations of Mate, corn, bananas, melons, pawpaw and something else that often was in home plots grown with corn that I do not recognise.
Puerto Iguazu was so very hot, perhaps around 40 degrees C, very quiet and sleepy after BA. We got directions to the Hostel we had booked on line and walked. Halfway there a guy came up behind us asking if we wanted a hostel and we told him we already had booked at El Guembe but he persisted and showed us a pamphlet with El Guembe. It appeared that he had been sent to collect us! The hostel was delightful. There were perhaps only about 8 rooms with an open air dining room and reception at the front, an open air kitchen further back and the rooms were not only airconditioned but they had an ensuite with bidet, TV in the room and a double and single bed!
Back to reception and we got advice to visit the Brazilian side of the falls as it was now 2.
Some 20 year olds told Andrew to have their seat and when he hesitated they indicated that their parents had insisted that they did. We thanked them and he sat. At the entrance to the park we found that they took US dollars, Argentinian pesos, Brazilian and Uruguay currency. We boarded a waiting coach and were taken off to the several destinations. We were not adventure rafting so we stayed on until the walk to the cataratas was indicated. The gradient was easy and soon our first glimpse of the mighty falls came through the trees.
Next day we spent in the National Park and the Falls on the Argentinian side. Again a local bus for 3 pesos is the way to go and it is quite a long trip, maybe 18 kms. On advice from the hostel we should do all the walks before catching a small, open air train to see the last sight. We headed off through the jungle keeping to the pathways as the signs indicated there were things unpleasant that might spoil your day if you left the path.
Swift-like birds darted in and out of the falls, and stopped at the edges clinging to greenery and finding food. At one point a Coati wandered under the catwalks and people took photos. Later a whole group of them wandered across the pathway, two with babies following close behind. A ranger's house was nearby and he came out to warn people not to feed or touch them as they do bite. We noticed that he wore a handgun on his belt and wondered if my Ranger daughter would like to do an exchange one day with an Argentinian counterpart! The Coati is a cat sized animal with a pointed nose and a long bushy ringed tail.
A short distance from the train stop we found ourselves at the top of the falls and a fair way back, where the rivers have converged and spread into a huge expanse. A long low footbridge took us on a nearly 2 km walk. It eventually ends at the mightiest of the falls the Devil´s Throat ( Gargantuan Diablo) where the final platform stands way too close to the edge!!!!! Huge clouds of spray rise from the thunderous waters that tumble over the precipice and soak those who dare to go and look. As it was so hot I took courage and did just that delighting in the cooling soaking I got.
This was the 31st of December and back at the hostel we began to realise that most places for eating were closed but eventually found a place. What looked like a double garage fronting the main street in the rows of houses had it's roller doors thrown up and good music was coming out. They did a surprising Thai Stir Fry and a good bottle of Argentinian wine of course! Met a couple of North Americans from California and were delighted to find them again later, staying at our hostel. That night, along with 3 more North Americans and two Germans we saw in the New Year, twice! Once at 11pm when fireworks coming from Brazil went off, then again at midnight when Puerto Iguazu let theirs off.
January 1st 2006 we packed up and headed off to the terminal.
Found only one place open for a cooling juice, then a water, then a large beer.
We reluctantly left to catch our return coach and settled in to an even more luxurious trip back to BA (the seats reclined even further than those on the first trip). Would thoroughly reccomend this travel in South America. Food was excellent.