Entering Argentina via the Colon, some big ole´ waterfalls and off to RIO !!
Puerto Iguazu Travel Blog› entry 24 of 31 › view all entries
Hola Chicos y Chicas !
Argentina here we come ( again !) we left Montevideo on our trek northward to get (eventually) to the world famous Igazu falls ( well, to be honest I had not heard of them, but everyone else here had, and it was in the book, so why not !) we took the 5 hr bus to a place called Paysandu where we were told we were too late for the night bus to Igazu direct, so we would have to spend the night somewhere, and what better place than the comedy named Argentinian town just across the border called COLON !! We had some time to kill so explored Paysandu, but there was not a lot going on, we tried the last of the Uruguayan food ( some famous merangue dessert and some chicken and cheese empanadas to use up the last of our cash) then back on another bus across the boarder. This was our best crossing yet, we didnt even get off the bus. The driver took our passports, we waited 20 mins or so, then he got back on , handed out all the cards and passports to the 10 or so passengers and we all set off ! Brilliant !! didnt even need to get the luggage out or anything !!
Colon, like most of Uruguay, was basically closed and out of season, so the campsite we had planned on (once again) was closed, but our friendly ( if expencive) taxi driver gave us a short tour of the town , saying what was open for food etc and deposited us at another campsite. This place was great , loads of space, clean toilets and shower block and right on the beach ( well river beach, but still nice!) So we set up our trusty tent and headed into town for pizza and beer at the only open restaurant ( but luckily it was great so no worries !) the only minor drawback to the whole thing was than when we got back, some argentinains had set up next to us and were just starting their BBq (at about midnight), with amazingly loud music ! which in itself was ok, but when pearl jam and nirvana changed to 80s trash like roxette and milli vanilli at 1am, it was a bit of a bind... but we coped :-)
I have said it before and Ill say it again, camping RULES !! the check out was flexible, so we were there all day ! we went to the beach for a bit, did some swimming in the murky brown waters, cooked dinner, had a bottle of wine and only after all that did we pack up and move on ( at about 9pm !! ha ha !!) Catching the bus to Igazu must have counted as one of the oddest experiences of the trip. We had tickets, but the lady at the bus station had told us the bus did not go from there and we had to catch it en route ! OK, no problem ! so we jumped a taxi that dropped us off at an esso petrol station at the side of the road at 9.30 at night ! hmmmm, will the bus come, does it come into the station ? do we wait by the road ? if a dog has no nose, how does it smell ?.. these and other unanswerable questions roamed through our minds while we waited, so we decided not to worry and to have a few beers with the truckers who were watching ther football ( Argentina v Venezuela ) in the petrol station. And , eventually, as good as their word, the bus showed up and we boarded on our way to the Igazu falls. ( note to self: getting onto a night bus half cut is quite fun, its exciting and silly and when the food came we were extatic, but the next morning was not such a nice feeling !!)
We were woken at 5am the next morning for breakfast !! what the deuce !! we didnt arrive till 10 !! swine bus drivers !! but eventually we made it to Puerto Igazu. We jumped a local bus ( in the first of what was to become a love hate relationship with the local buses in this town - well, more hate than love !) to the first campsite in the book. Well, if anyone has seen the Friday 13th movies, imagine Camp Crystal after the inquest.. it was deeeeeeead !, so back on another bus (sigh) to the next, CAMP AMERICANO !
OH what joy, what raputure awaited us ! this place was Bliss ! virtually deserted but with Internet, a swimming pool , a supermarket, grill pits the works !! we loved it. ( note to travellers. it is next door to the best HI hostel in Argentina, where the cool kids go, but Americano was only 5 dollars a night !! ha ha !! ) So after setting up the tent, we hit the pool and roasted ourselves for a few hours befoer heading back into town (on the none so frequent buses) to buy charcoal, more great argentinian steaks, sausage, chicken etc for our own parilla (at rock bottom prices !! yay !)
Day 2 in igazu ( hey that rhymes !) was our trip to the falls. The falls are split between Argentina and Brazil. The Argentinian side is where you get "up close and personal" whereas Brazil is more the overview. So we decided to go for the former first as it was closer. So we jumped another local bus that took us straight there. We did some walking in the jungle ( instead of taking the train like everyone else seemed to be doing) and met some nice little racooney type creatures, then did all the waterfall walks, which were fantastic. The waterfalls stretch as far as the eye could see, and even though this was dry season and some were only trickles, it was still fantastic to see. It took us a good 4 hours to get around the whole "park" including a boat trip over to the central island ( but we didnt do the boat under the waterfall where you get really wet, there was no need really as you get wet standing at the top anyway !) and ended the day at the "devils throat" cascade that was just breathtaking ( and soaking !!).
Eventually, thoroughtly exhaused after tramping around in the 35 degree heat all day, we headed back to the campsite ( via the supermarket for more meat) to have our next BBQ. Back at camp we had some new neighbours, Diego ( I know, an Argentinaian named Diego, Cliche or what, he even had a tattoo of Maradonna dn the number 10 on his arm !!) and his family who were also BBQ ing. The difference was that he was a butcher, and Argentinian, so a master of the art and we shared some of the feast he prepared , which was amazing !
Day 3 was decision day, do we bother going to the Brazilian side or move on to Rio...hmmmmm tricky ! so we mulled over the question for a bit in the morning, until, looking up, who should be walking across the campsite towards us, but Natalie and Chris !!! our chums from Patagonia and Buenos Aires ! " of all the campsites in all the world etc...." how serendipidous ! so we naturally decided to postpone any further movement until we had celebrated this fortunate event properly ! This involved a lot more time by the pool ( ahhhhh) , a trip into the town centre to see its highlight, a point where you can view all three countries ( Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina) all from one river junction, and stocking up on a lot more meat and wine ! ( we did actually try to get out to Rio for the next day, but the bus was full, so we decided to see the Brazilain falls anyway !). So, as you can guess, the evening was very nicely spent BBq ing, drinking, swapping stories about the different places we had seen and again trying the amazingly tasty treats Diego was preparing ( mmmm rib-tastic!!)
Day 4 and off to Brazil (all be it only for an afternoon). The 4 of us set off on numerous buses to the falls, which took us across the border and into the town of foz de Igazu ( about 1 hr out of our way in the wrong direction !) so it must have taken us about 3 hrs to get there all in !but it was so worth it when we did. The Brazilain side was so beautiful, if argentina has the close up and the excitement, Brazil gets the wow factor ! The park was extremly well organised, with bus rides to take you to the pathways, great signposted paths, excellent viewpoints going right out into the rivers , it was just stupendous ! It was a baking hot day ( i would estimate about 38 degrees) so when the spray of the falls hit you it was just heavenly ! when we had finally had our fill, we jumped another bus back ( but this time cleverly getting off at the right place to get back to Argentina instead of going all the way back into the Brazilian town) and waited for a bus to take us across the boarder... well we waited..and waited.. and waited.. and nothing came !! eeep ! middle of nowhere ( or so we thought, as it turns out we were in walking distance of the boarder crossing) but luckily a taxi came by and took us back to town for cheaper than it would have cost for all of us on the bus (thanks to some good negotiations from Natalie), so it was a bit of a winner !
At this time we left Natalie and Chris ( it was Natalies Birthday the next day and Chris had booked them into a nice hotel in town - camping rules, but it aint that comfortable !!) so we headed back to camp, then joined them later in the town for a farewell birthday pizza ( as our paths would not cross again). Interestingly, H&I got "hippy married" that night.... the hippy lady we purchased Natalies present from did some hocus pocus and tied another crappy wristband on us ..yes, I now sport 2 of the damn things ...confirming us "hippy married"... which was nice .´ Again the Pizza was excellent, especially after Chris and I had smothered ours with spicey hot sause .. ha cha cha....
Our last day of camping in Argentina was spent doing chores, mostly packing up and internet surfing to try to find a hostel in Brazil.. we should have done this earlier but were having too much fun..(damn you chris and Natalie ) It was tricky, as everything in the nice part , Ipanema, was too expencive and everything in copacabana, this shit part, was full. But we got something eventually and set off to the bus station.
As is becoming the norm over here, if we have a big trip to make, like this 26hr ride to Rio, one of us gets sick. Today was H´s turn and so while I shopped for food and drink, she nursed and upset tum at the bus station. Luckily a quarter kilo of dulche de leiche ice cream seemed to perk things up, and armed with 12 mixed empanadas, 2 bags of crisps, some ham, salami, bread rolls, chocolate and 4 litres of water we joined the 30 or so strong group of Israli backpackers that we were to share the bus with on the loooooong ride into Brazil.
Farewell Argentina, for the second (and in this case, last) time. Its an odd thing to say, but the country got better the longer we stayed in it, memories of the south were not so great, but the north was fantastic, and we were both (eventually) happy that we were not able to take the planned flight to Brazil, for even though we had now reduced our time in Brazil, we would not trade the last few weeks in Argentina for anything.
Until next time ... caio caio
M and H. xxx