We always wanted the trip to retain as much flexibility as possible, which made it hard to give people an itinerary of the trip before we left. Having already changed the plan slightly in Rio, we made a decision not to continue down the coast to Florianopolis and instead head over to Foz de Iguazu to visit the waterfalls - one of the 7 natural wonders of the world! To reach Foz, first we had to take a 6 hour bus to Sao Paulo, wait an hour there before getting on another bus for 16 hours! We couldn't do this journey in one trip or with the same company so we had to make seperate bookings, and with only 1hr 50 mins between buses I was a little nervous about missing the second bus and being stranded in Sao Paulo. Fortunately the bus only arrived 50 minutes late meaning we only had an hour to sit in the bus terminal thinking we were going to get shanked for our backpacks at any moment!
We opted to stick with the dorm life (the wallet made the decision not me) and booked 2 nights at the Tetris Container Hostel in a 10 bed dorm with en-suite bathroom....lovely!
You don't need 2 nights in Foz to see the falls as they can easily be done in half a day however after the long journey we didn't want to have to rush about.
The Iguazu national park sits on a shared border with Brazil and Argentina both splitting the falls; Brazil lays claim to a more panoramic view of the falls whilst Argentina gives a more up close and personal feel.
To reach the falls we caught a local bus from outside the hostel to the park for about £1 and after about 25 minutes arrived at the park entrance. The Brazilian side is very organised and modern and after paying our entrance fee of just over £17 each we hopped on a modern windowless double decker which took us into the park - Georgina claiming she felt like she was going into Jurassic Park! After taking in the broad panoramic view we followed the walkway down to the main lookout - a platform that went out a good 80m or so right into the action on a plateau at the bottom of one set and at the top of another set of falls! Standing out on the platforms we were both blown away by what was in front of us - Georgina marvelling in the outstanding natural beauty and crying at any sight of a 'magical' rainbow and me in awe of the engineering of the walkways - just how did they build them!
To cross into Argentina we decided to take a taxi instead of getting a public bus which may or may not wait for you at each of the borders , this was slightly more expensive but we both felt it was worth it as it saved us time so we could head straight to the falls from Puerto Iguazu. To reach the falls from Puerto Iguazu we jumped on another local bus from the main bus terminal in town and paid the 65 pesos (£3.50) each to take us to the falls. The Argentina side is not so well organised as its Brazilian neighbour and to make matters worse we had chosen to visit on the last day of Carnival which was a public holiday, its safe to say the place was rammed. We queued for maybe 30 minutes in the scorching sun to reach two small windows that seemed more like a free for all than a queue and paid our entrance fee (330 pesos each, £17 roughly - same as the Brazilian side) The main draw of this side is a lookout named the 'Devils Throat' which most people reach via a small train that runs through the park, after seeing the Alton Towers on a bank holiday length queue (before smiler-gate) we decided to take in the upper and lower circuits and would catch the highlight at the end of the day when everyone else was heading home - that was the plan anyway!
The photos speak for themselves on how amazing this place is, we even spotted some wild monkeys along with the little racoon type animas that you're not supposed to feed but everyone does that lurk around every eating area. We also saw a crocodile but couldn't help think it was placed there as more of an attraction which is a shame. With the queues as long as ever for the train even at 3pm, we decided to walk the 2km or so along the side of the tracks to reach the devils throat walkway. After setting a new land speed power walking record we reached the train stop only to find the 1.1km walkway to the lookout was in fact a 1.1km queue which spilled out another 100 people deep from the entrance. Unfortunately we had been given wrong information about the last bus time and regrettably decided to turn back and head home.