There are three main things to see in Foz do Iguaçu, the falls from the Brazilian side, the falls from the Argentinian side and Itaipu dam. As we’d crossed over around lunchtime, we rode up to Itaipu to see the dam. It’s the second largest in the world, and produces 75% of Paraguay’s needs and 17% of Brazil’s. They used to have a free bus tour, but that was scrapped a few years ago. Now that bus tour is $10 and the special tour is $30. Both of those were out of my price range, and so while Gaz went on the tour I sat around and worked on my to-do list. He took the pictures here, and said it was a pretty fantastic experience. The scale of everything is just mind-blowing, and hopefully you can get an idea of that in the pictures.
People say that to see Iguaçu, go the Brazilian side, and to feel it the Argentinian side is the way to go. We only went to the Brazilian side with them both being about $25 entry fee I didn’t have the money for both.
The difference from what I can tell is that the Brazilian side has you arriving at the ticket booth, buying your ticket, and then being put on a bus where you can get off at one of five different stops. The first two stops are alternate trails that you have to pay more to go on, the third is a hotel, the fourth is the start of the main trail and the fifth is the end of that trail and a restaurant. It feels very much like it was designed with tourists in mind as you are herded towards a point. It takes a couple of hours and you walk along a trail that lets you see the falls from below.
The Argentinian side has a network of trails, which you can explore at will. There’s a little railway to get you around a bit, but there’s much more walking involved. The highlight of the park is a trail with several bridges that goes to a viewpoint right above the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s throat), which is the place you can see in the rainbow picture below. The flooding back in May and June had however wiped the bridges out and they were still being reconstructed.
As it was, we spent a great afternoon on the Brazilian side. I’d been to Niagara back in June 2011 with C and while it was kinda impressive, it was also disappointing. Iguaçu was not. I’d heard so many things about how amazing it is, and even still I found it awe-inspiring. There are secondary parts of it that are slightly away from the main part, which on their own are more impressive than Niagara.
We started at the end of the trail and walked back to the front, and that seemed to help in terms of not being so swamped with people. We’d been warned against it, as the normal way lets it build up as you start with the smaller falls and build up to the main part, but for us it worked just perfectly backwards.
If you’re anywhere near by, Iguaçu is easily worth the visit. It’s by far one of the most fantastic things I’ve seen on this trip so far.
The following day we had a lazy day, where I worked on my to-do list before going out for dinner at a churrascaria, a Brazilian traditional barbecue buffet place where the waiters walk around with meat on skewers and chop bits off for you on demand. I have an issue with buffets in that I just eat until I can’t do it any more, and walking home after that was a painful experience.
Looking around Iguaçu