After 15 hours on a bus we were quite happy to arrive in Iguacu Falls. The bus trip wasn’t too bad, with all of us getting a moderate amount of sleep on the comfortable reclining seats. There were a number of stops along the way, which meant we could stretch our legs every so often. There was thankfully a toilet on the bus, but about half way through the trip it became a ‘do not enter’ zone. At 10am the next day we pulled up at the bus station in the middle of nowhere.
We found the Hostel Inn after a variety of buses (4), and crossing the border into Argentina. The hostel turned out to be this amazing retreat. It had the largest pool in the area and was very luxurious. We spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool and working on our tans. Our room was in a separate house, so it was quiet and homely. This was a nice break from the rowdy hostels we had been in.
The Iguacu Falls National Park was our main reason for visiting the area. We got a cab there and were greeted with “Hello my name is Freddy and I will be your driver today”. Brilliant. We took two little trains (the same ones they have in Disneyland apparently) to get to the Devil’s Throat. This is the main part of the falls. It was raining at this point and combined with the spray of the falls, we got fairly wet. We continued around the park, hoping not to see the snakes we were warned of and ignoring the enormous spiders.
We saw an endless number of waterfalls and different angles of the main falls. Then we decided to go on a little boat trip that goes up to the falls. Thinking that sounded like a pleasant way to end the day, we booked it in. Oh how wrong I was. When we arrived it turned out they were actually jet boats. Everyone walking off the boats looked strangely very wet. Then to top it all off a storm rolled in and the thunder echoed all around the falls. By this point I was having second thoughts, but not wanting to lose out on a prepaid trip, we nervously climbed on board. It was only a 10 minute trip, how bad could it be? Very, it turns out! It started off okay driving up to the falls and having a look, but he doesn’t stop driving. He goes all the way into the falls until we can feel the pummeling of the water on our backs and the boat is filled with water.
At this point I realise I am screaming and mildly concerned for my life. He then drives up to another waterfall which is twice the size and stops. I think to myself “oh good, at least he knows it wouldn’t be safe to go under this one”, but then he drives right into it again. The power of the water almost hurts and the waves at the bottom spilled into the boat. Screaming again, I wonder if this is the longest 10 minutes of my life. Then the thunder roars around us, just in case we weren’t scared enough as it was. The good news is, we did survive to tell the tale and we can all say we have tasted, showered and almost drowned in Iguacu Falls.
The next day we went back into Brazil, as we planned to visit the other side of the falls. We went to the bird park first. We saw some tucans, one of which Ben managed to pick up. Then it seemed content on nibbling his toes, which I wouldn’t have thought were that pleasant, but according to Mr Tucan they were delicious. We also saw a 9kg Harpy Eagle(preys on monkeys) , which was depressing when you saw the small size of his cage. There were all sorts of birds, snakes, spiders and butterflies to look at. We also held a tame Maccaw, which was nothing like Richie McCaw.
By this point we were feeling quite tired and didn’t like the thought of a 3 hour walk around another national park. It was then we heard the thwump thwump thwump of a helicopter and thought that might be a better way of seeing the Brazilian side of the falls. We purchased tickets and waited in line. Again I was looking forward to a pleasant drive in the sky over the falls. Wrong again. It did cross my mind that our experience of drivers in Brazil mostly consisted of taxi drivers going twice the legal limit in between lanes down the highway. I also started to think about the lack of any kind of safety laws and our previous days experience on the boat. Surely not, I thought to myself. However, I was starting to lose the colour in my face as realisation set in. We got in the helicopter and sat in the front three seats. It was head to toe glass, so we had an amazing view. Then we took off and pleasantly flew over the forest. I released my death grip of Ben’s hand and started to relax. Then we reached the falls and we began an aerobatics display over the falls. When there is nothing but glass at your feet, it is not pleasant to be in a helicopter facing straight down! I returned my death grip to Ben’s arm and if I wasn’t so scared I’m sure I would have thrown up. A few backflips later we were returning to base. A few beers were needed before I could manage to walk back to our taxi stand.
The next day we had our last swim in the amazing pool and headed to the airport for our flight to Sao Paulo.