30 Jan – 02 Feb
I was really quite excited about my bus ride to Puerto Iguazu – travelling in style with seats that become beds, wifi on board and all that jazz. And it was a pretty cool experience. I was definitely glad I spent the extra 100pesos to get a bed I could sleep in, because it was a very comfortable journey and I was very pleased. (:
The bus arrived in Puerto Iguazu at around 11, ending the 23 hour journey and depositing me in the blistering heat. And it wasn’t even THAT hot – 34 degrees or so, but it felt awful. I was only supposed to meet my CouchSurfing host at 4 or 5pm, so I had time to kill. After wandering around for a bit with all my worldly possessions, I decided to send all my clothes for laundry and just have lunch and chill out in a cafe to escape the heat.
I ended up spending the whole afternoon in the cafe, with no word from my CS host before I finally decided to make an appearance at his place. He wasn’t home, and after waiting for another a hour and a half and getting his neighbours to call him, I finally gave up and decided to find myself a hostel. Total waste of my time, and very rude of him not to contact me at all – needless to say, I was annoyed.
[I didn’t hear from him the entire time I was in Puerto Iguazu, and only got a message from him after I had left, saying his computer was broken, which was why he didn’t contact me. I replied with a curt message lecturing him about the spirit of CS and never heard from him again. It was the first time something like that has happened to me, and what a pity, because a vast majority of CSers aren’t like that, but it only takes a few to give CS a bad rep. Sigh.]
I ended up in a hostel right across the bus terminal, run by a lovely woman named Lydia. Being as annoyed as I was with this fiasco with my non-existent host, I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner at a Chinese restaurant! Besides, it was Chinese New Year, so it seemed particularly fitting. I asked for my noodles to be prepared extra spicy and I spent the meal crying – apparently two months of not eating spicy food killed my tastebuds. It was still a good meal and I went to bed feeling pretty damn pleased with myself.
The next day, it was off to the falls! The bus company that runs that route makes a killing, charging 70 pesos for a return trip (compare this to 15 pesos to go to Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil) but there wasn’t any other option, so off I went. Entrance to the park cost another 170 pesos, but included use of the trains within the park and access to the trails.
It was pretty cool, walking around the park. I saw a raccoon like animal – the coatie which is apparently very common in the park,
these cute birds,
awful tourists (I could go off on a spiel about idiot tourists who feed animals in nature reserves, but I’ll save that for another post),
and of course, the waterfalls!
I wanted to head back to the park to do a different trail the next day, so it was early to bed for me that night. I set out pretty early the next morning, reaching the park at about 9 and setting off on the Macuco trail, a 3-4hour trek to a smaller waterfall and back.
It was very peaceful on the trek, with the hoards of tourists preferring to wander around the main trails.
I kept hoping to see exciting wildlife, but unfortunately I didn’t have any luck.
Despite that, the waterfall at the end of the trek was pretty worth it – I also took the opportunity to take a dip in the little natural pool at the bottom of the waterfall (despite the girl at the info desk warning me not to) because it was too hot not to.
Then, it was back on the trail to head back to the main park, where I decided to take a boat tour down a quieter section of the river with some cute (but annoying) kids and their families.
The highlight of the second day was the ten minute boat ride after that. Sounds ridiculously short, but it was amazing nonetheless. The boat took us right up the the waterfalls for an amazing close-up view of the falls, and a thorough (and very welcome) drenching. Amazing stuff and definitely worth the price!
Heading back to the city, I happened upon two American guys I had met at the park the day before. I wanted to go to Tres Fonteras, the point overlooking the borders between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and they decided to tag along. It turned out to be a really cool view of the river separating the three countries, and a gorgeous sunset to boot. Yay for perfect timing!
That evening being a Saturday night, I headed out with some of the people at the hostel to check out the nightlife of Puerto Iguazu. We came across some mad football fans celebrating a win in the streets,
went to a bar to chill out, where I met Lydia there who invited me along to a pretty cool party. All in all, a decent night out. And the next day…well, new day, new country – I was off to BRAZIL!