After all the positive comments we‘d received about the Iguazu Falls it was the next priority on our bucket list. Initially we planned to take the bus from Buenos Aires but later decided to take a flight to Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport in Argentina.
The change prompted by the attractive Andes Lineas Aeros prices. Andes is a a new low cost airline operating in Argentina. I was impressed - the flight went very well - although the check-in was quite hectic but we managed to get to the front of the line - through to the arrival. Even being served a small snack box … it all worked.
There's a proliferation of low cost airlines (SKY, FlyBondi, Austral, GOL, Azul) in Chile, Argentina and Brazil which offer very competitive fares. We were travelling out of season so possibly the fares may not be so competitive in season. Although with increasing competition there are always likely to be bargains.
We had booked to stay in Foz de Iguazu which is on the Brazil side of the falls. We had assumed we would get picked up but it is very expensive for Brazilian transport to pick up passengers at the Argentinian airport (another airport taxi monopoly scam!) … so we eventually took a taxi which cost ARS 950 (about USD31).
The main reason to visit this area is to see the Iguazu Falls with a secondary reason to see the Itaipu Dam. The views and experience from each country is completely different and so it’s recommended to see them from both sides. We used a private transport service from our posada (inn)t for our visits … it was indulgent, but convenient and we were well looked after.
The transport cost to visit the Argentine side was Rs260 (US$68) and the Brazil side Rs220 (US$57). The Brazil cost included a visit to Itaipu which is the second largest hydroelectric power station in the world. The entry fees were about US$21 and $17 with Itaipu about US$10 per person.
Someone said from the Argentine side you “feel the falls” and from the Brazil side you “see the falls”. From the Brazil side the views are breath-taking but you also get the feel when you go out onto the platform below the falls … very wet!
We visited this side on the first day. Walking the three routes – Garganta del Diablo, then the Lower Trail (Circuito Inferior) and finally the Upper Trail (Paseo Superior) gives one an excellent perspective of the magnificence and magnitude of many of the different waterfalls. From the Cataratas station we walked the Green Trail back to the Central Station.
Our total trip was about 5 hours.
Tip: Start by walking the Green Trail to the Cataratas Station – this will save you the delay of waiting at 2 stations for the next train!
The next day we visited the Brazil side. The walk is much shorter but was much more crowded. From this side you get a greater view of the 275 different individual falls. The experience of being under the falls in the spray was unforgettable.
This trip took us about 2 hours.
After the falls we went to see Itaipu Dam. It's the second largest hydroelectric scheme in the world after the Three Gorges Dam in China and is very large and impressive.
The dam wall spans the Parana River between Bolivia and Brazil. The power generation is shared 50%/50% between each country - Brazil uses most of theirs whereas Paraguay sells most of theirs.The trip to Iguazu Falls was another of the highlights of our round the world trip. The cost well worth this unforgettable experience.
Arequipa Peru, also known as the “White City”, is the second largest city in Peru and full of interesting history. Situated in the central area at an altitude of 2 400 metres it has pleasant year round weather, beautiful old buildings and is a central hub between the ocean desert and the tropical Amazon.
We arrived in Uyuni the day before setting out with Perla da Bolivia - our choice of the many Salar de Uyuni tours.
Uyuni is a desolate town – a far cry from the glory mining days many years ago. Added to the dust and desolation there was a biting cold wind!
Instead of flying (and seeing nothing of the country) we decided to take the PeruHop bus through southern Peru from Lima into La Paz Bolivia.
After making all the pickups we left Lima on a mild and misty morning. As we drove through areas of Miraflores and Barranco our Peru Hop guide for this trip, Walter, told us stories of some of the history of Peru.
With our second visit to Peru we decided to enjoy some of the Peru tourist attractions in southern Peru. A month earlier we’d done the trip to Machu Picchu via Cusco and Lima and realised that Peru had many other places to visit.
We highly recommend PeruHop and BoliviaHop as our experience with them was memorable. The company is well managed and you get the feeling that they really care about their customers … the result is a memorable experience.