Doug was traveling in Brazil for work and Erynn came afterwards to meet up and head to Foz do Iguašu. The Falls are at the corner of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. We were able to spend three nights in the area and visit both the Argentinean and Brazilian side of the falls. A colleague arranged for a private tour guide for the weekend, which allowed us to see almost everything the area had to offer in a very short amount of time.
As you'll see from the pictures, the falls are amazing. They are huge and certainly rival Niagara Falls, which we've been to many times. We also took the special interior tour of the Itaipu Dam, which is only surpassed by the Chinese Three Gorges Dam in terms of power generation.
Getting to and from the area was a breeze. Brazil stopped requiring US tourists to obtain a visa, so you just show up with a passport! Interior flights are plentiful and relatively cheap as well. It was a bit of a whirlwind, but a tremendous experience.
Click Here for all of the high resolution photos from the trip.
Erynn traveled from the US and I from work obligations elsewhere in Brazil, and we met up at the airport in SŃo Paulo on Friday. We then flew to the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguašu by the afternoon. It was dark by the time we were settled at the hotel, and we were ready for dinner. After some issues(!) with the Uber, we arrived at the Rafain Churrascaria Dinner Show. Churrascaria style is all you can eat of everything. During the dinner the restaurant had a dance and music show featuring all of the sounds, dances, and styles of every Latin country. The overall experience was solid, but the food was mediocre at best.
After a good night's sleep, we met our tour guide at the hotel and he drove us to Argentina and toured that side of the falls. Our tour guide was exceptional. He helped us navigate the border crossing from Brazil, and encouraged us to start just a little earlier than normal in the morning. Being only an hour or so earlier meant we missed all of the crowds. He knew the pattern of the tour guides, and as we were leaving a spot we'd see throngs of people coming behind. As a result, we never felt crowded and got loads of cool pictures.
Our tour guide, Iraci, was pretty amazing. Very good English, very patient, and a very fast walker. He'd been a tour guide in the area for like 40 years and was very efficient. He also didn't BS us with overly touristy stuff. Hit the highlights and move on... He worked for the STTC Bourbon travel agency, if you're interested.
We spent most of the morning walking the many kilometers of boardwalk paths in the park. The Argentine side is much more lush and encompasses many, many smaller waterfalls. You can see the map on the left with the 5 main paths highlighted. We walked the Red, Blue and some of the Yellow paths. The photo to the right is from the end of the blue path.
After touring the Argentine falls, we stopped briefly at Tres Fronteras (Triple Frontier), which overlooks the border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay at the confluence of the Iguaz˙ and Paranß rivers. It's a nice vista, but not much there besides a couple snack carts and trinket shops.
We wrapped up our first full day with a tour of the Itaipu Dam. The dam is built on the Paranß river and straddles both Brazil and Paraguay. The two countries control the dam and share the power output. Americans need a visa to enter Paraguay, but you can "cross into" Paraguay temporarily while on the heavily guarded/controlled dam site (Erynn on the border in the right photo). The engineering of the dam is incredible, and it was the biggest dam in the world from 1984 until the Chinese Three Gorges dam was completed in 2003.
Panorama of the dam.
Left photo is one of the 20 turbines. Right photo are the inlet pipes. The dam is big...
After Argentina and the dam on Saturday, we toured the Brazilian side of the falls on Sunday. Having a guide was invaluable, since private tours were able to skip many of the queues. The Brazilian side is basically a long, straight walk from the parking lot to the large horseshoe falls. Across the river are tremendous view of the Argentina falls that we toured the previous day.
This is a panorama photo of the falls and river. The distance from left to right is almost a mile. The river was straight at the point we were standing, but as you swing the camera the photo comes out curved. There wasn't a good vantage point to show the massive scale of nature on display. Much more impressive than Niagara Falls!
You can walk pretty far into the horseshoe. On the Brazilian side you're below the crest of the falls. On the Argentine side, the walkway is on top of the horseshoe and you look down into the falls. Very different perspectives, and both worth it.
Here are some pictures of the walkways leading into the falls. Lots of people...
The last "adventure" of our long weekend in Brazil was a boat tour of the falls on the Brazilian side. It was super fun, and not too scary. After an electric tour bus ride through the nature preserve, we arrived at the river to take a gondola ride down to the river dock.
The boat drove pretty deep into the neck of the falls and even drove a portion of the boat through a small waterfall. Doug was "lucky" enough to be dowsed, and let's just say water dropping over 100 feet is heavy...
We didn't get many photos deep into the falls for obvious camera vs. water reasons. But we highly recommend the boat tour.
Ms Erynn had a wonderful trip. Business class both ways and hanging out the lounge in SŃo Paulo! The only way to travel...
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