Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Backpacking South America - Foz do Iguacu

So, our first full day is complete here in Foz do Iguacu, Parana, Brazil.  What an awesome experience it has been so far!  We arrived here last night by plane and after agreeing to stick to our budget, we waited for the city bus that would take us to what we hoped would be our hostel.

Hoped because we didn't actually book anything before coming. (oooooooooooh ahhhhhhhhhhhhh dangerous!)
Yeah, we know. :)

We did have in mind the place we wanted to stay which was either Hostelling International (where we have a membership) or Hostel Natura.  At the end of the day, Natura had a private room available so we went there.  The city bus actually only drops you off at the street where the hostel is located, so that meant we had to walk for 1.5 km with our 30 lb packs, at 9 pm in the pitch dark... not the safest start to our trip but being on the dirt road with no city lights, a sea of bright, beautiful stars above us, hearing the frogs chirping all around us, was worth it (or at least was a great scene for a murder).

So, obviously we got here safely (unless my doppleganger is writing this) (they are not).  This morning we woke up early and were the first to eat the AWESOME buffet breakfast Hostel Natura offers.  Great start to the day.  Then, back down the creepy road, which was hardly creepy in the day, to catch the bus to the falls.  The falls were magnificent.  In our Lonely Planet South America book, one of the authors compares it to Niagara Falls.  It does NOT compare, in my opinion.  It has far more falls, far more natural pathway to see the falls, far more beauty, in my opinion.  Could be that I've seen Niagara hundreds of times and am numb to the grandiosity.

After we went back to the main bus terminal, where it was suggested to us that we could find really great, really cheap shopping in Paraguay, which would take just 10 minutes to cross.  (Side Note: One of us accidentally forgot the charger for his laptop.  Yes, perhaps you have figured out who accidentally forgot).  Anyway, we decided to cross the border, in my opinion at least to get our passports stamped.  To my dismay (and a little bit furious-ness) we didn't even have to go through any sort of customs whatsoever.  We got into Paraguay like a couple of on-the-run fugitives looking to score some cheap crap.  And score we did.  We found our charger, haggled down the price a bit, and left paying only $R34.
Paraguay was everything I was hoping for and wasn't expecting.  It was a crazy market filled with civilians selling EVERYTHING.  I can't even believe it was just 10  minutes away from Brazil.  It was a totally different country - the people acted and looked different, everything had this orange type of clay on it - literally the whole place looked orange (Ro pointed out).  The markets on the sidewalk were covered in tarp (EXACTLY like Mexico City) and the road was ridiculous, with cars, motos and pedestrians all trying to share one lane.  (Side Note: Pedestrians ALWAYS lose. Motos ALWAYS win).  Everyone was trying to catch our attention with Amiga! Amigo!  Taxi Taxi!!  O que voce ta procurando?  O que voce precisa?  hahaha!! It was crazy!  We loved it.

After that, we took another bus to see the biggest dam (in the world?)  The Itaipu Dam is now one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World.  Annnnnnnd it has a lot of water.  I'm gonna let Ro field this as it was his trip really (and it was interesting but I was exhausted and couldn't really understand the guide's English very well...

Anyway!  Gotta get to bed - getting up early early again tomorrow and then heading over to the Argentinian side of the falls and then we are off on a 12 hour bus ride to Rosario, Che Guevera's birthplace!  Loving South America!


  1. You're gonna LOVE the Argentina side!! I hope you have all day! Have fun.

  2. Hey, I just found your blog from Danielle's blog. My husband is from Rio too but we live in the US. Can't wait to read more!

  3. @Jim - we DID love the Argentinian side and JUST becuase you suggested it, we changed our bus time to the late bus so we could spend the day there. It was completely worth it - I loved it so so so much. Definitely one of the most beautiful sites I've ever seen.
    @Mrs.Carioca - I've already been reading your blog too! I'm so happy you found mine :) I'm finally making my way into the (blog) world of Brazilian ex-pats ;)


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