Eleanor Roosevelt was absolutely right when she exclaimed “Poor Niagara!” upon her visit to Iguazú Falls. Having seen both, we can only agree (although the Niagara Falls are a still spectacular view). The Iguazú Falls are a massive complex of water, rock and sheer force of nature.
We visited both the Argentine and the Brazilian national park. We did the Argentine side first, which brings you very close to the falls: On secured metal paths, you can walk right over some of the over 220 falls of various size or stand right by the intense spray of water thundering down a few dozens of meters.
And, we got to add another country to our list of visited countries on this trip—Brazil (although we didn’t get our passports stamped at the border). Yet, we count it as officially “been there” since we spent a whole day and several reais there. The Brazilian side offers the perfect and complete view of the fall’s full size. It was amazing!
Visiting both sides is absolutely worth it! You have to pay an entry fee twice, but you will be rewarded with a one-of-a-kind natural spectacle.
In contrast to the Niagara Falls we’ve visited in 2015, we were also very pleased to see that the nearby cities of Puerto Iguazú (Argentina) and Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil) have, despite their obviously heavy turnaround of tourists, remained very humble and low-key (if you disregard the huge Wax Museum and the large Duty Free Store at the border). Iguazú is not an amusement park, which makes it score better than their US-Canadian counterparts.
While in Brazil, we also spent a few hours at the Parque das Aves, a bird park 200 meters next to the entrance to the Iguaçu National Park, which was absolutely stunning. Half of the birds there were rescued from trafficking and mistreatment, which made the fact that the birds are held in cages more acceptable (we are no big zoo lovers). You could even enter the cages and almost cuddle with toucans, parakeets, macaws and other colorful and exotic birds and butterflies.
When in Argentina, do as the Argentines do
Two months into our stay in Argentina, we are proud to report that we made good efforts in integrating ourselves into the local habits. We now got our own mate cups and bombillas that we proudly carry around everywhere we go—just as the Argentine and Uruguayans do. We didn’t go as far as getting our own matera, a bag used to carry mate, thermos, sugar and yerba mate that many people are equipped with. I think you see that Argentines take their mate game very seriously.
We experiences this dedication first-hand when we took our mate cups to our hotel’s breakfast room to prepare some mate with the yerba provided at the buffet table. Simone was approached by an Argentine lady, another guest, who friendly suggested that we use a thermos to refill our mate. She saw us pouring hot water into the cups (a no-go, obviously—water used for mate should not be boiling hot) and had her ask the staff for water at the appropriate temperature filled in a thermos.