Monday, February 28, 2011
A weekend of flight offers was the reason we booked a trip to Foz do Iguaçu. We didn’t have much time, but it was definitely worth it.
Our hostel was downtown, but it was pretty easy to go to the waterfalls. The same bus that goes to the airport goes to the national park.
People had told me before it’s better to visit the Brazilian side first and now I can only agree.
There was a big line and some people offering raincoats. It’s better to buy the raincoats at the park’s official store. The price is the same, but the quality is better. The entrance fee varies. As a Brazilian, I paid R$ 22,70. People from countries of Mercosul pay R$ 31,70 and the fee for foreigners from other countries is R$ 37,70.
The double deck buses take a road with a few stops, where tours are offered. We didn’t have much time, so we didn’t do those tours, but I want to go back for the bike tour at Trilha do Poço Preto and the Macuco Safari.
We stopped at Trilha das Cataratas. It’s just a 1,2 km walk with great views that just get better and better. A fact: you WILL get wet! So it’s important to have something to protect cameras and other things that can’t handle water. ;)
In front of Parque Nacional do Iguaçu there is the Parque das Aves (Birds Park). From the road one can already see the ostriches.
In the afternoon, we went to Paraguay. We took a bus in front of the bus station and crossed the Ponte da Amizade (Friendship Bridge). Unless you want to buy electronics and make-up I don’t recommend going there. There isn’t much to see in Ciudad del Este and it’s quite irritating how they want you to buy something.
On Sunday, we went to the Argentinean side. The bus from Foz do Iguaçu goes to the bus station from where the busses to the national park leave. They don’t accept reais, only pesos! Luckily, close to the bus station there are some ATMs.
They also have different prices for Argentineans, Mercosul tourists and other foreigners. I paid 70 pesos (about 30 reais). There are many tours, but not on the day I was there. The water level was so high, they cancelled most of the tours. And they were more expensive than the ones on the Brazilian side.
We took the train to Cataratas Station and started our walk to the upper circuit. The view is incredible! The lower circuit is closer to the waterfalls. We wrapped our bags in our raincoats and got soaked. Some people walked around in bathing suits. The feeling is just great!
On our way back it started raining quite heavily. Although we were wet already it didn’t feel really nice. We decided to eat something and once again it’s important to have pesos. They accept reais, dollars and even euros at some places, but the exchange currencies are just horrible. They charged 0.50 real = 1 peso when the actual currency is about 1 real = 2.4 pesos.
Going on, we took the last train to the Devil’s Throat. It’s a nice walk above the river and the Devil’s Throat is simply breathtaking! And it’s even a little bit scaring how close the path gets to the falls. The water goes down with such strength and the drops come up again like a drizzle.
On our way back, we found out the buses from Puerto Iguazu to Foz do Iguaçu run until 7 pm. So, we took a remisse to go to the border line and then a cab to our hostel.
Another thing on my to-do-list for the next time I’m in Foz is visiting Itaipu. It’s the biggest power plant in Brazil and I’ve heard the tour is also very interesting.
I'd say that three to four days is the best. Brazilian side and Birds Park on the first day, Argentinean side on the second and Itaipu on the last one. Add the fourth day if you want to relax a bit or go shopping in Paraguay. ;)
Thursday, February 24, 2011
In January, for the first time, my family traveled abroad with me. My mom always said she wanted to visit Buenos Aires and after some work (hard one actually), my sister and I convinced her it was time to make it happen.
It was my second time in the city, what was good because I already had a good idea of what was interesting to see, what they’d like and also how much time we needed for some of the attractions.
We only had four days, but we managed to see a lot anyway. Our first stop was at Plaza Francia. We went to Recoleta and to the street market they have on weekends. Just crossing the street, there is the Floralis Generica.
On our way back to the hotel, we walked around the neighbouhood Recoleta, passing in front of Brazilian and French Embassies. We walked on Cerrito Street, passed in front of Teatro Colón and went until Av Corrietes.
At Avenida 9 de Julio, close to the obelisk, look up. On the top of one of the buildings, there is a little house. I learnt that the man who built it was too lazy to walk home from work every day and just made his life easier moving to a house on the top of the place where he worked. But searching for more info, I read that the salesman Don Rafael Diaz actually wanted to have a little cottage in heaven.
Going on, we reached Casa Rosada. On weekend, they have a guided tour each ten minutes. It was in Spanish, but not much was spoken.
Second day was a bit slower. We took some nice walk on Puerto Madero. It’s a very fancy neighbourhood. Close to it, there is the Reserva Ecologica, where I took a very nice walk during my first trip.
Next stop was San Telmo. One can’t miss the street market on Sundays. There is a nice atmosphere and also some cool stuff to buy. I got my picture with Mafalda (Chile x Defensa) and another in front of the smallest house in Buenos Aires (San Lorenzo x Defensa).
This time I took a picture of the wind couple.
Lunch was at Habibi. Great arab food!
Being at San Telmo, I really needed to stop at Walrus bookshop, a very nice second-hand for books in english.
We had a shopping day. Many Brazilians travel to Buenos Aires just for this. And I didn’t do it during my first trip. This time, I found some cool stuff. There are many cool designers there, especially in Palermo.
El Ateno bookshop is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It used to be a theater and nowadays one can have nice coffee and alfajor at the old stage.
The city is pretty flat, so it’s a great place to walk and just pay attention to the beautiful architecture. I took a nice zig-zag walk going down on Santa Fé Av., going up on Corrientes until the Congress and then down again on Avenida de Mayo and back to the hotel.
Café Tortoni is a nice place and has one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had. But the cappuccino isn’t any special.
P.S.: some pictures like the little house on the top of the building are missing because this is the second post I write about Buenos Aires.