Wednesday, August 12, 2009

South America 2009 - Day 6 (8/12/2009) - Puerto Iguazú

We ended up leaving the hostel a little later than we had planned, but we blamed this on the sun being later to rise than we had anticipated. After breakfast, we departed around 9:30 to catch the bus to Puerto Iguazú, where we would take another bus to the Argentinian side of the falls. While crossing the border, we got off the bus once to go through the entrance portion of Argentinian immigration (take note that we did not get exit stamps from Brazil). At the bus terminal in Puerto Iguazú, we realized that we did not have Argentinian currency, so we walked down to an ATM in order to get some. After returning, we encountered two girls that we had seen the day before on the Brazilian side of the falls. We bought our bus tickets to the falls, and then took the bus there.

After we paid and entered the park (around 11:30), we ran into the two girls (Paula and Andrea - sisters from San Juan, Argentina, but who live in Spain) again. This time we decided to hang together, and we stayed that way for the rest of the day. We first walked down a short path and caught the park train to Garganta del Diablo, where we were able to walk across the river and up close to the Devil's Throat. It was about 1:30 when we were finished with this, so we had to hustle in order to grab lunch and see the rest of the park before it closed. We forewent the buffet restaurant and instead grabbed some sandwiches for lunch at one of the fast food stores. We then went through the upper and lower circuit paths, with a very wet stop close to the feet of one of the falls. This time Greg and I were prepared, and brought our rain gear.

We departed the park around 5:30 and headed to Hito Tres Fronteras, the point where Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay meet, and the Iguazú and the Paraná rivers converge. We stayed there for a bit then took the bus back to the Puerto Iguazú terminal in time to catch the last bus back to Foz do Iguaçu at 7:00. While waiting for the bus to Foz, we ran into another group of people that we had seen the day before - Luiz (a local of Foz but who has been around the Americas and Europe), Gwen (a Frenchman visiting Luiz - they met while Luiz was studying in France), and Cecilia (a couchsurfer who had hosted Luiz and Gwen in São Paulo).  The bus ride back was mostly uneventful until we reached the Brazil border, where everyone got out of the bus to go through immigration.  While I was going through, they noticed that I had not stamped my passport on the way out, and started questioning me about it.  I didn't think it was a big deal (especially since Greg went through fine), until it looked like they were going to detain me, and the bus was starting to leave.  Greg had to stop the bus while they finally let me go, and I was able to rejoin the group.

After arriving in Foz, the group decided to have dinner together at a churrascaria downtown. After eating and conversing for a while, we exchanged contact information and went our separate ways around 11:45 - Greg and I took the bus back to our hostel.

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