Brazil – Rio to Foz Do Iguaçu

I honestly can’t believe I’ve been in South America a week already! Weirdly, in some ways it feels like I only arrived yesterday, in others it feels like I’ve been here forever (that’s a good feeling!)

I was up way too early on Thursday morning, as I had a flight to catch. I took one last walk onto Copacabana beach, still a bit annoyed I hadn’t had the weather to enjoy it or even sit on it. The weather that morning hadn’t improved at all…

Still stunning, but a bit gloomy!

I had a very quick breakfast in the hotel before checking out and negotiating who was going to take me to the airport. That’s the one thing I would say isn’t brilliant here – every hotel seems to have its own drivers who they’ll suggest to take you anywhere, but it comes at a vastly inflated price. I was quoted almost double the price of a normal taxi to go to the airport, so I opted for the latter.

Soon we were flying along the motorway to the airport. I hadn’t really noticed anything on the way into Rio as it had been dark when I arrived, but this time I just noticed how horrific the traffic was coming the other way. It was literally queued all the way into the city as we sped in the opposite direction. I’d hate to be stuck in that every morning!

Arriving at the airport, I checked in, and went through security. Waaaay too early. Rio’s main airport is in the middle of having a lot of work done to it, having been taken over by a consortium that in part includes the operators of Singapore’s amazing airport. But that work is in its very early stages, meaning that there is practically nothing to do in the airport once you get through security – a couple (literally) of shops and three snack places.

As you can see it’s just a load of gates and that’s about it. I had an hour and a half, so just wandered up and down repeatedly until my flight was called to board.

I was flying on TAM – a Oneworld airline, which meant I got to enjoy priority boarding etc, but unfortunately there’s no lounge for domestic flights in Rio. The flight was great – about two hours long, the crew were nice, and you got a little snack as well…

Finally if you’d downloaded their app, you could stream movies and TV shows to your own device. I didn’t know about that until I was on board, so none of that for me. I just watched The Jinx on my iPad (highly recommend that show).

Two hours after taking off, we were touching down in the next destination of my trip – Foz Do Iguaçu, a city on the border with Argentina.

It was scorchio!

Really like sun-splitting-the-pavement roasting. Walking in the terminal I was greeted by who else but of course Amy Winehouse.

She was advertising a waxwork museum (please go and look at that link and see who’s on their home page) along with the Pope and Johnny Depp, but that wasn’t what I was in the town to see. Foz Do Igaçu’s home to Cataratas Do Iguaçu, a national park which is home to Iguazu Falls – a series of waterfalls, but some of which are 82 metres high. They’ve been named one of the modern seven wonders of the world.

I hailed a taxi from outside the airport, and headed for my hotel. I’ve splurged a bit on this one – it’s the only hotel actually in the Brazilian national park. Ten minutes in the taxi, and I’d arrived at the entrance to the park.

That’s as far as taxis or cars are allowed to go. I had to wait for the hotel’s shuttle bus to come and collect me – but there was coffee to keep me going while I waited. A short while later I was at the hotel.

It’s lovely. Really gorgeous, and a bit like old school safari inside. On checking in, I was told that due to a cancellation I could upgrade to a room with a view of the falls. Meh I thought, but then on the other hand I thought well I am only here once. So I did it.

That is really not a bad view! After a quick spot of lunch I thought I’d make the most of the lovely weather, and do absolutely nothing but lie at the pool and finish my book.

It was just brilliant – totally relaxing and chilled out, and attendants came round with flavoured water and fresh fruit. I spent a good couple of hours like that.

Then I grabbed my camera and quickly scooted across the road from the hotel to get a couple of shots of the falls. I’d be doing more exploring over the next two days but thought it might just be my only chance to catch them at sunset, which is what I did (although I was there way too early, got bored, and probably missed the later part of the sunset).

After that, I headed off to dinner which was a brilliant buffet. Including roasted potato stuffed with sausage. Whoever thought of that needs a medal!

I think I’ve probably got the carb balance all wrong there but what the hell, I’m on holiday.

A glass of vino later, and I was in bed. Hopefully the weather tomorrow would be just as good so I could top up my tan!