Iguazú Falls (Brazil side), birds and getting to Buenos Aires

After a good night’s rest, I was up early on Saturday. I had a flight to catch later in the afternoon, but had a couple of things I wanted to do first.

Leaving the hotel at about 8.30, I walked across to see the same falls I saw yesterday in Argentina from the Brazilian park. The hotel’s location really is perfect – a minute’s walk across the road and I was at the start of the one trail.

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The guide books were right when they said it’s worth spending more time on the Argentinian side of the falls. There’s much more to do and see in the Argentinian park, and everything seems organised a bit better. I think it also helped that I’d had really good weather the day before. When I got to the “Devil’s Throat” in Brazil I really couldn’t see that much as the picture below shows!

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I also didn’t see any animals! Though I was early, none of the food places were open yet, although you could take a very creaky and ancient looking lift up for a bird’s eye view of the falls.

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There are a lot of steps down to reach the falls in Brazil but luckily you don’t need to worry about climbing them on the way back! I found a road at street level which had me back at the hotel after a 15 minute walk. The whole walk had only taken me about 45 minutes which meant I’d made it back to the hotel in time for breakfast. Yay!

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Those potato rösti cakes were like a piece of heaven. That’s not lasagne by the way, it was a kind of chicken pie.

After checking out and booking a hotel driver to take me to the airport later, I caught the shuttle bus down to the park entrance and walked the short distance to the last thing I wanted to see in Iguassu – the Bird Park, or Parque das Aves. It was the one other attraction in the area that seemed genuinely worth seeing (I’m not including that dodgy looking wax museum Amy was advertising at the airport).

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The park was great. They had loads of interesting information on not only the birds but the conservation work they did. A lot of the birds had been rescued, which just made me sad. Apparently poaching is a big issue in the rainforests in the parks. There was a massive area just for parrots and it was weird just to see them flying over your head!

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I managed to walk around in an hour, but you could easily double that and take more time.

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The coolest things I saw was the toucans – it was really great getting up so close to them! Although I read they eat baby birds which put me off them a bit – not so friendly now, eh?

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The park also has a butterfly section. I was walking through that when all of a sudden a wee girl screamed at me and her Dad stopped me from walking any further. A butterfly had landed right on my shoe – thankfully I didn’t crush it!

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There was also a big caiman. I had to look that up. It’s a kind of alligator but they only grow to half the size of an American alligator.

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I made my way back to the hotel and took one last look at the falls….

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….before getting in the car to take me to the airport in Argentina. When the hotel driver and I passed the tourist shop I’d got my pesos in the other day, he told me they did the best coffee in the area. Two minutes later we were circling back to get some. It was alright!

This time I made sure we stopped at Brazilian immigration control so I could get an exit stamp in my visa.

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And soon we were crossing the border into Argentina again.

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The small airport at Cataratas Del Iguazu was weird looking – I thought it looked more like council offices than an airport.

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After going through security, you entered a room with a closed off door. Then after what seemed like an eternal wait that door opened and you were in another room with a closed door. Where you waited again. Finally though, I boarded the LAN flight to Buenos Aires.

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And there was another snack box! Which hit the spot for lunch.

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The flight was absolutely fine. One old lady sitting next to me did get up and walk to the toilet at the back of the plane two minutes before landing, but she never came back. So either she was in there when we landed or a stewardess stopped her and made her sit down at the back!

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My first impressions of Buenos Aires – from the taxi from the airport – is that it’s a stunning city. It looks really European and has a cool vibe and beautiful architecture.

After checking in at my hotel, I headed off to try and get an Argentian Sim. The hotel staff had told me to try a shopping mall called Galerias Pacifico. It was open until 10pm! There’s definitely more of a late night culture here, and apparently people don’t go out for dinner (including families) until about 9pm.

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Inside the mall was just as impressive as from the outside. I didn’t have any luck getting a Sim there though.

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Eventually I picked one up in a convenience store. By now ravenous, yes….

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But it’s only my second time there on my entire trip! I had a hot pepper chicken burger.

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Then I headed back to the hotel to try and sort my Sim out. It was definitely not as easy as in Brazil. It took two calls to activate it (which the receptionist kindly did for me), but then I had to create an account online, top the card up, and then buy an Internet pack, before working out you needed to put the internet settings in your phone manually. Finding them took at least half an hour by itself. Still for £4 I had Internet on the go for a week (although allowances here are really stingy, the speed gets throttled if you used more than 30mb in a day).

Finally I crawled into bed and read for a bit before dozing off. I had to head back to the same airport I’d just flown in to in the morning for yet another flight. But I was already looking forward to having some time to chill out in the city on my return from what I’d seen so far.