Our eyeholes were in for such a fucking treat today, guys! The mighty Iguazu Falls, the absolute crown jewels of… Argentina actually. The vast majority of the waterfalls aren’t in Brazil at all, if you want to get all cosy with them then you’re on the wrong side if you’re approaching from Foz Do Iguaçu. Argentina may have the falls but Brazil has those sweet, sweet panoramic views that Instagram goes weak at the knees for, and that’s what we’d be applying firmly to our eyeholes today.
We bussed it to the national park, parted with our entrance fee and shuffled towards the free buses that would take us to the start of the waterfall trail. People inexplicably took to clapping when the bus pulled away. I bet they fucking clap when the plane lands too. Some people don’t deserve to have hands.
Anyway! You’re deposited at the start of a well paved trail that takes you along the Rio Iguazu with viewpoints showcasing the best conglomerate of fast moving H2O the area has to offer. You can hear it before you see it. What is it about waterfalls? Whether it’s a thin ribbon streaming down a rockface becoming all but mist at the bottom or thundering displays of sheer power, I fucking love them. I’ll never get bored of them as long as I have functioning eyeballs in my head.
It just gets better and better as you make your way along the trail, slowly sacrificing several layers of skin to the sun gods. It was a stark contrast to the biblical downpours we’d had in Florianópolis. I mean, we were still utterly drenched but this time it was from every molecule of water in our entire beings making a break for freedom through various pores.
We found a queue for a viewpoint and joined it because we’re painfully British like that. We didn’t even know if this particular viewpoint was wonderful enough to spend twenty minutes in a queue but we figured there were no terrible views at Iguazu Falls, plus the park lays on entertainment in the form of various critters.
You come here for the waterfalls and you get all of that plus lizards in various degrees of “will that fucker eat my face?”, butterflies in colours I didn’t even realise they came in, and these pointy faced racoon type buggers called coatis that will nick your lunch as soon as look at you. They’re fearless and have clearly worked out that humans keep food in backpacks because that’s what they go sniffing at.
I think the highlight for everyone was when a whole nursery of baby coatis tumbled out of the foliage and set to work inspecting bags and feet. We were in flip flops, I definitely didn’t want them anywhere near my feet, coatis are devastatingly adorable but they have many sharp bits that I didn’t want introducing to my flesh. As hideous as my feet are they keep me upright and I’d prefer them to remain intact. To be fair I’m surprised that anything with a sense of smell would want to be anywhere near my feet either but they were very curious.
We got our photos and dragged ourselves away from the tiny bundles of fur with knives for hands, and off we fucked further up the trail. If you think what you’ve seen so far is epic just wait until you rub your eyeballs all over the end of this trail. Garganta do Diabo, the Devil’s Throat, redefines spectacular. You’ll know you’re there because you can barely hear yourself speak over the roar of the waterfalls which kick up mist and spray for several metres.
A walkway leads out over the river, this is as close as you’re going to get on the Brazilian side without taking a boat or launching yourself into the water like a fucking maniac, and you’re not going to remain any manner of dry regardless of which of the three options you plump for. I couldn’t stop grinning like someone had stapled my cheeks to my ears as this incredible force of nature indiscriminately coated everyone and everything in a layer of spray.
This was my second visit to Cataratas Do Iguaçu but Tarrant had never been before. Not only did I get to share one of my most favourite places in all the world with the woman I love I got to see her reaction when she first laid eyes on them. She does this with me when we’re watching her favourite films that I’ve never seen. She doesn’t watch the movie, she watches me for my reaction. Sure, I got an immense amount of joy from seeing the falls again but I also got a lot of joy seeing how happy they made Tarrant.
That afternoon, back in Foz Do Iguaçu, we shovelled buffalo wings into our chops and chatted about what we wanted to do with the afternoon. We still had another full day in Foz tomorrow but we wanted to watch the Brazil game so we figured we might as well head to to Marco das Três Fronteiras which is where rivers separate Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay and they’ve made quite a thing about it.
Okay, I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but it’s definitely not somewhere to get to too early unless you have a disappointment fetish. Hey, we don’t kink shame here. It’s my fault, I should have researched it more. You pay your entrance fee then it’s basically a gift shop and a load of places to eat and drink. Oh, and the obelisk. You can see Argentina and Paraguay across the rivers. The former built theirs at the same time as Brazil, the latter’s was built many years later.
No way were we paying to do a lap of a big, stone pillar so we sat down to apply a couple of motor impairment beverages to our faceholes. Tarrant pointed out that there aren’t many places you can do that whilst gawping at two other completely different countries, and the eyehole fodder is pretty awesome to be fair.
There are information boards around the place (in Portuguese, you’ll need Google Translate if you don’t speak the language) telling the story of the region. This area was inhabited by the indigenous Guarani people who migrated from the Amazon and settled here. They developed a common language and sustainable farming methods. Then the Jesuits rocked up to try and convert them to Christianity and to “civilise” them. Because nothing screams “civil” than forcing a whole race of people to agree with your bizarre ideas of a magic sky man who loves you but will still probably cast you head first into the fiery pits of hell just for having a wank.
At about 6.30pm they started the show. I’m not entirely sure what it was about, I don’t know if they were telling the story of the history of the region or the culture of the three countries or what but there was much dancing. It was actually really good regardless of the fact we didn’t have a fucking clue as to what was going on.
The weather had started to go to shit though, we heard rumbles of thunder and lightning split the sky over yonder. The dancers carried on unfazed. Big drops of water started to fall so we noped out of there. I think if you’re going to do this then check for good weather as the show is a bit of fun and if the sky wasn’t stacked with grey clouds the sunset would have been a stunner.
Parque Nacional do Iguaçu & Marco das Três Fronteiras, Foz Do Iguaçu, Paraná, Brazil
Stayed at: Iguassu Central Flats, Foz Do Iguaçu
Useful shit to know…
- You can Uber to the National Park but it’s so easy to take the bus.
- Linha 120 goes all the way from the central bus station to the park via the airport.
- As a side note, if you’re using this bus to get from the airport, make sure it’s going the right way as it pulls into the same place regardless of the direction it’s heading.
- If you’re not staying near the bus station then ask at your accommodation where the closest bus stop is.
- It cost R$5 each one way and we paid the driver in cash.
- The journey took about an hour.
- You can catch the bus back to downtown from the same place it drops you.
- To buy your tickets for the falls you can either buy online and choose your time slot, or buy from the self service machines on the day.
- The self service machines are card only and you’ll be asked to choose a time slot for the internal bus which will take you to the falls. You can just choose the next available. This bus is included in your entrance fee.
- If you book online and want to change your time slot this is potentially possible subject to availability. Look for the Visitor Support office, they may be able to reschedule you.
- Entry cost R$86 each at the time of writing (December 2022).
- There are loads of other things you can do here including a helicopter ride, rafting, canyoning, and a boat ride under the falls. These cost extra.
- There are toilets and places to eat at the end of the waterfall trail, and toilets about half way too.
- You don’t need to book a time slot for the park bus back to the visitor centre, you just have to be on one before 5.30pm.
- To get to Marco das Três Fronteiras take the 110 from the main terminal, but check it’s actually going there. Not every 110 goes to the attraction, it should say it on the front of the bus.
- It’ll drop you in the car park.
- I don’t think the bus runs that late but you can Uber back to town for about R$20.
- It cost R$48 each to get in including some manner of optional thing. Deselect that to get in for R$45 if you like.
- It’s really not worth arriving too early. A show started around 6.30pm I think, and if it wasn’t cloudy I think the sunset would have been nice.
- It’s got several places to eat and drink.
- I didn’t have any 4G signal here but they have free WiFi if you need an Uber.
- We booked our bus from Florianópolis to Foz Do Iguaçu with Busbud.
- I looked into booking directly with the two different bus companies but they wanted CPF numbers and everything had to be translated.
- It turned out Catarinense wasn’t direct and we would have had to change in Curitiba so we opted for the direct bus with Nordeste.
- We were instructed to print out the vouchers to be exchanged for tickets at the bus station. We had to show both passports to get both tickets.
- It cost GB£38.68 each (Busbud seems to charge in your own currency) and this got us a semi-leite which means half bed. The seat was comfortable and reclined a decent way but not flat. There was plenty of leg room so you didn’t feel trapped when the person in front reclined their seat.
- The AC was actually a perfect temperature.
- We stopped at least three times for a 25 minute break for food in what should have been a 14.5 hour journey.
- Dear reader, it was not a 14.5 hour journey. The weather had caused floods, landslides and road closures resulting in detours and over 24 hours on this fucking bus. We were lucky though, Catarinense had completely cancelled their buses.