So after a week in the Argentine capital it was time to set off on our 18 hour bus journey north to Puerto Iguazu. The buses in Argentina are top class, and this sleeper bus was no different so with it being an overnight journey, meals provided and reclining seats fit for a king, ‘Pockets’ and I didn’t have much to complain about.
Upon arriving we made our way to our 7euro a night hostel. Having been so long on the bus both of our first instincts once we got checked in was to brush our teeth… Then we got to the bathroom.. Out the back near a not so nice swimming pool… 7euro a night I remind myself.
At this point it’s about 2:30pm and we’ve been advised that the Brazilian side of the falls is easily done in a few hours so we set about seeing if we can get it done straight away. Quick chat/attempted interpretation with the receptionist and a taxi is arranged to take us across the border.
At border control we hand our passports to the taxi driver who in turn hands them to the officer and gets them back, all the while we are in the back of a tinted window vehicle. I found that very strange. Anyway off we go.
When we arrived at the falls our driver seems to take a bit of a panic when he looked at the size of the queue, we were not sure why, it was long but fast moving and we were through in 5-10minutes with no problems.
Once inside a bus takes you down to the falls and the first sight of the falls is nothing short of breathtaking. They say a picture paints a thousand words but no picture will come close to experiencing something like that in person. The volume of water, the size of the falls both in height and width are all staggering. We wonder along the paths taking in all the viewpoints and even venturing out to a pathway that well and truly soaks you from the spray of the falls.
The Brazilian side of the falls was fantastic, no doubt, but as expected there was no need to spend a full day there – the few hours we spent was just right.
We agreed to meet our taxi driver at the entrance at 5pm, he was late (chance 1). While we were waiting we both used the restrooms for fear of having to use the toilet we encountered at the hostel again! When our driver arrived about 20 minutes late he was flustered again, this time about customs. We weren’t sure why exactly but when we got to customs there were massive queues so it became clear. In saying this, taxiing people to and from the falls is his job so I’m sure he should see these queues all the time!? Anyway we go through the border control system again on the way back into Argentina and the the same process of our driver taking our passports happens again. The closest we get to being really checked for I.D. to see if it was actually us is our driver telling passport control that we were Irish and that we were still upset about the rugby!! I found this whole process strange, but apparently there is an agreement between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay that allows free movement of day visitors through the borders without any hassle. Still though it seemed as though the system was too relaxed as we’d been through 2 border controls and no one had even seen our faces.
Once we got through the border we turned out attention to dinner. Pockets asked the driver if he had any recommendations for places to eat. He promptly replied and said “are you one of those vegetarians and feminists?”, “Yes” Sinead retorted, “Oh you will find it hard enough around these parts” he replied again. We couldn’t help but laugh!
When we returned to the hostel we noticed another bathroom, an inside bathroom, with a bath/shower… Thankfully! It felt like a palace after the outside bathroom we had seen that morning.
We booked the same taxi driver for the next morning to take us to the Argentinian side of the falls at 8am which we are told take a full day to experience properly.
Morning arrives and our taxi man does not. He is late again (chance 2), he eventually arrives about 20 minutes late and we set off, collecting other passengers on the way to the falls too.
When we get to the falls we go to pay by card. “Cash only” the man states, noting that everything inside the park can be paid by card. Ya, I couldn’t make much sense of that either. We made our way to the ATM – out of order – uh oh, what now!? After making a few enquires I was told there was an ATM inside the park and that I could go in to get money out. I did that and came back for Sinead to pay for the both of us but it was clear as the day went on that if I had stayed and she did something similar then we would have been in for free, but no we are too nice/stupid to do something like that.
There are several routes to choose from to see different parts and of course we planned on seeing them all so we decided to take the longest trip first (via tram) to the top of the ‘Devils Throat’. The views did not disappoint. Again, much like the Brazilian side, it was hard to fathom the sheer scale of the falls. We headed back on the tram after an ample amount of selfies and made our way to the superior trail and finally the inferior trail where we would eventually come to the boat ride (we had to pay extra for this but was worth every penny!!) into the base of the falls. This is where the GoPro came into its element, we got absolutely drenched from head to toe, even with jackets/ponchos on but the GoPro captured every moment! I’m not sure how safe it was to get that close to the falls but it was an amazing experience and a must if you visit the falls!
Once we finished the boat trip we had pretty much all our site seeing done and had our fill of the amazing Iguazu Falls. When we arrived this morning we asked our driver if he could pick us up at 3pm because we had a bus to catch at 5:45pm but he said no and that he would pick us up at 4:30pm along with the other passengers and he would get us to the bus on time. 4:30pm arrives, our driver does not. Thankfully we hadn’t paid the driver yet and we give him 20minutes extra, because we are nice like that and it only takes 20 minutes to get back so we had some wiggle room. 20 minutes passed and our driver was all out of chances so we got a taxi back, collected our bags at the hostel and made for the bus station.
Iguazu is the sort of place that is generally considered so far out of the way that people might consider not going. My advice is that there is no consideration to be made. You just go. It is worth it. Simple as that. The only advice that might be needed is to maybe give yourself an extra day or two incase it is cloudy. We got lucky with clear blue skies but not everyone will.
So Thats the end of the Argentinian leg of the trip, for now, and we head for Uruguay via Concordia and then across the border to grab a bus from Salto to Montivedeo. Another day, another country, another adventure.
Bus to Concordia (border town to Uruguay) from Iguazu. Approx 800 pesos. Same comfort as previous bus, overnight and 1 meal, 12 hour bus. This bus was easy to organise at station in Iguazu.
Local buses go from Concordia to Salto, and from our experience there seem to be timed to coincide with the Salto to Montivedeo bus but we didn’t realize at the time. As we missed the bus by ten minutes and there was a four our gap to the next one we got a taxi. 400 Argentinian pesos between 4 of us. Expensive if u are on your own. But when we arrived we realized that there wasn’t a bus from Salto to Montivedeo for another four hours either so we could have waited for the local bus. We didn’t get the price of the local bus but I imagine it was small. It was a public holiday in Uruguay the day of the buses so there were less buses than normal and I think the gap usually would be less than 4 hours!
Bus from Salto (Border town to Argentina) to Montivedeo. 7hours, Day bus, same comfort as other buses. No food.