We were told it would take no more than an hour to get to Puerto Iguazu from Ciudad del Este; we naively took that as a fact, even though it came from the same lady in the bus terminal who had misinformed us a few times before. I guess this is what you get when you just refuse to learn from mistakes!
So anyway, we thought if we woke up at 7am we’d manage to get to Puerto Iguazu, check into a hostel and go see the falls on the same day. Yeah… that clearly happened just as expected. Not! Two hours after we got on the bus we were still struggling to get out of the main road in Ciudad del Este. The jam was incredible! We then understood much better why we had seen so many motorcycle taxis around the city: the traffic jam was commonplace here and people who wanted to get to the border faster would hop on a 2 wheel taxi and be there in no time. We later heard that many people prefer to walk the few kilometers to the border rather than wait in trafic – truth is it would certainly be much faster! Our 1 hr journey turned into a 5 hr journey, and by this time it had become clear to us we’d not be going to any falls that day. We knew you should give yourself a full day to enjoy the Argentinian side (as opposed to the Brazilian side for which half a day is said to be enough), and we intended on doing just that!
This was also the day we were going to say good bye to Jess, who was going back to Buenos Aires and then flying home just in time for her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. After all the awesome fun we had had together for the past 10 days, it was a bit of a sad moment of course, but since Europe is such a small place we knew our good bye was more of a “See you later!” :).
We spent the rest of the day chilling around the city and went to a restaurant near our hostel for a last dinner of empanadas and the great Argentinian wine we were already beginning to miss. We were shocked at the sight of a middle aged couple who ordered and then ate 2 plates of boiled potatoes, 2 of fries, one of rice, one of beans, 2 empanadas (pastry), 2 big buns and 6 big pieces of meat, all topped with 2 cakes and washed down with 1liter of the local beer. Boca’s reaction was: ‘Wow…that’s a lot, even if they didn’t eat anything the whole day’. Mine was: ‘Are you kidding me? That’s a lot even if they didn’t eat anything the whole freakin’ year!!’ We both concluded: “Maaan, the Argentinians can surely eat!!”
Upon sharing this on Facebook, my friend Anant exclamed “So they are the culprit of food shortage!”. I thought that was both hilarious and spot on.
The next morning our excitement was as high as ever as we walked over to the terminal to get our bus tickets to the falls. We had heard the boat ride was a must even though it meant skipping some meals after that to resuscitate our budget, so we signed up for that too. All in all the day would cost us 225 Pesos (USD56). Better be worth it, we thought!
What not many people know is that the Iguazu Falls are a conglomeration of falls surrounded by subtropical jungle, so you can spend quite some time admiring the various sights in the big park. We were given some tips by the ticket guy (who was the happiest chap!): “Hop on the train as soon as you get to the park and go straight to Garganta del Diablo, then come back to do the lower and upper trails. The best time to do the boat trip is at 12-1pm, as the sun is perfectly positioned”.
Later on we were really happy we followed his advice!!
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