The 22 May bus trip from Argentina’s Puerto Iguazú, across Fraternity Bridge, through both sets of immigration and to my hostel in Brazil’s Foz do Iguaçu only took half an hour. This contrasts greatly to my Argentinian entry when I waited for seven hours. The towns’ proximities belie their different languages and out of habit I thanked people with “gracias” many times before adjusting to the Portuguese “obrigado”.
Foz do Iguaçu has a significant population of Lebanese descent. When the local Arab restaurant didn’t have individual pieces of baklava, I performed exceptionally, eating a whole tray. The baklava tasted delicious, too.
The next day, Vimia and I caught a suburban bus to Iguaçu National Park, home of Brazil’s Iguassu Falls. The bus also stops at the city’s airport terminal, convenient and cheap for people with air connections. Prior to entering the park, we visited the adjacent Parque das Aves (Bird Park).
Video of a bird mimicking a boy at Parque das Aves. The bird chases the boy and even copies his jump
As the name suggests, Parque das Aves contains birds as well as other animals. Half of the birds come from seizures by authorities and the park also breeds birds for conservation purposes.
A flamingo resting on one leg
An impressive looking toucan with its giant yellow, orange and black beak and orange, blue and black eye
Amongst bromeliads, one of Mum’s favourite plants
Although the flamingos, toucans and other species were wonderful, the park’s highlight is the walk-in parrot aviary. There, macaws and other parrots screech and fly around displaying their photogenic colours.
A Hyacinth Macaw in Parque das Aves’ parrot aviary
Despite not wanting to leave the aviary, we eventually exited Parque das Aves and crossed the road to Iguaçu National Park and Brazil’s Iguassu Falls. Brazil’s waterfalls have less vantage points than Argentina’s and can be covered in two hours. However, they are still impressive and one can better experience the ferocity of the falling water on this side.
A double rainbow at Brazil’s Iguassu Falls
Standing next to millions of litres of falling water at Iguassu
These ‘clouds’ in the Iguazu River valley are in fact spray and mist rising from the crashing water
A walkway on the Brazilian Iguassu Falls; when visiting either bring a poncho or prepared to get wet
The rainbow and I in front of a waterfall
The waterfalls glow in late afternoon light
My final day in Foz do Iguaçu included a tour of the Itaipu Dam hydroelectric facility. Itaipu is the second largest power plant in the world after China’s Three Gorges. To get there, Anna and I caught two local buses, interchanging at the town’s suburban bus station.
Itaipu Dam is a partnership between Brazil and Paraguay and supplies 75% or Paraguay’s electricity and 17% of Brazil’s. As Paraguay cannot consume its half of the electricity, the excess is sold to Brazil.
The dam and associated hydroelectric plant are enormous and the tour provides insight into this. The guide spoke about the facility’s positive environmental impact, including the equivalent oil required to produce the same power. I would also liked to have heard at least a brief mention of the impact caused by building the facility and flooding the Paraná River. Visiting both sides, we remained on the bus while in Paraguay.
The gigantic hydroelectric dam behind Itaipu’s sign
Utility lines illuminated by the sun in front of Itaipu’s enormous dam wall
I loved my time on each side of the Iguazu Waterfalls and recommend visiting both countries. The diversity of waterfall views and trails on the Argentinian side requires more time to appreciate although the fall impact is greater in Brazil.