For an entire day, I was surrounded by beauty.
I kept on staring.
It was too beautiful to stop.
THE JOURNEY TO IGUAZU
Following my very limited 4 days and 3 nights stay in Rio de Janeiro, I spent 36 hours in the urban jungle of Sao Paulo, drank more cups of coffee than usual, and almost got intoxicated with Brazil’s national cocktail, caipirinha. Then, I took a post-midnight local flight to my next destination in Brasil. Whatever name you call it, either Cataratas do Iguacu in Portuguese, or simply Iguazu Falls, it remains to be one of the most impressively stunning natural resources inscribed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, that I’ve ever set foot and laid eyes on.
The 45-minute-flight via TAM Airlines from Sao Paulo was smooth and uneventful. I arrived in Iguazu at almost 2AM and surprisingly reached my pocket-friendly-accommodation of two nights – Hotel Harbor Colonial in a matter of 5 minutes from the airport. With few hours to savor, I tried my best to doze off and eat breakfast heartily the next morning.
WHY VISIT IGUAZU FALLS?
With impressive height that varies from 200 to 269 feet, and a stunning stretch of almost 3 kilometers (or 1.7 miles), remarkably taller than Niagara Falls and noted to be twice as wide, Iguazu Falls that borders between Brasil and Argentina, with parts that flow to Paraguay, remains to be one of the magnificent and incredibly awe-inspring UNESCO World Heritage Sites that I ever laid my eyes on. It’s literally Heaven on Earth!
HELICOPTER TOUR OVER IGUAZU FALLS
Near to the airport and proximal to the Parque Nacional do Iguacu, my preferred budget accommodation, Hotel Harbor Colonial offered car services not only as airport transfers but to nearby tourist spots. I requested them to take me to Helisul / Helisght Helicopter Tours just before the entrance to Iguazu Falls.
At around 105 USD for 16 minutes over Iguazu Falls, I had my second chopper experience 3 days after that unforgettable ride in Rio de Janeiro!
First time to be at front seat of a chopper! Wooohoo!
The greens are greener from above!
This must be the Iguazu River that divides Argentina and Brazil and flows to Paraguay
Then, there’s she is. My first glimpse at the mighty and magnificent Iguazu Falls!
Amazing how it divides two countries in one continent!
One of my favorite shots when we were approaching the Devil’s Throat!
Happy to capture that Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat of Iguazu Falls!
My first sighting of a rainbow over Iguazu! Ahhhhmaaaaayzeeeeng!
If you have more cash to burn, there’s a premier hotel right inside the Parque Nacional Iguacu.
Breathtaking, isn’t it?! Not because it’s my photo but it really is!
That side of the falls from Argentina!
Some places will simply leave you speechless!
We flew over it again and I didn’t mind doing it over and over again!
Capturing Devil’s Throat the second time around!
God’s masterpiece is really beyond words!
Awe-inspiring, isn’t it? I’ll run out of superlatives, I tell you!
Top area on the photo’s Argentina, part below is Brasil.
Iguazu is gorgeous up close but looks even more incredible from a bird’s eye view!
Clear cut of Argentina on the left, Brasil on the right by Iguazu River that empties into a dam in Paraguay!
Quite exhilarating feeling it was!
Follow that river!
Some moments are worthy of a selfie!
It was 16-minutes that will be vivid in my core for the rest of my life!
Still ecstatic and euphoric from my chopper tour over Iguazu, I walked my way for 3 minutes to the adjacent entrance to the falls itself.
PARQUE NACIONAL DO IGUAZU
Both parks in Argentina and this one in Brasil are inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
At 52 Brazilian Reais (13 USD) entrance fee as of August 2015, everything’s worth it!
Took the bus all the way to the start of the trail (in front of the hotel inside Iguazu).
Here I go!
Long and clean trail, cool breeze, handsome scenery!
That pretty side of Argentina viewed from Brasil!
Note the scale of boat against the enormous size of the waterfalls.
I just wished that those candy-mints didn’t irritate tummies of those friendly furry creatures. Oh well!
Then, Iguazu continued to leave me in awe.
Stroll further. And appreciate more.
Despite the volume of tourists daily, the trail was kept relatively spotless.
Don’t you love this moment captured in this shot by a random stranger? I do! I do!
This was the spot that I spent almost an hour. Prayed until some tears welled out my eyes. Surreal!
How could you not fall in love with Iguazu?
So beautiful and powerful!
It was an entire day that I didn’t get tired of seeing countless rainbows!
Another personal favorite photo. The pathway to Devil’s Throat!
I saw most tourists buying transparent raincoats being sold just before the pathway to the Devil’s Throat. I dared not to buy and like a kid, opted to be drenched and sun-kissed and count rainbows under the gorgeous Brazilian sky!
Channeling the Care Bear in me. Unleashing rainbow from the heart! Care Bear, stare!!! Hahaha!
That pathway to Devil’s Throat! Unforgettable place, really!
Cataratas do Iguacu or Iguazu Falls has that Wow-factor! Picturesque at all angles!
That big drop!
Then I saw people on queue to the lift so I followed. The lift took us to a perched observation deck where the view became more majestic!
Everything looks nothing short of grand! God’s masterpiece at its best!
Like other good things, my most pleasant day spent in Iguazu Falls came to an end. Before 5PM, I walked towards the souvenir shop where the bus stop is, hopped on the bus of the park to return to the exit area (Bus rides within the park are free, included in the park tickets already). The day may have come to an end but I know the experience and my memories will last me a lifetime!
DAY 2 AT IGUAZU, BRASIL
My hotel in Iguazu offered car services not only to the Iguazu Park but also to and from the Bird Park.
PARQUE DAS AVES (Bird Park, Iguazu)
With minimal admission rates, I enjoyed half day among several species of Brazilian feathered friends at Parque das Aves in Iguazu. Amazing part of this park? It got provided me FREE WIFI-access! Can you imagine a bird park with free wireless connection?! Awesome, isn’t it?
At few minutes past 1PM, I exited the bird park and walked a stone’s throw away distance to a Churrascaria or a steakhouse.
CHURRASCO BUFFET LUNCH at a CHURRASCARIA near IGUAZU BIRD PARK
I needed to order red wine to deglutate that meat of pork, beef, lamb and yes, giraffe on my plate. Burp!
Brazilian dessert. To be honest, I’m not impressed with their sweets as I’ve tasted better desserts else where.
Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Iguazu. Seven days in Brazil felt like seven months of experiences. I shall never forget how beautiful this country is. And I’ll long for the day to have a chance to revisit.
With a heavy heart, I left Brasil to Lima, Peru.
Eu Te Amo!
This South American Travel Blog Series includes :
- Brasil : My Lovely Home in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro
- Brasil : Helicopter Tour Over Rio de Janeiro
- Brasil : Cristo Redentor and Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro
- Itinerary of Must Visit Places in Rio de Janeiro
- Brasil : 36 hours in Sao Paulo
- Brasil : Chasing Waterfalls at Iguazu
- and so much more to follow. Please stay tuned for stories and photos from Peru and Bolivia!