23rd and 24th June – 27 hours!!
The bus trip.
We caught the bus from Macae to Rio with no issues at all getting the bikes in the luggage hold and at no extra charge, this was a 3 hours trip on a very comfortable coach.
Arriving at Rio in the main bus station we managed to get tickets for a bus which was leaving 3 hours later to Foz Do Iguaçu, I couldn’t get seats together but the seats were close together.
This coach was fairly comfortable compared to aircraft seats but we had 27 hours to do so we braced ourselves for this trip. In summary, it was not too bad, sleeping in the reclined seat was possible but not great. The coach stopped several times and at first, we were apprehensive on how long we had at these rest breaks but it worked out that if the driver left the coach then we had approx 30 minutes.
After a while, the bus thinned out as passengers left at different venues so we ended up with plenty of spare space.
Ginette – I had to work really hard to calm my nerves, 27 hours on a confined bus! sitting next to a stranger! with a seat that only semi-reclined! and not understanding a word the driver said! Somehow I managed to take a huge chill pill, and although I didn’t sleep well, I managed to finish the book I was reading and read another book. Did I mention there was no wifi or tv screens on the bus? The landscape was very sameish, farmland followed by American style towns (shops all along a highway). I had no regrets about not cycling this route.
We arrived at Foz Do Iguaçu and our hotel was next to the bus station so we were able to rest up for the evening.
We visited the Iguaçu Falls (Brazilian side), travelling on the public bus. This is one of the natural wonders of the world and is absolutely huge and awe-inspiring. We have seen many waterfalls but nothing on this scale. We have taken pictures and videos but you can’t film all the falls from one spot as they cover such a large area. Whilst filming there were wild Quatis (like a small raccoon) pestering us tourists for food, they are used to humans to the extent they sneak up and try to get access to any bags you are carrying. The amount of water plunging in front of us over the many cascades is a great sight and sound. Across the river we could see Argentina. We stayed in a border town of three countries, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil all within sight.
Our hosts in Pousada Laura were really lovely, we had a long chat using google translate, we were also taken out to lunch with another Brazilian couple who were guests. Google translate is great but it does slow down the conversation.
In the local supermarket earlier we found two armed men on patrol, it turned out a bank was having money delivered and these guards came with the security van.
The temperature in this area of Brazil is much cooler than we have been used to but we are pleased we have come down this end of Brazil. I don’t think we have seen enough of Brazil, having only cycled a short part of it but I think we are going to enjoy the cycling from here.
Ginette – the Iguacu Falls are amazing, the majority of the reviews we have read have said the Argentina side is better, it is hard to believe but we will find out in a couple of days.
It feels much colder, I have resorted to wearing trousers and several jumpers on the upside it is great not to sleep with the air conditioner blasting out each night.
27th and 28th June
We cycled into Argentina on Thursday over a road bridge, we stopped at the border to stamp our passports on the way out, we had to pull over to do this off our own backs as we could have just cycled straight through without stopping.
The route was only approx 9 miles so a short ride.
We are now in Puerto Iguaza, Argentina. It has the feel of a border town and is a little rundown.
Ginette was legally mugged at the cash machine, the banks here charge an extortionate amount for each withdrawal in this case £8 for a £40 withdrawal ouch (£40 = £20000 pesos).
Today we took the public bus to the Argentine side of the falls. We took the water powerboat trip which took us through rapids and up close and personal and very to the waterfalls, proper touristy.
Ginette – our accommodation is very cheap at only £12 a night but is very basic. The owner could not take a credit card, he explained in broken English that the tax is too high and that most places in Argentina require cash payments.
As we wandered around the town I found it difficult to get my head around the currency, it would appear most things are more expensive than Brazil but still cheaper than the UK. We had a large pizza (which we had to send back as it was undercooked) with a large beer for the equivalent of £7.
There are still lots of stray dogs around, at least 50 in the town we’re in, the majority look like they’ve been hit at some time or other and walk with a limp.
and of course, there is still rubbish everywhere, like Brazil there are high raised rubbish holders for people to use (so that the dogs don’t attack the rubbish) despite this rubbish is heaped at the end of roads.
People in Argentina look different and seem a little warmer and more openly smile and greet us.
My final observation for the day
roads traffic seems a little calmer and a little safer however health and safety has gone out the window, lots of motorcyclists with no helmets, 3 to 4 people on bikes with kids riding pillion.
Ginette – on arrival at the Falls we decided to take a boat ride into the falls this cost far more than the entrance fee but was worth it. I can’t begin to describe the sensation of being under the waterfalls, they’re huge and so powerful. We got drenched but it was amazing.
Gary – On this side, there are several walks to view the falls from below and above, they are pretty good but we had lost a little of the wow factor as we had seen these spectacular falls now from Brazil and from the boat.
There is also a train that takes you to the furthest viewpoint area, from where you have approx 1.5k of walkway over the river to the mouth of the waterfall.
Now, this was another wow moment due to the power this fall has and the close proximity of the viewing platform to the edge.
Some bonuses from today, spotting huge catfish, a large terrapin, a close by cayman, some close encounters with exotic birds, and a huge ant.
Ginette – It was a fantastic day, it was hot at 28c all day which was a stark contrast to the previous two days where the temperature had struggled to reach 19c.
We spent 8 hours in the park, viewing waterfalls, walking in the rain forest and enjoying watching the wildlife. Although the Qataris are annoying (trying to steal your food) they are fun to watch. Added to this there were hundreds of beautiful butterflies fluttering around.
To the end of the day, we stopped in a Mexican restaurant and had a very tasty meal along with a cocktail. This was probably the first meal I have had since travelling that I have enjoyed (with the exception to the meals Gary cooks). We only had a simple burrito and taco dish but it included vegetables and was not covered in cheese. The waiter explained he was a teacher and worked in the restaurant to supplement his salary as teachers are not paid highly in Argentina