19.11.2015 - 19.11.2015
Landed at Foz do Iguaçu – Cataratas International Airport at 1am. Even if you managed to doze off during flight you were totally mushy in your head. For an international airport it is a very small airport. We had to disembark and walk on the ground into the terminal and since I had no checked-in luggage to pick up I could continue out to the arrival hall and look for my transfer. But there was no one with my name. Okay, I guess I could wait a few minutes (how would he/she know I wasn’t waiting for my checked-in luggage?) before I started to get worried. And sure enough, within two minutes my driver showed up with my nameplate. His name spelt João and I didn’t even dare to pronounce it. But I could call him Joe. He told they just had a period of rainy season during last 3 weeks, but that it now would become dry weather. Obviously – now that I’m here
We walked to the car and he wondered why I only had one small bag with me. So I had to tell the story once more, how my bag got left in Berlin. It was pitch-black outside and humidity out of the ordinary. From the airport we went long on a straight road. Passed a round-about and kept on going as straight as before. After a while buildings and hotels started to show on both sides of the road, which was still dead straight. Joe stopped the car outside Hotel Viale Cataratas, where I checked in. Before I went to bed I logged on to the WiFi and happily saw an email from Baggage Express. But the joy quickly switched into anger while reading that my bag had been in Manaus already the day after my arrival there. WTF?! Why wasn’t I notified? Had they just sent the email – like 1 day earlier – I could have picked it up before flying from Manaus to São Paulo!!! Stupid idiots! I wrote back that they could send the bag a.s.a.p. to Foz do Iguaçu and the hotel I stayed at.
Was able to sleep a few hours before breakfast. Though I didn’t woke up to the cell phone alarm as intended, but from the light outside the window. What time was it? Quickly checked the cell phone… the alarm had sounded without me hearing it! What now?! Tried to play the alarm melody again, but there was no sound… Turned up the volume at maximum, but still nothing. Hoped not my cell phone was about to break down on me, not now! Tried to restart the phone, then the sound got back to normal. But how fun is it traveling with a cell phone you cannot trust to wake you up as planned!? Joe picked me up at 11.30am and we headed to Iguaçu National Park. I had been told that this was a guided tour in group here in Iguaçu, but Joe told me that I was the only one, i.e. a private tour. Even better – especially when I’ve paid for group tours (=cheaper).
Iguaçu National Park is in south west Brazil and borders to Iguaçu River in the south. The National Park consists of subtropical rainforest and nature which leaves the humidity at 95% all year around, independently of rainy/dry season. The park houses over 400 species of birds together with cougars, jaguars, deer’s, raccoons, iguanas and so on. The National Park shares together with Iguazú National Park (Argentina) one of the World’s largest and most impressive waterfall – Iguassu Falls. The Iguassu Falls is shared by Argentina (80%) and Brazil (20%) and is one of the New Natural Seven Wonders of the World. With a height of 82 meters and depending on which season (rainy or dry season) Iguassu Falls has between 160 to sometimes over 270 individual waterfalls spread over 2,7 kilometers. And now after 3 weeks of rain the water flow was extremely high according to Joe. Normally 1 million liters of water passes every second, but now during rainy season it was about 5-6 million liters of water each second.
Joe collected my ticket and I passed through the entrance, while Joe drove the car around and met up with me inside the park. We went through the park for 20 minutes and drove to the Path of the Falls, which is a 1,2 kilometer trail with panoramic views over the Argentinean side of Iguassu Falls. The first we saw was a raccoon close to the trail. The raccoon showed no fear for humans, rather the opposite. Apparently tourists had fed them to get close up for a picture. But I kept myself on a safe distance, since this one probably had rabies and I didn’t want to get bitten. Joe showed me the direction I needed to go in and that he would meet me at the end of the trail at Naipi Square, a high tower by the waterfall Devil’s Throat. Joe said it would take about an hour to walk. A bit skeptical, I started walking… an hour to walk 1,2 kilometer? The positive about this trail was that it basically went downhill all the way, wet and slippery here and there due to mists from all waterfalls.
Only at the end, at Devil’s Throat, it got damn steep uphill… thank God you could take an elevator. Along the way there were views points, there it was the best outlooks over the waterfalls. For the more brave people you could use walkways and stand in the middle of the water basin, but since the water flow was strong and created serious winds with mists (close to rain) from the waterfalls around, I passed. I had brought a rain poncho but you would get super wet anyway, I could see that on the people walking back from the water basin. Just as Joe said, he met me up in the tower at Devil’s Throat and it had taken me 1 hour to get around. Must have been for all stops taking pictures that took time.
We drove back and out of the park and parked the car at the Bird & Butterfly Park, just next to the National Park. Now I was starving and bought lunch inside the park. Joe then followed me.
As the name implies there were obviously butterflies and all kind of birds; macaws, parrots, pheasants, peacocks, owls, flamingos, toucans among others. There were many loud noises inside the park. It was warm and humid and the smells inside the park varied from place to place. When we had walked around the entire park, Joe drove me back to the hotel. After a hot and sticky day a shower was longed for.
Just before dinner a thunder storm gathered. The low clouds came very fast and the wind changed rapidly. Then the rain came. And the thunder. The lightning lit up the entire sky in the evening darkness and it was like a magnificent spectacle up in the sky that kept on going for hours. Nice to be inside and the thunder storm didn’t bother me at all since I didn’t have to be outside.