A Travellerspoint blog

Iguassu Falls - Brazilian side

Awesome

sunny 35 °C
View South and Central America - Sept 14 on Lifeis4living's travel map.

So finally arrive in Foz do Iguassu and check into our hostel, Favella Chic. Well let's just say, the clue is in the name! Lol. Toilet and shower are in the back garden, bed smells a little dubious, no air con, just a fan blowing hot air, breakfast a little bare.

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After just a little rest, we take the local bus and head straight off to the falls. Just awesome, lots of viewpoints and you get wetter as you get closer but the spray is lovely and refreshing in this heat. At one viewpoint, you walk across and get completely wet which is great. I will just let you admire the pictures.
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More pics in the gallery.

In the evening, we go to a restaurant where there is also a show of dances from various countries of Latin America. Really nice.

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This is my last day in Brazil, I can't believe it's already been 3 weeks! On the last day, the taxi driver who took us to the restaurant and back and who we gave a good tip to as he negotiated a good table for us (as he kindly reminded us on the way back) pitches up at the hostel asking what our plans were for today. I told him we were crossing the border to Argentina and he promptly offered to take us to our next hostel. After a bit of negotiation we decide that it saves us a lots of hassle and go for it. I think he might not have proposed this if he'd seen the amount of luggage we have (4 of us as a Dutch girl has now joined us)!

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He also asked if we have any Brazilian Reals left we want to change into pesos as reals are no use out of Brazil. I have about R$70 and he takes us to a kind of shop about 500 yards from the border where I get a much better rate than the bank. All negotiation with calculator over freezer chest lol. I come out with 350 pesos.

So bye bye Brazil and hola Argentina!

Posted by Lifeis4living 18:05 Archived in Brazil Tagged waterfalls english Comments (2)

Bonito

Overpriced tourist trap

sunny 42 °C
View South and Central America - Sept 14 on Lifeis4living's travel map.

After a 6hr bus journey, Chris, Erica and I arrive in Bonito whilst the other couple have gone straight to Iguassu Falls.

15th October

Almost as soon as we arrive, we realise this was a mistake. All attractions are very expensive, you have to make your own way to the sites (by taxi), restricted numbers in most popular attractions and we find out that this week is a school holiday so it is full of Brazilian families. We wanted to do a particular snorkling tour but it is just too pricey and full for the next day. We decide to do a tour of the caves instead, one dry cave (Cave of San Miguel) and a cave wih a blue lake at the bottom. The pictures of this blue lake look amazing, what they don't tell you in the brochures is that the lake is really only azur blue up to around 10am (must be to do with the time when the sun is just on the opening) and of course all those slots are taken. I guess if they told the truth, they would not do any business in the afternoon.

So first, the caves of San Miguel, "in addition to their beauty, offer one of the best and most advanced infrastructure for visiting a cave in Brazil. The main cavity shows a variety of curious forms of speleothems - stalactites, stalagmites, and limestone formations carved by nature over millions of years. "

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Then the Blue Lake, "Lago del Azulejo was discovered by a local Indian in 1924. In its interior, after descending 100 metres (330 ft), it is possible to see the lake of crystal clear water and depth of approximately 90 metres (300 ft), which makes it one of world’s biggest flooded caves."

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It is ridiculously hot (42 degrees) and we can't wait to get out and move on so the next day, we leave Bonito at 2.30pm for a pretty bad bus journey to Foz do Iguassu. Three bus changes, I have a terrible seat in the first bus, just by the toilet, above the engine (more heat coming from below) and 2 seats away from a baby and the aircon does not work! (6 hr long). Altogether the journey took about 18 hours. The Brazilian bus hours cannot be relied upon, we were given different times by just about every officials we asked. In the end you just give up, the bus will arrive when it arrives, that's just the way it is.

Part of the travelling, lots of great times but also some very long boring bus journeys.

Posted by Lifeis4living 16:47 Archived in Brazil Tagged lakes caves english Comments (1)

La ville de Bonito

Très cher et trop de monde

sunny 42 °C
View South and Central America - Sept 14 on Lifeis4living's travel map.

Après 6 heures de bus, Chris, Erica et moi arrivons à Bonito. Malheureusement c'est une semaine de vacances pour les Brésiliens et il semble que c'est un coin populaire pour amener leurs enfants. Beaucoup des attractions sont très chères et comme les places sont limitées, nous n'arrivont pas à réserver ce que nous voulions.

A la place, nous décidons d'aller visiter de des grottes. La première, la grotte de St Miguel

"Les stalagmites de la grotte San Miguel témoignent de la diversité des reliefs souterrains de la région de Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brésil
Grutta Sao Miguel Grotte San Miguel Stalagmites Stalactites Concrétions Caverne Grotte Eau souterraine Eau minéralisée Résurgence Dissolution Relief karstique Paysage Milieu souterrain Relief Erosion Forme de relief Paysage minéral Géomorphologie Géologie Géographie Science de la Terre Eaux cristallines Bonito Mato Grosso do Sul Brésil Amérique du sud Milieux naturels Ecosystèmes Biodiversité Nature Beautés naturelles."

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Après une autre grotte, celle ci avec un lac bleu au fond

"ncroyable formation géologique de roches calcaires, de 100 mètres de largeur pour 70 mètres de profondeur, pleine de curiosités spéologiques. Au fond de la grotte se trouve un lac d´eau transparente qui ressemble à un énorme Poisson bleuté."

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Le lendemain, on décide de partir car il fait trop chaud (42 degrés) et tout est trop cher. Nous partons à 14.30 pour un voyage de 18 heures direction Foz do Iguassu. 3 bus, dans le premier je n'ai pas un bon siège - près des toilettes, à 2 places d'un bébé, au dessus du moteur, j'ai donc de l'air chaud qui arrive par en dessous et la clim bien sur ne marche pas!!! Horreur

C'est pas toujours chouette de voyager!

Posted by Lifeis4living 17:47 Archived in Brazil Tagged french Comments (1)

3 days in the Pantanal

Saw a jaguar and swam in piranhas and caimans infested river

sunny 38 °C
View South and Central America - Sept 14 on Lifeis4living's travel map.

Leaving beautiful paraty, I head on a very long bus journey (very nice bus though with reclining seats) to Sao Paulo. Negotiate my way in metro to find hostel. Really nothing to say about Sao Paulo other than huge, ugly, dirty and smelly city but to be fair it was only a stopover and there must be some interesting things to see there I'm sure. For me, worst hostel, worst food and couldn't wait to get away from the place, so following morning I lug my luggage in 35 degree heat back the metro to get to the bus station.
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13 hours later, I arrive in Campo Grande where I am met by the tour driver who takes me to the agency. As I enter, I find Chris and Erica (from
Fareham) who I first met in Rio and who have been doing the same journey as me but just a few days ahead and also a couple I met on the bus from Paraty to Sao Paulo the previous day who went straight to Campo Grande. It seems they have all been waiting for me to start the tour which is great. So after my 13 hrs I am straight back into a mini bus with our group and head another 4 hours to a place with no name on the Miranda river.

First I need to make a geographical correction, the Pantanal area is not actually in the Amazon but further south in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. With a total area of 75,000 square miles, it is the largest wetland in the world.
Because about 80% of the wetlands are submerged during the wet season, the species here include aquatic ones, making it an even more diverse and fascinating destination to consider. The water can rise by up to five metres during the wet season. The daily highs average an annual mean of 25 degrees Celsius. However, summer days have been known to soar to a scorching 40 degrees, while winter nights can plummet to zero. October is the end of the dry season and it was around 38 degrees C every day and barely less at night so very grateful for aircon in the room.

Almost as soon as we arrive, we meet our guide, Louis and start fishing for piranahs. Erica catches 3 catfish (which have a very poisonous fin) boys catch 2 piranahs and I catch a baby catfish. This was cooked and served to us for dinner.
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13th October
6am rise for breakfast and we are off in the jeep along a dirt road going over many wooden bridges. Along the way, we see a caiman sunning himself, a pair of tuyunus (they pair for life, have a life expextancy of about 70 yrs and have an impressive 2m wing span). We then walk (so so hot!) and see a ant eater on a branch, many birds, some emus and capybaras in the river (world's biggest rodent).
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After lunch, we take a boat up the Miranda river and get give a couple of sausage floats. I wasn't sure about this swimming at first but Louis assures us it is perfectly safe and to just stay in the middle of the river (which is about 100m wide). Everyone else is going in so I can't really chicken out. A bit scary as the water, although a lovely and refreshing temperature, is very brown so you cannot see anything. I just try not to think of what is in there. Thirty minutes in the water and we have drifted back to our hostel, shower and lunch and rest in air con room.
Around 5pm, we head back up the river but do not see much during the day. After a beautiful sunset, it is now dark and this is when the fun begins. Louis shines his powerful torch along the side of the river and we see all these eyes just above the water amongs the vegetation. Caimans, (a small aligator). There are loads of them big and small, some very quiet, some a little more agitated. Thinking of our earlier swim, I ask Louis why they did not come for us and he said they are most active after dark and are not really interested in humans. Well that's a relief! Now I know why they make us swim before showing us what's in the water!
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However the best has yet to come, we suddently come across the elusive jaguar, a very rare sight. He is just in the shrubs along the river bank and we only see his head at firt, Louis turns the boat round whilst trying to keep the torch on him whilst we all try and get our cameras. I manage to capture is back as he moves away (you have to zoom in to just about distinguish his coat) but Mike has him on video. We are all very excited especially as Louis tells us that no-one has seen a jaguar for several months!.
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14th October
6am rise again on our last day and we go back up the river to do some canoeing. Our boat engine keeps stalling however which is not very reassuring. We eventurally get to our canoes and when turning them over, find a baby snake (poisoneous) under one of the paddles. I stay well away thinking that the mother can't be too far away!
A few minutes after we are in the canoes, Erica and Chris capsize and everyone is laughing and I am grateful that my co-pilot Kevin is an experienced canoeist as I really don't fancy another dip. We spend about 45 minutes canoeing and it is very calm and beautiful. We seem many birds, some monkeys and a family of capybaras with the babies feeding on their mother. Back in the boat, the engine keeps failing and we just drift fror a while before being able to set off again.

Pantanal is very flat and very beautiful and our 3 days tour has been fantastic with a really nice group of people. As we are driven back to our transfer, Louis tells me to come in the cab rather than at the back of the jeep. They all believe I have been some kind of good omen to them as I brought the group together in Pantanal and we saw the elusive jaguar so Louis and the tour owner consider me as someone who brought them good luck.

End of the tour, Chris, Erica and I head to Bonito whilst Mike and Rebecca go straight to Iguassu Falls.
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Posted by Lifeis4living 08:05 Archived in Brazil Tagged animals landscape english Comments (2)

Un tour de 3 jours dans le Pantanal

Piranas, singes, Jagua r, oiseaux, Caïmans, tuyuyus

sunny 38 °C
View South and Central America - Sept 14 on Lifeis4living's travel map.

Une petite correction géographique tout d'abord. La Pantanal n'est pas en Amazonie mais au sud.

Le Pantanal est une écorégion terrestre d'Amérique du Sud appartenant au biome des prairies et savanes inondables. C'est la plus grande zone humide de la planète, une énorme plaine, avec des cours d'eau coulant doucement durant la saison humide en de nombreux méandres, et submergeant plus de 80 % du territoire, noyé sous les eaux pendant quatre mois par an. Il possède la plus riche collection au monde de plantes aquatiques.

J'arrive à Campo Grande et Je joins un groupe dont un couple que j'ai d'abord rencontré à Rio et qui habite à Portsmouth. Après encore 4 heures de bus, nous arrivons enfin à notre loge sur le bord de la rivière Miranda. Nous allons à la pêche aux piranhas. Moi je pêche un poisson chat mais les autres ont 2 piranhas.

Le lendemain, tour en jeep et marche. Il fait très chaud, environ 38 degrés. Nous voyons beaucoup d'oiseaux, un caïman. Voyez les photos dans la galerie et sur le blog anglais.
L'après midi, nous allons nager dans la rivière. Les piranahs et Caïmans nous laisse tranquille. Notre guide nous dit qu'ils sont active la nuit pas le jour.
Après manger, nous reprenons le bateau, il fait nuit et là avec la torche nous voyons les yeux des Caïmans partout sur le bord de la rivière. Et soudain un jaguar apparaît sur le bord. C'est très rare de les voir et notre guide nous dit que nous sommes extrêmement chanceux car personne n'en a vu depuis depuis plusieurs mois.

Le lendemain, nous reprenons le bateau pour aller faire du canoë sur la rivière. En arrivant il y a un petit serpent dans le canoë. je me demande où est sa mère!

Après trois jours, nous partons vers Bonito.

Posted by Lifeis4living 07:42 Archived in Brazil Tagged animals rivers french Comments (0)

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