Iguazú Falls – Argentina

Once we finished the Brazil side of the falls and the bird park, the sun was coming out with blue skies. We decided that instead of going back to the hotel and doing the Argentina side the next day, we should just hurry and see as much as we could on the Argentina side. Adolfo was more than happy to drive us to the park and let us stay there until it closed.

Seeing the waterfall with blue skies made the experience completely different. We took the train to the furtherst point and then you walk out to see the largest of the waterfalls. You would never be able to see the entire waterfall since there is so much mist. We had to get the ponchos back out.

The Argentina side has 3 main walks you can do to view the waterfalls. We were able to do two of them before the park closed. I think my favorite walk was the last one we did— the upper circuit. Beside the fact that not many tourists were there because the park would soon be closing, the sunny skies created some nice rainbows with the waterfalls.

Both Argentina and Brazil have created a wonderful experience of being able to get close to the waterfalls. The parks are very clean and easily worth a visit if anyone is in the area. We didn’t do the boat rides as we really didn’t want to get that wet but I think you get the best views from above anyways.

Here is a very short video of the Argentina side of the falls:

Parque Das Aves – Brazil

Across the street from the entrance to Iguaçu Falls is the Parque Das Aves. I couldn’t resist getting a quick visit in since it is a bird park, and I like taking pictures. I just didn’t know how much I like looking at colorful birds. The jungle has beautiful birds and I actually was lucky enough to see some of them around the waterfalls. The park was defitility worth a visit.

They have 3 aviaries that get you very close with the birds. The macaw exhibit was one of my favorites because watching the macaws fly was incredible. Sadly, I only had a short time in there because we really needed to get back to meet our taxi driver.

Right after we took the video of the macaw below, it got a large piece of the tree off and dropped right next to us. We didn’t have time to get a video of bird flying, and I’m not sure this video really represents how loud it was in person. There must have been 50 birds in there and they were all yelling at one point.

Iguaçu Falls – Brazil

We decided to see the Brazilian side of the waterfalls first since that is the side you are supposed to get the best panorama of the falls. Our taxi driver (Adolfo) from the day before picked us up and drove us across the border which was pretty easy. From there it is about a 20 minute ride to the park. He is a very helpful taxi driver and tells us what to see to help beat the crowds. He tries very hard to speak some English. He pretty much knows exactly how long we will take at each place so he can time it exactly on when to be back.

There are 275 waterfalls to see and it doesn’t dissapoint. I could have watched the waterfalls all day. I’m just amazed at how much water there is and the power of the waterfalls. I can’t understand where all of the water is going, because if you see the river, it doesn’t move. The water is pretty brown but I think that is fairly common since we are in the jungle and it rains a lot. It did rain for 5 days before we got here and they have very red soil. Pretty much all white cars have a red/brown look. Even the white dogs have reddish paws.

It is very hard to get a good picture since the power of the waterfalls creates a giant mist. We even bought ponchos because you get soaked. Not to mention, my camera got soaked trying to get a picture.

I took over 400 pictures so it has been very hard narrowing down which pictures to show.

I heard of coati before coming here but I didn’t realize how much I wouldn’t like them. They are part of the raccoon family but they are out during the day. They will bite if you aren’t careful and they love food. Some are so smart that they even know how to open your bag to get your food if you aren’t paying attention.

Here is a very short video of the waterfalls from the Brazil side.

In The Jungle

We left the estancia early this morning to fly to Iguazu which is a town right on the border of Argentina and Brazil. Our driver wasn’t able to make it to the estancia because the road was still too muddy so the watchman at the ranch drove us in his truck. I’m pretty sure this was the dirtiest truck I have ever been in. This picture really doesn’t show how dirty the road was but it was a very bumpy and slow ride out.

From there, the driver drove 2 hours to the airport in Buenos Aires. He was a very fast but safe driver. We really hit Buenos Aires traffic at rush hour and he still found his way in and out of cars.

Iguazu doesn’t have a big airport. They just have one gate so it was easy to figure out where to find out luggage.

We got a taxi and headed to our hotel which is really in the middle of the jungle. It is fun seeing signs to watch out for monkeys but I’m OK if I don’t see some of the other animals. It was pouring when we were on our way to the hotel. It made it easy to decide to stay in the hotel today instead of trying to go see some of the waterfalls. Even the driver couldn’t believe how much it was raining. The road right before we arrived at our hotel was pretty washed out and bumpy. I tried getting a video of some of it but you really can’t see how bad the road was. Our driver was very nice and he is actually picking us up in the moringing to drive us to Brazil to see the waterfall from their side first.

But all of this rain does give you a nice green jungle to look at from your hotel 🙂

Estancia El Ombu de Areco

We spent two nights at the estancia. From when you check in to when you are leave, you are welcomed with beautiful bird sounds and miles and miles of farm land. The estancia was built in the late 1800’s by an Italian. It was bought in the 1930’s and has been in the family ever since. In the early 1990’s, they decided to be one of the first estancia’s to welcome tourists in Argentina.

You are welcomed by about 10 dogs, shown around and given some empanadas. There are so many dogs that I always feel like there is a dog I haven’t seen yet. They serve lunch around 1:30 in a traditional Argentian asado (or bbq), served by gauchos. I thought I should try every meat for the first lunch and that was a mistake. I was so full from lunch. After lunch, they do some folk music and dances. They offer the guests two hour and half horse rides everyday, one in the morning and one after the dances. The night is capped off with dinner around 8. I was very full the first day so I learned how to pace myself the second day.

I was able to ride horses in the morning and afternoon today. The rides were led by the gauchos. The first horse I had was very content to just follow the pack as long as we were in the back. The second horse I had was complete opposite and had to be in the front. Both were nice horses but I can now say that I’m sore after 3 hours of horse riding. It has been so fun seeing so many different birds here. They have over 30 different species of birds here. My favorite is the pretty green bird that reminds me of a parrot. They are all too quick to get a picture of though.

On way to the estancia

After two nights in Buenos Aires, we had a driver take us an hour and half to an estancia. Estancia is a large ranch. We are staying at estancia that is still a working ranch with different crops, cattle, sheep and chickens. They also have 70 horses that roam the pastures.

The drive was pretty easy since we just got to enjoy the scenery. I was very happy that on the way out of Buenos Aires, it took us by where one of the major soccer teams in Argentina plays (River Plate). I just had to get a picture from as we drove by 🙂

The rest of the ride was mainly farm land. The last 3 miles is down a dirt road that was very bumpy. When it rains, they have a hard time accessing the estancia. After it rains, they need to use special trucks to get the guests in and out. On this day, we did not need one.

Buenos Aires Sights

I could look at trees for a long time in Buenos Aires. I think I have more pictures of a single tree that probably anything else. They are called rubber trees or Gomero in Spanish. They grow up and then the branches will naturally reach for the ground and then keep growing up. They don’t need support but they have added support in places so they can still use space in the parks.

I have also noticed how much they care for their dogs here. There are plenty of dog parks and dog walkers around. I haven’t seen any stray dogs. Here are some miscellaneous pictures for our tour today. When we were at one plaza, they were raising the flag and opening the memorial for all of the lives lost during the Malvinas war (Falkland Islands). (They don’t refer to the islands as Falkland in Argentina.). A couple was also doing the tango in the middle of a park.

Buenos Aires – Cemetery

Our tour ended at the La Recoleta Cemetery which contains over 4,000 vaults. The cemetery is built like a city in that it is contains rows of vaults and tree lined walk ways. It contains some graves of Argentina’s notable people including a past president. Most of the vaults were very well taken care of but some could use a lot of work. The cemetery is often named one of the best in the world and it was definitely worth seeing. A lot of the material that was used in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were materials from Italy and France.

Architecture of Buenos Aires

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m in South America and not Europe. We did a walking tour of Buenos Aires and a lot of their buildings are very similar to what you would see in Europe. We only saw a fraction of Buenos Aires but I was very impressed by how walkable the city was. Our tour guide was very good and spoke perfect English. There was about 50 people in our group which I think would be hard to keep everyone together. Especially when you try crossing the worlds widest avenue in the world. At one point we crossed 20 lanes of traffic. They say it is hard to make it all the way across at one time so you do have to wait awhile for lights to change again.

We learned a lot about Malvinas (Falkland Islands) and the war between Argentina and UK. The guide also taught us about the history of Argentina and how their currency is fluctuating a lot right now.

Since they have a lot of European influence here, there is a lot of pizza and pasta. Italians were actually the largest group of immigrants here from Europe after World War II. The walking tour was around 3 and half hours, however it wasn’t really spent walking as much as listening to a lot of information.

Argentina Bound

After a cold February, I’m very excited to head to South America for the first time. After looking at a lot of different countries to visit, Argentina was the winner. Of course it probably is the furthest away. It is an overnight flight on the way there and the way home. I’m sure I will be plenty tired since I don’t sleep on planes.

I’m excited to experience a new culture that offers so many different options. From water falls to glaciers to horse riding, I know I will see a lot. Oh and there is the large capital Buenos Aires to explore. It will be a busy two weeks with lots of travel and I’m just hoping for good WiFi so I can post as I go.

We are visiting four different cities but have to fly to get to three of them. This is one of the first times I haven’t really had a car to drive everywhere.

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