What a trip!
That was a true trip of a lifetime… Brazil with two teenagers in tow we wanted to create life long memories and experience a part of the world completely different to our English suburbs daily life.
There is so much to tell you all but most of all we want to give a huge shout out to Bespoke Brazil who made a daunting trip feel easy!
So our journey started with a wedding invite to from my Irish cousin and his Brazilian bride to be… cue a bit of online researching and I came across Bespoke Brazil and completed an online form. Within an hour Simon had called back and asked a few questions around budget and what type of holiday we’d like and shortly after sent through a sample itinerary. Of course we had to finish our holiday in Sao Paulo at the wedding location!
Clearly we liked what we saw and got booking! Jump to August 2016 and we are on our way. All four of us were somewhat nervous having heard all sorts of horror stories in the run up from well meaning friends and family and having gone through the usual vaccines and malaria but that was overcome by the excitement. None of us had ever done a safari style holiday or travelled too far beyond Europe.
Landing in Sao Paulo and changing flights was more difficult than we had anticipated. As unlike in Europe there were no English signs or English speaking airport staff to point us in the direction of our next flight. But we got there somehow. Lots of hand gestures and body language helped! 😆
By stark contrast Foz do Iguaçu airport was much smaller and easier to navigate, and best of all we were met with a friendly face… our guide for the next 3 days!
For our Foz do Iguaçu visit we were based at the Hotel Recanto Cataratas, a hotel resort 3 miles from the city centre and right on the border of Paraguay and Argentina. Given it was off peak the hotel was very quiet but it did mean we got access to all of the hotels facilities and great tables in the restaurants! However that all changed on the Saturday when the pool turned into one big AWESOME PARTY… Drinks being served all around the edge, dance music and a fitness classes galore lol. We heard from a waiter that the hotel is the local go to for weekend breaks in the local area.
Tour of the Brazilian Falls and the Parque das Aves
We started our day at the Parque das Avez an outstanding bird park, set in 16.5 acres, that holds more than 1320 birds from about 143 different species. The tourists that visit help to fund the park caring for birds that are no longer in condition to continue living in nature and keep them in an environment where they can live happily. Our guide informed us that many of them are rescued from illegal trading.
Even though it was pouring with rain we still saw some stunning birds!
We then travelled on-wards to the Iguaçu National Park in Brazil. We took a descending trail of the canyon, following instructions on how to avoid coming across wildlife (e.g. Jaguars!) and what to do if we do. Although it was busy and there were lots of people around it still felt peaceful. The trail allows a pretty much panoramic view of many of the 240 waterfalls! We were unfortunate with the weather (as you can see in the pictures). But the sheer size and scale of the waterfalls was breath taking! It’s nearly three times as wide as Niagara Falls and significantly wider still than Victoria Falls.
Hopefully in the pics above you can see the platform (you take a glass elevator to get to it). From there you just get the feeling that you are in the waterfalls themselves! It’s intense and the roar of the water is just phenomenal!
Along with its “sister” park in Argentina, The Iguassu National Park forms the most significant remaining rain forest in the southern cone of South America. Which along with the waterfalls have been declared a National Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Tour of the Argentinean falls
Today we get to head across the Tancredo Neves bridge to see the falls from the Argentinean side. (For the passport stamp collectors you get a pretty nice one crossing the border into Argentina). Sorry for the photo quality but we also left the decent camera at home, as we knew we were going to get VERY WET!
At the entrance to the national park, a small train takes visitors on a tour through the park. It leaves us at a spot where we can follow the pathways to the top of the waterfalls that provide spectacularly unique views of the ‘Cataratas’.
The tour ends at the observatory on the edge of the largest waterfall in the park A Garganta do Diabo – ‘The Devil’s Throat’. Just WOW!
And guess what was planned for us next???
Yes… of course… we were going in!!…
We got on the Gran Aventura speedboat for a close up of the falls; and a speedboat ride at full throttle down the river! (photo credits to www.iguazujungle.com). I have never been so scared and excited haha! It was fast and we had the full force of the waterfalls crashing down on us 🙂
That evening we enjoyed the local food at local Brazilian BBQ restaurant; where you pay a fee and they just keep bringing you food. Be warned not great for vegetarians! We went home incredibly full and felt that we had been made to feel really welcome by the locals. 🙂
That marks the end of the first part of our visit to BRAZIL! Check out the photos below for a hint at what is coming in part two….
Digital Sunshine x