Paraguay to Iguazu Falls

Despite their relative close proximity to each other, Paraguari, Paraguay to Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian/Argentinian border is not an easy run. starts with the busses.

Resembling snub nosed versions of US public school buses painted in various color schemes seemingly concocted from a finger painting class of pre-schoolers, Paraguay’s buses are tired, rundown, and generally way overcrowded. That said, at least they are inexpensive.

Because of this, running at anything less than overflowing capacity is very frowned upon so stopping every two minutes for pick-ups and drop offs en route is the norm. So much so, the 280 some odd kilometres (175 miles) between Paraguari and Ciudad del Este i a six plus hour affair.

Plenty of time to take in the generally well-kept, rolling greenery of the country’s pastoral eastern region all while navigating an endless stream of periodically boarding touts selling everything from food to clothing and the occasional medicinal or beauty product.

All of which comprised the relatively easy part of the journey for us.

Because from the bustling border town of Ciudad del Este, the local bus ride carrying us across the Amistad Bridge into Foz do Iguacu, Brazil would become an even more convoluted affair. Convoluted in that, depending on factors such as your nationality, whether you intend to visit both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the park and the nature of your remaining itinerary, hopping on and off at either end of the 500 plus meter long bridge for immigration exit and entrance stamps may or m not be necessary.

I, of course, was unaware of such subtle beauracratic nuances as we boarded to depart Paraguay. But compliments of rush hour traffic and a very inconveniently timed street protest, we’d have two and a half hours to cover the final 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to get a crash course on the subject.

A crash course via a few trying conversations in broken Spanish and Portuguese with our bus driver and various misinformed passengers that, only fittingly, would result in our having to make a return trip to the border the following afternoon for all our necessary stamps.

Yet, despite all this, as the three of us stood on a boldly constructed catwalk at the base of Brazil’s nearly 90 meter high (270 ft.) falls known as the Devil’s Throat, somehow none of the trials and tribulations from the previous day seemed to much matter.

Being blasted by a roar and spray of a flow rate I’d come to learn was virtually the equivalent of an Olympic sized swimming pool EVERY SECOND somehow has that effect on you.

There, with our first view of the falls from the Brazilian side of the park, every glimpse around each subsequent bend in the trail serves to further engulf you with the sheer magnitude, splendour and volume of water on display along a 1.7 mile wide stretch of the two sides’ 275 falls. then, by day’s end, there’s the voice in your head that wrestles with the notion that the Argentinian side, home to 80% of the park though it is, can have even a chance to coming close to matching such a majestic perspective such as that on offer from Brazil’s perspective of the Devil’s Throat.

But then, a day later, after six hours plus of walking and taking in the generally topside perspectives of the Argentinian side’s Lower and Upper Circuit and serene, water catwalk stroll out to the country’s own intoxicating perspective of the Devil’s Throat, such thinking seems distant, foreign and even, a bit preposterous., even with the memories so fresh, the jury here is stiIl out.

The truth is, debating such matters amounts to little more than the proverbial effort in futility since having to make the decision between only visiting one side of the park would be a fate I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

In the end, one side seems only to compliment the other as a vigorous nationalistic rivalry  between Brazil and Argentina have only served to make each side unique in its own right.

Unique and, regardless of the route used to get there, more than worthy of the effort in doing so.


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