Posted by: tim ellis | August 21, 2005

Brazil – 20 September 2002

An early start! Breakfast has been left for us (well coffee, bananas & banana bread) and a driver arrives to take us to Florianopolis – there seem to be a lot of people up and about given the time! We board the plane soon after checking in and land at Curitiba early!!

Curitiba is a fairly small but modern airport and the exit from the plain is via covered walkway – which is just as well as the weather is terrible! We walk around the shops then go for coffee & breakfast before boarding for Iguassu. It is free seating as this is a large plane that has obviously come from further afield (Paris it turns out!)

When we arrive at Iguassu all foreigners have to go through Immigration again-so that is another hour of queue standing. I am particularly impressed by the Portuguese Hell’s Grannies who manage to push in at least a dozen places!

Finally we make it through (again the baggage conveyor is already turned off) to be met by Fernando, our guide for Foz de Iguassu (foz means ‘Delta’). He is very efficient and the first thing he does is to reconfirm tomorrow’s flight – it has been moved forwards 1/2 an hour to 6 AM. Fortunately our Hotel is only 20 minutes away – inside the National Park and right opposite the waterfall!

We check in and then in an effort to pack as much in as possible decide to go for a ‘snack’ lunch by the top of the falls followed by the bird park, then the boat trip, finishing up with the walk along the Brazilian side of the falls.

Just after lunch while approaching the falls for a photo I catch a glimpse of something small & furry disappear into the undergrowth – Fernando suggests it may be a guinea – pig like creature called a prea.

The bird park is very interesting with indigenous and foreign birds in aviary’s of varying sizes – Including free flight walk through ones. We also see a wild toucan come to fight with one of the captives! As well as birds they have a few reptiles (iguana, terrapin, gavial) and some marmosets. We could have spent longer here if we hadn’t got so much to do.

The boat ride starts with a jeep ride through the forest with a guide pointing out various trees etc. The boats are Rigid Inflatable speed boats that race through the choppy waters to get good views of the two lowest sets of falls. (it is at this point the sun finally appears giving us a marvellous rainbow) Then it is cameras away as the boat gets ‘up close & personal’ with the falls and then returns to base via a set of steeply banked turns and wave hopping! After all that the jeep ride back up the bumpy forest trail seems quite tame!

The sun is getting low as we do our walk, which reveals ever more stunning views. The others get ahead as I stop to take some photos, and as I round the next bend 2 coatis are just crossing the path. Sadly they are vanished into the undergrowth before I can bring a camera to bear. The trail ends with a walkway out into the centre of the falls – just in case you didn’t get wet enough on the boat.

Back to the hotel to dry off then down to the restaurant for a “Brazilian buffet” A marvellous spread including Roast beef, Pork Escalope & pineapple, Chicken stroganoff, spaghetti. Bolognese. Fish in coconut sauce, vegetable risotto, Sauté potatoes… Oh and there was probably some salad stuff too!! Topped off with a variety of puddings – not bad for under a tenner (R$ 35 plus 10% service)

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