A few suggestions on Iguazu, where we spent the last week...

kurtdillard

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We're finishing up a week in Puerto Iguazu and I thought that I'd share what we learned. This was our second visit, we spent a 36 hour honeymoon here 5.5 years ago, instead of a whirlwind tour we wanted to relax!

First, I found this web site to be very helpful: http://www.iguazuturismo.gov.ar/en/index.html. I compared a bunch of hotels and cottages that I found listed there and we ended up staying at the Hotel Saint George (http://www.hotelsaintgeorge.com/). Its a nice hotel, showing its age but clean and comfortable. We liked the pool, and the bartenders made good cocktails, but the food is forgettable. Especially the breakfast and dinner buffets, they were miserable. I negotiated a discounted rate, I think its a good value but there are more exotic and refined places around.


I didn't have high hopes for the food in general, but we stumbled across several good restaurants:
  1. The best is Aqva, at the corner of Av. Cordoba and Carlos Thays. Its half-a-block from the bus terminal. We ate at Aqva a couple of times, the food was excellent and the service was good. Its upscale Arentinian cousine. Its also the most expensive place we found, a la carte steaks were 30-40 pesos, dishes that included a side order were 35-50 pesos, salads were 15-30. http://www.aqvarestaurant.com
  2. El Quincho del Tio Querrido. I don't have the address, I believe its on Bonpland. its 2 blocks from the bus terminal and just about everyone seems to know where it is because its a local institution. Its an excellent parilla, with prices comparable to the upscale steak houses in Bs. As.. The service was good, and the steaks were awesome.
  3. Colors Parilla y Pizza is at Cordoba 135, next to the bus terminal. Its an upscale Argentinian cafe, we ate there several times and enjoyed everything.
Next: to see everything at the falls you need a minimum of 2 days on the Argentinian side and 1 on the Brazilian. You could easily add another day to each side, especially if you don't have little kids who can't handle rock climbing or 10 km hikes through a sweltering jungle:rolleyes:. We have a 10 month old and a 4 year old, so our activity choices were limited a bit. Whatever you do, no matter how short your trip, do these things:
  1. Take the train and hike the 1.1 kilometers out to the Devil's Throat on the Argentinian side (la Garganta del Diablo). Standing at the top of the cataract, with water crashing past all around and falling on 3 sides is the most amazing experience I've ever while traveling.
  2. Pay the 100 pesos and hike down to the rivers edge (or pay 200 and ride a jeep) for the boat ride up the river and into the falls. Its a blast. Lesson learned: although our son *loves* water, this was too much for him, he had fun except for when we actually went under the falls. One of the guides was kind enough to stand over him and my wife in order to divert the water, but had I know my wife and I would have taken turns on seperate boats.
  3. Walk the entire Brazilian trail, there are uncountable vistas that you'll treasure for the rest of your life, and at the end you can stand a few paces from the water crashing down. Also, the restaurant at the end of the trail has a surprisingly good buffet, the salad bar, stew, and deserts were all excellent; and several of the entrees were pretty good. The best food I've had at any national park around the world:)
If you're from the US, you'll need a visa to enter Brazil. You used to be able to slip by without one but Brazil has stepped up enforcement. As this post explains: (http://baexpats.org/expat-life/4820-iguazu-brazil-visa-issues.html#post27728) its not that difficult. Go to the Brazilian consolate in Puerto Iguazu, its at Cordoba 264, which is 1/2 a block from the bus terminal. Their telephone is (03757) 421 348, and webite is
http://www.conbrasil.org.ar/CONSBRASIL/emolumentos.asp. Show up between 8 and 10 am on any weekday, fill out the form, hand them your passport, a visa photo, and 131 dollars (but in cash, in Argentinian pesos). They will have the visa ready for you at 12:30 pm. No bank statements, airline tickets, or proof of employment necessary.

You can take buses everywhere, however taxis are much more convenient. I negotiated prices ahead of time, and paid $AR 70 to get to the Argentinian park, $AR 150 for a round-trip to the Brazilian park, and $AR 160 to get to and from the quartz mines about 50 km south. Buses are a lot cheaper, but you will have to spend some time waiting. For example, to get to the Brazilian park you take one bus to the border, wait in a long line to go through imigration, take another across the frontier to go through imigration on the other side, and then a 3rd bus to get to the park. We got to sit in an air-conditioned cab the whole time:p

Other cool things to do: We went to the Wanda Minas, a small set of mines where they dig up geodes, quartz, amythist, and other semiprecious stones. It was fascinating, although I was uncomfortably startled when I realized that one of the workman was filling a hole he had just finished drilling with powdered explosive. We were standing 3 meters away while our guide explained what was going on:eek: We also loved the bird park in Brazil, its across the road from the national park entrance.

Lots of photos and a few videos up on my Facebook page, search for Kurt Dillard.
 
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