2010 SOUTH AMERICA TRIP REPORT —
2010 SOUTH AMERICA TRIP REPORT
My three roommates were up early and in such cramped quarters, it is difficult to sleep when there are bags being foraged through a few feet away. Granted, this was 8am, but I never roll out of bed before 9am if I can help it.
I left my bag at the hostel and walked up the street to a grocery store where I picked up some fresh strawberries and a corn and cheese quiche(? – see picture below) for breakfast. My foreign language skills are frankly deplorable, but I always make an effort to communicate in the official language of the country I am in. The lady who heated up my breakfast at the store laughed as I searched for the right words in Spanish when ordering my food. She gently corrected me and repeated the correct Spanish words for whatever it was I ordered several times.
I walked back to the bus station and picked up a roundtrip bus ticket to the Argentinean side of the falls for about U$S4. Inside the station there are a few booths that sell these tickets, all for the same price, and can set up a guided tour for you if you so desire. The 20-minute ride to the falls was unremarkable. We were dropped off at the park entrance.
Throngs of people were milling about the entrance and ticket lines were 10 people deep. I waited patiently and purchased my ticket for around U$S15. Inside the park, you are first greeted with souvenir shops: a lot of them. Keep walking and you have two choices: you can walk or take a train to the falls.
I foolishly got in line for the train and waited about 15 minutes for one to pull up (in that time, I could have walked over). The train stops at two stations: one near the Sheraton hotel and trail to the lower falls, the other at the far end of the falls (not accessible by foot). My intentions were to see the far end of the falls, but everyone was forced to exit the train at the first stop, where at least 300 people were waiting in a snaking line to board the train.
Forced to recalibrate my plans, I explored two walking trails by foot—one going to the base of the falls and the other along the top of the falls. Unlike on the Brazilian side, the trails were extremely crowded (to be fair, this was a Saturday morning) and the views were not as breathtaking.
A lot more of these critters on the Argentinian side
At the base of the falls, a small stand offered ponchos for sale: unless you wanted to be drenched, they were needed. Somehow, I don’t think these particular ponchos would be well-received in the United States:
Back at the train station, the lines were still long and I elected to skip the outer edge of the falls, instead walking over to the nearby Sheraton hotel to cool off. The hotel appeared dated from the outside, but was clean and spacious inside. A bar near the lobby had glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice sitting on the counter and I grabbed a glass and sat down on the patio overlooking part of the falls. It was a very warm day, making it all the more comfortable to relax in the shade with a cold beverage.
Pool at the Sheraton Igauzu Falls
View from the lobby balcony at the Sheraton
If you feel like splurging and want a chance to meander around the falls in the early hours of the morning before other tourists arrive, the Sheraton is the place to stay. The staff members I interacted with (at the bar, in the lobby, doorman) were exceedingly friendly and the guest rooms (I did peer in one) appeared comfortable, though not overly spacious.
Enough was enough. It was now approaching 1pm and the thermometer registered 90F. I returned to the park entrance and caught a bus back to Puerto Igauzu.