Our 25 day trip was planned and booked through Trailfinders.. Leaving UK in the early hours of a Sunday morning in mid March with snow on the ground looking forward to arriving in the evening heat of Rio. Our flight was with KLM via Amsterdam the only delay being while the plane's wings were de-iced at Manchester. Easy transit at Schipol with security at the departure gate where we saw some people having to dispose of their bottled water.
Although we were sitting near to the front of the plane and didn't delay in getting off when we landed in Rio I was dismayed to see that there was a very long queue for immigration, due I think to another plane arriving at the same time. Amazingly it took us only half an hour to get through. We changed some money and collected our bags, happy to see our tour rep waiting for us, easy to spot with our name on a board.
Due to the heavy rain and flooded roads, It took us half an hour or so to get to our hotel, Porto Bay Rio Internacional right by Copacabana beach. Check in was quick and we were given welcome drinks and soon in our spacious room on the 12th floor with a view of the bay.
The following day we were up early for good buffet breakfast, we found a convenience store a few yards away to buy water then were collected at 9 a.m. for a day's tour.
After the scenic drive along Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, arriving at the bottom of the Corcovado mountain we embarked on a comfortable train which climbed the beautiful mountain, where the statue of Christ the Redeemer is located. After lunch we visited the world famous Sugar Loaf Mountain in the middle of the Guanabara Bay, from where one of the most breathtaking views of the city of Rio can be seen. The tour also took us on a panoramic tour of downtown Rio. Unfortunately it rained most of the day so I don't think we really saw Rio in all it's glory.
Sadly it was time to say goodbye to Rio the following morning and we were collected at 7am for our 10 am flight to Foz do Iguassu. The rain was still very much in evidence and we hear it continued into the next week and so our disappointment at only one day here was shortlived. I know there is more to see and do in Rio but our trip was tightly packed and obviously couldn't do full justice to everywhere.
Flight was on time, we were met on arrival at 12.30 pm and were in our hotel situated right by Iguassu Falls, The Das Cataratas by 1.30pm. Our first glimpse of the falls as we drove up to the hotel was to say the least breathtaking and it was there in full view with easy access even when the national park was closed, a big plus for staying at this lovely hotel.
We didn't delay in our room nor to eat lunch and we were soon outside walking by the magnificent falls in the sunshine. We hadn't brought the rain with us thankfully although we could feel the spray from the falls which we found quite refreshing in the heat of the day. Stopping at one of the many kiosks along the paths for a cool drink we also bought some bottles of water having been told it was much cheaper than in the hotel.
Being somewhat isolated we ate dinner in the hotel which was extremely good and reasonably priced.
The following morning we were met by our tour guide Arlette at 8 a.m - all the hotels we stayed at served breakfast early in the morning. Sadly it was raining but no matter, we donned ponchos, the choice of raingear in these parts and set off on our walk along the path by the falls. Going much further than we did the day previously on our own and out along the bridge with a view of Devil's Throat we were surely more than a bit damp by the time we got to the elevator. Unfortunately we were there before it opened at 9am so took the "healthy option" of the stairs instead. Our driver was waiting at the top and after the amazing view of looking face on at Devil's Throat we were happy to be in the dry and on our way to the Argentinian side of the falls.
The drive took us over an hour to get to the border and Arlette took our passports to be stamped both on exit of Brazil and entry to Argentina - she did the same in reverse on our return journey later in the day.
Stopping only for a coffee at the entrance to the National Park we were in the sunshine and enjoying the falls from a completely different perspective. We walked part of the way, took the train and did more walking and did the same back to the entrance after spending plenty of time at the various viewpoints.
We were back at The Das Cataratas around 4 pm, after a quick change, a trip up the viewing tower in the hotel for the panoramic views and an early dinner in the bar area we were out again by the falls to watch the sunset, a fabulous sight.
Next morning it was raining again! we had planned to visit the Bird Park which is situated near to the entrance but having been told the birds hide when it was raining we decided to give it a miss and just relax in the hotel. Luckily the sun appeared mid morning, so we decided to have another walk along to Devil's Throat and take some photos which we didn't do in the rain the previous morning. The coatis (racoon like creatures) were out in force, as visitors we found them very amusing but hear they can be quite a nuisance rummaging in the bins etc This time we used the elevator to the top and then walked back to the hotel in good time for our 5.pm transfer to the airport and flight to Lima for our trip around Peru, Bolivia and Equador.