We flew from Newberry Airport in Buenos Aires on Aerolineas. People warned us that the airline was very unreliable – late and cancelled flights – but we had no problem. We landed in Puerto Iguazu and went to our hotel, Tierra Guarani Lodge. This is a beautiful inn, with a modern wood and glass reception and breakfast area, a pool, and only four rooms, each of which is a separate cabin in the jungle. Very private, very nice.
After arriving we had the rest of the day free, and we told our guide Carlos that we had read about an out of the way attraction that we wanted to visit if possible. This was the Jardin de los Picaflores, or the Hummingbird Garden. It is the backyard of a woman who lives in town, and she has filled it with flowering plants and several hummingbird feeders. Since the subtropical rainforest is nearby, when she puts her feeders out in the afternoon the yard quickly becomes filled with fifty or more hummingbirds. There are many types that I have never seen before – blue ones, swallowtail hummingbirds, black and white birds – and after paying a nominal fee you just sit there or stand between the feeders and let the birds buzz around your head. It was a magical place, and though we stayed for 45 minutes we could have enjoyed it for hours.
Then we had a tour of the small city, including a visit to the viewpoint for the triple frontier, where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay come together. That night we had a wonderful dinner at Aqua, in town, highlighted by Torrontes and two types of river fish, surubim and pacu. Surubim is a type of giant catfish; the meat was delicate and white. Pacu is a more oily fish, as is salmon, but with a completely different and delicious flavor. Later we found out that it is a type of large piranha. Better we eat them than they eat us!!
The next day we toured the Argentine side of the falls with Carlos and a small group arranged by Martin Tours. It is absolutely a good idea to visit both sides of the falls, if possible, but you do need to get a Brazilian visa in advance if you want to cross the border, and helicopter flights only leave from Brazil.
The day was rainy, but in the end it did not matter, because the paths in the Argentine National Park take you through the spray and mist and it would be difficult to stay dry on a sunny day. The falls really are a big wow, they just go on and on. You take a little train to the farthest, largest, part of the falls, the ‘Devils Throat’; a one kilometer walkway lets you get right to the edge of the falls, and the power and beauty are astounding. Other paths lead above and below the rest of the falls. If you are wondering if you should take a boat ride under the falls, do it!! You will get wet, but it gives another perspective that is not available any other way.
The next day the weather was good, and our guide for the Brazilian side, Edir, came to our hotel and then got us across the border without a hitch. Edir is a bright, young, very informative guide who was raised in Foz do Iguacu, whose father is a guide, and who recently graduated with an engineering degree. We found him through Tours by Locals, but he has his own website as well and is very highly rated on Trip Advisor. The Brazilian side of the falls has fewer paths and walkways than the Argentine side, but has the advantage of giving a panoramic view of the entire complex of waterfalls. There is no way to appreciate the enormity of the falls from the Argentine side, and no way to capture it in a single photograph either.
After the falls, Edir took us to a place for lunch that had no other tourists. It was a white tablecloth restaurant in a fishing club (Maringa Clube). There was a large buffet with salads, fruits, and fresh fish caught in the Parana River right outside the windows. We had fish ribs, pieces of Pacu on the rib bone, deep fried – fantastic – as well as other fish we could not identify. But this was a real treat, and we felt lucky that Edir took us there.
Then it was back to the airport for our Aerolineas flight to Rio.
For the rest of out trip check out the Rio, Buenos Aires, and Paraty forums.