Leaving Bolivia and the most amazing waterfalls on Earth
17.04.2012 - 22.04.2012
So the escape from Bolivia was not as easy as we had hoped! The first bus was supposed to be 15 hours from Sucre to the border, a little town called Villazon. The bus was a typical Bolivian bus, ie; no toilet and uncomfy seats! We were glad to arrive early after 12 hours, as the driver had been gunning it the whole way! The border was due to open at 8am, so we had to queue for a litttle while with a bunch of pushy Bolivians, who for some reason had tonnes of tiger blankets?! After an hour or so, we got through customs quite easliy. The Argentinian guards idea of searching your bag was to open it up, search the top 4 inches of the bag then wave you through! We had no Argentinian money so had to walk to the bus terminal! We got there only to discover we would have to wait 3 hours for an onward bus to Saltar. Luckily, we had found an atm by now and could get some breakfast. The bus to Saltar took around 7 hours, and was a real treat compared to Bolivia! Free coffee, comfy reclinable seats and toilets onboard! We arrived in Saltar around 6.30pm only to find that the bus to Iguazu had left at 6pm and only runs once a day... We were stuck! Luckily, we managed to book into a nice hostel called 'Exxces' for the night, after reserving our tickets for the bus for the next day. We went out for dinner and soon started to realise Argentina was going to be a lot more expensive than Peru and Bolivia!
The next day we spent killing time til the bus and went for a wander round Saltar. Not much to see but a nice enough town. We stocked up on snacks and drinks for the journey too, then headed back to the bus terminal. The bus was really comfy and we had booked top floor, front seats so had a good view! After 24 hours on the road, 3 bus changes, 2 'bus' meals, 1 very nice bottle of red wine and 5 movies, we finally arrived in Puerto Iguazu.
The weather on arrival was a bit dismal, and as usual, we had no idea where to stay! We ended up in a little B&B at the top of town after about an hour of looking around and generally being shocked by how much more hostels are in Aregentina! The B&B was nice though, and had a nice kitchen to cook in. It felt good to be in a proper bed after such a long bus trip.
The next morning we awoke to torrential rain and decided to stay another day. We decided to move to a hostel down the road, called 'Pop Hostel' as it was cheaper and a bit more social. We spent the rest of the day uploading pictures, exploring the local town, and attempting a swim in the hostel pool in the rain! In the evening, we met a couple of French guys who had done the Iguauzu falls that day and said it was awful in the rain so we were glad we were waiting! They also had a hard drive packed with movies and series, of which we took a lot for our laptop.
We really hoped the weather would be better the next day but again, it was really chucking it down when we woke up and the forecast was looking up for the day after, so again, we had a rainy day. This mainly consisted of a walk to the supermarket, eating and watching 8 episodes of 'Game of Thrones' (stolen the previous night).
Finally, on the third morning, the sun was blazing when we woke up! We quickly checked out the hostel, left our bags in reception, packed the picnic and headed to the Falls. You can get a local bus there of around £1.50. It's kind of like arriving at Alton Towers when you get there, with big turnstiles and tourist desks. We got our tickets and maps and waited for the mini train to the Diablo Falls (the largest ones there). The stupid thing is, after 2 minutes on the little train, you have to get off and queue up again at a different station! We were bored of waiting by now, so deicided to walk insted, which actually only takes about 25 mins. Theres like 30 waterfalls at the Diablo Falls that all merge into the river below. To get to the falls, you have to walk out over all the huge rivers on metal gangways. We saw loads of big cat fish on the way. As you approach the falls, you can hear them before you see anything, then you can see the mist rising into the sky and your heart starts to pound! When they come into full view, the force of the water and the sheer size of the drops, just takes your breath away. It was so beautiful, even though I've seen pictures before, there's nothing like standing and looking down into the abyss of foam and spray as all that water tumbles over the edge. After taking about 100 pictures, we headed back down the gangway to explore the rest of the waterfalls. We headed out along the top path, which takes you out along another gangway over half a dozen huge waterfalls. We stopped here for a sandwich, such a good picnic spot! There were so many pretty rainbows along the way from all the mist and spray rising, it was really magical.We then headed to the lower path, not as impressive, but this leads to the boat docks. We bought a ticket for the boat ride and didn't have to queue for long as it was lunchtime. The boat ride is SO much fun! They sit about 30 people in a big boat called a 'rib', then drive you out to the Diablo falls to take photos (not too close though!). Then they drive you into loads of spray, so you get soaked!After you go round the other side of the river, and drive into the Salto San Martin falls. The whole boat totally disappears into the spray, its so much fun... They also give you dry bags, which are well worth using! My trainers were soggy all day! After this adrenaline rush, we caught another little boat over to San Martin island. This island is right in the middle of the falls and offers great views and vantage points of all the main waterfalls. We got some great pictures from here and stopped for the second half of our picnic, and to dry off! We had a little time left before we had to head off, so we decided to go to the furthest waterfall, Salto Arrechea, as we had heard you could swim there. We found the entrance path, but the gate was shut and said it was closed. We really wanted that swim, so broke in anyway and made our way along the trail. It was cool, as it was really jungly and we kept seeing these crazy big rat like creatures running into the bushes. We were a little on edge as we weren't supposed to be there, but we saw some other tourists coming the other way and relaxed a little. After about a 40 min walk, we found the old rickety steps down to the waterfall, it looked like it hadn't been open to the public in years!! The actual waterfall was gorgeous, but the 'natural' pools where quite muddy from all the rain water of the previous few days. It was worth the walk though, as it was like a little secret paradise with no-one else there. We climbed round to the waterfall and stood under it, and man does it sting! The power of even a small waterall like this one nearly knocks you over! After we'd pretended to be Peter Andre in Mysterious girl for a bit, we dried off and headed back to the entrance to get a bus back to town, and onto Brazil. It was such an amazing and memorable day, a must on any trip to South America!