Ep.23 – Iguazu Falls


Our travel video from the spectacular Iguazu Falls. One of the 7 natural wonders of the world, it was truly mesmerising. We went after heavy rainfall so the water ran brown rather than clear as a result of the movement in sediment. Still, we hope you enjoy and don’t forget to watch in 1080hp!

Sophie & Dave

Iguazu Falls – Argentina, Brazil & Paraguay


We flew from Rio on an internal flight to Foz do Iguacu. Iguazu/Iguaçu falls was high up on our bucket list. It’s considered one of the natural 7 wonders of the world; spans 2 countries, has 257 individual waterfalls, comprises a width of 2,700 metres, and has an iconic waterfall called The Devil’s throat with an 80 metre drop! While we were fully aware that the area was renowned for its tropical weather, no one could have prepared us for the thunderstorms and rain that greeted us on arrival. We were literally wading through water on the streets. Fortunately, our year trip allows us flexibility so we ended up jumping between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay for about a week! Our planning was a little tricky as we were amazed how little information of bus timetables/prices there was online. (We took photos of the bus timetables and put them at the end of this post in the practical info section for any future travellers).

We got the bus to the Argentinean side of the falls with the intention of going back to the Brazilian side later. They say you should allow 7 hours for the Argentinian side as there are various circuits and viewpoints to fully admire the surroundings. Therefore, we arrived too late so we visited the Triple Frontier instead where the border of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil meet and where the Iguazu and Parana rivers converge.

Puerto Iguaçu, Cataratas de Iguaçu – Argentinian side
The following day we caught a bus early from the main bus terminal in Puerto Iguaçu to the falls (see practical information for more info). The entrance to the park costs $500ARS pp and annoyingly, after withdrawing money the previous day, they had a card machine at the till!

There are three main walking circuits; lower circuit (1.4km’s), upper circuit (1.75km’s) and the Devil’s throat (1.1km’s). We decided to embark on the lower circuit first, partly as all the tour groups seemed to be heading for the upper circuit, but also as we were both in agreement that waterfalls tend to look more impressive from the bottom up. We had both read about the various animals you can expect to see at the falls, including jaguars (although incredibly rare), and shortly into our walk spotted two toucans nestling in the trees, along with several Coatis which are sort of racoon/anteater/badgers. There are warnings throughout the park not to feed or approach the coati’s as they have a nasty bite and carry rabies. However, on the contrary to what we had read, they seemed incredibly docile and tolerant of annoying people harassing them. Along the way, we got our first glimpse of the spectacular falls. Unfortunately, due to the heavy rain earlier in the week, the water was a dark brown colour although the sheer volume and velocity of the falls still made it such an impressive sight.

We then caught the train (price included within the entrance to the park) up to the Devil’s throat. The walkway takes you right to the mouth of the waterfall where the falls drop 80 metres. Every time the wind blew, we got absolutely soaked! From here we were easily able to see the Brazilian side a short distance across the falls. We stopped for a picnic on the benches before catching the train back down towards the beginning of the upper circuit. It was at this point that some kind of insect stung me on my arm, leaving me in (no exaggeration) excruciating pain. Dave pulled out the sting, shook off his hand and stupidly went back to eating his sandwich without checking if it had actually fallen off. It must have still been on his hand as it pierced his lip and he proclaimed he would rather be kicked in the balls than stung by whatever that insect was. And he didn’t even get the full sting! We didn’t see what it was but it must have been some kind of Brazilian wasp.

After catching the train back down we then did the Upper circuit which gave a slightly different perspective from what we had seen earlier in the day.  Overall, we felt it was definitely worth it to complete all three circuits given the different view points and chances to see wildlife and rainbows in the mist! There is also the option to do a boat tour for $900ARS. However, as I was still in pain from the insect sting and both of us were quite tired by this stage, we decided to leave it until the Brazilian side. In hindsight, definitely do it on the Argentinean side if you get a chance as we later found out that the cost of the boat tour on the Brazilian side was over double!

We decided to get the bus across to Ciudad del Este and then head back on ourselves to tick off the Brazilian side of the falls. The bus ticket to Ciudad del Este cost $40ARS (£2), a bargain when you consider it crosses three borders as there is no bridge between Argentina and Paraguay so you have to drive through Brazil. The bus only stopped to stamp us out of Argentina and not at all in Brazil. We were hoping to jump off at the Paraguayan border and get our entry stamp. However, the bus didn’t stop there either – probably the most lax border control we have ever encountered! We dropped our bags off at our hotel and were feeling a little concerned that we had technically entered the country illegally, so we walked back across the bridge to Brazil and then re-entered as legal immigrants.

Foz do Iguazu – Brazilian side
After our first border crossing by foot, we continued walking onto the main bus terminal on the Brazil side. From here you can catch the 120 bus to Parque Nacional for $3.45BRL (see the bus timetable below). The falls are the last stop so you really can’t go wrong. The entrance to the park costs $64BRL and this includes a return coach transfer to where the walkway begins. The Brazilian side gives a completely different perspective, you are further away from the falls and higher up giving a much wider view. Unfortunately, our luck with the weather had run out and it was spitting throughout our visit. The walkway along the canyon is fairly short, finishing with a walkway out onto the lower basin of the Devil’s throat. There are several stop off points along the way but it seemed much more congested and crowded than what we had encountered on the Argentinean side. We went through the Brazilian side much quicker than the Argentinian, half a day to complete and admire the walkways on the Brazilian side was more than enough.


Practical information – Prices & Bus timetables for Iguaçu falls  October 2017

  • Puerto Iguaçu (Argentina) to Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) –
    $40ARS, 1 hour and a half, bus only stopped to stamp out of Argentina
  • Foz do Iguazu (Brazil bus station) to the waterfalls: 120 bus to Parque Nacional for $3.45BRL, 40 minutes
  • Puerto Iguaçu (Argentina) to the waterfalls [Cataratas], return ticket costs $150ARS, 35 minutes


Thanks for reading, join just next time as we head to Paraguay!

Sophie & Dave

Buenos Aires – Argentina


We left Córdoba and headed to Buenos Aires on an overnight bus. We chose the bus company el Turista which cost us $900 Argentinian pesos (£40) for the 9 hour tip. We arrived to an absolute torrential downpour and when we got to our hostel at 8am to leave our bags before checkin, we discovered that their whole ground floor had flooded overnight! Fortunately it cleared up for the rest of our stay. Buenos Aires is a huge capital city at 203km squared, so there’s quite a lot of public transport available. However, the city felt safe and we found ourselves just walking everywhere in Buenos Aires and ended up walking about 10-20km per day. I suppose cost effective given how painful withdrawing money in Argentina was. Firstly it was usually a faff to find an ATM that actually accepted our cards and once we had, the withdrawal fees were absolutely extortionate; the maximum you can withdraw is £100 with a £5 charge!

We did one of our favourite free walking tours ever here; Buenos Aires Free Walks. They were really professional and even had microphones which was a first. The walking tour stopped at various landmarks, all with interesting stories such as the Palacio Barolo whose architecture reflects the Divine comedy with floors representing hell, ascension and heaven with a lighthouse at the top and we saw Auguste Rodin’s statue of The Thinker (who knew there was one in Buenos Aires?!).

But the best thing about the tour was that he actually gave us a political and economic commentary of Argentina whereas most tours try to avoid too much bias. It was even better that he said off the bat, that obviously this was his opinion but it was still a really interesting insight we wouldn’t have otherwise got to see. I think we were both most shocked to learn that last year, Argentina had a 40% inflation rate! It helped to make sense of why everything was so expensive and Buenos Aires had the most homelessness that we’ve encountered in South America so far. We did a food shop for eggs, bread, ham and cheese which came to an insane £10. It was also linked to the fact that all monuments, statues and important buildings are gated due to the protests against the government in 2011.

La Casa Rosada (the pink house), the main government building, is located in what is considered the heart of Buenos Aires; Plaza de Mayo, (May, the month of the Argentinian liberation). The floor surrounding the central statue is painted with the symbol of Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo (the mothers). The symbol is of a nappy made of cloth that belonged to all the lost children of the dictatorship. These mothers are praised for their silent protests when they demanded information on their missing children which brought light to the human rights violations on an international stage. During the dictatorship, newborns were taken from their mothers and given to parents within the military junta. The organisation offers blood tests to a certain age group who have questions about their heritage and who might be one of the lost children. The organisation has apparently located 122 lost children, including the grandson of one of the founding members, Estela de Carlotto. The people of Buenos Aires seemed to be really engaged in politics and human rights. We saw so many references to the lost children of the dictatorship, so many posters about a rally against Benjamin Natanyahu (Israel’s Prime Minster) to account him for his human rights violations in Palestine and finally, everywhere in Buenos Aires you’ll see “Where is Santiago Maldonaldo?”; on posters, in graffiti, in shop windows. Neither of us actually knew about this recent case but it refers to a protester who went missing in August 2017 and the mystery surrounding his disappearance, the Argentinian people fear it is history repeating itself with the disappearances under the dictatorship (1976-1983).

When you think of Buenos Aires, the main thing that comes to mind is Tango! Though there are many places, including our hostel, that offered tango classes, Dave and I (as we have 4 left feet combined) decided we’d leave it to the professionals and just wanted to watch a show. On the walking tour, we’d been pointed out Cafe Tortoni as more of a landmark. It’s the oldest cafe in Argentina founded in 1858. Whenever you walk past, there are queues round the corner for the food though apparently its more just for the experience of the cafe. Anyway, we’d asked our hostel about the tango show they offered but it was more expensive than the one hosted at the historic Cafe Tortoni! So we decided to go there instead. We went early in the day to book our tickets for the evening’s show. There’s an 8pm and 10pm performance, we opted for the earlier show and it was $400 Argentinian pesos each (£17). They led us to the downstairs area and we were seated at a table right in front of the stage. The seating must have been based on who bought the tickets first as the waiter had a specific seating plan, so definitely worth us going early. We settled down to a bottle of Tortoni red ready to enjoy the show. Neither of us had ever been to any type of dance performance so we didn’t know what to expect but it was absolute incredible! The dancing was mesmerising and we were just nudging each other in awe at how they move their feet so fast, kick so high and somehow don’t kick their partners in the crotch. The show was telling a story and there was a man singing in between each dance, but to be honest, we didn’t really understand what the story was. The only words I got from the song were ‘corazon’ and ‘amor’ (heart and love).

Our final stop in Buenos Aires was the ecological reserve. We’d tried to go on the first day we arrived but it had been closed due to the flooding from the previous night. The reserve is 360 hectares and full of wildlife. The stars of the show being Coypu who swim in in the lake. We’d never even heard of them, they are like beaver/rodents with long tails and bright orange front teeth. We also saw Brazilian guinea pigs who only stay on land. This enormous reserve is on the edge of the ocean as well. It’s very surreal seeing the outline of the buildings of the biggest city in Argentina behind you whilst you’re walking through a huge park full of wildlife and on the other side, the vastness of Rio de la plata which feeds in to the South Atlantic Ocean.

We also really enjoyed strolling along Puerto Madero, we ended up there when we were buying our onwards boat tickets to Colonia, Uruguay.  But its a lovely area for a walk, and also the terrible Westerners we are, we got Starbucks but Dulche de Leche flavour. I don’t know how I’m going to live my life after South America without Dulche de Leche.

Thanks for reading, join us next time as we head to Uruguay!

Sophie & Dave

Salta & Córdoba – Argentina


We headed to Argentina with our first long distance bus and border crossing in South America. We booked our bus ticket in San Pedro de Atacama (it took us two attempts as we forgot to take our passports to the station and had to return a second time). All sorted in the end and we opted for the cheapest bus company offering the trip; Gemini for $18,000 Chilean pesos each (£21). It was a 9 hour trip but perfectly bearable given the comfy seats, toilet on board and 2 rounds of snacks they gave out. Getting off the bus and through border control was really smooth too, much more efficient than our Asia land border crossings like Vietnam to Cambodia. It was also throughout the day so we at least got to admire the scenery when we weren’t napping (okay, maybe just me). As we drew closer, we got to see the Cerro de los Siete colores (hill of 7 colours), which is a popular tour excursion though we were content seeing it from the bus (see photos below!). We finally arrived in Salta, a mountain city founded in 1582 in the North West of Argentina. We had anticipated it being quite a small city given its location, turn out its massive!

We had a bit of a nightmare as we got off the bus, our hostel was 5km away and it was getting dark so we wanted to get a taxi. Unfortunately, the ATMs near the bus terminal didn’t work with English credit cards (same happened to all the other Brits on the bus). So we had to walk into the city centre where we eventually found an ATM that worked for us, though by this point, we decided we’d just persevere and walk all the way with our backpacks.  Though slightly out of town, the hostel we stayed in (All Norte), was awesome and one of our favourites from this trip. We met some lovely people and Dave was especially thrilled as he was able to actually speak English with other humans. Fernando, the owner, was also so kind to us and literally helped me practice Spanish in conversations for like 2 hours! The best part though was the two sweetest dogs (one was called Uma Thurman – ha). Turns out they are both former street dogs, and one of them, up until 4 months ago could only crawl until Fernando adopted him and got him surgery to fix his crushed spinal column. Now he’s running around and the transition from the videos we saw of him are insane! We spent a whole day at the hostel where we just chilled and did some proper planning. We discovered a website called Platforma 10, which has been a total life saver helping us work our bus routes and how much the tickets are going to cost us. We originally thought we’d go East in to Paraguay but after our research, we concluded it was best to stay in Argentina and head South.

Anyway, Salta itself we really enjoyed, though it is a city, it didn’t feel too busy and there were some lovely parks, one with a huge fountain and really unique looking ducks. There was a huge supermarket near our hostel so we tried to eat in and make a packed lunch as much as possible though we did have one really good meal out. Of course, given we were in Argentina, it was meat galore. I opted for a steak, where the waiter asked awkwardly ‘definitely this one, it’s 445 grams?’, to which I said that’s fine by me. Dave had a local speciality of llama steak in red wine sauce which sort of tasted like a mix between chicken and a tender red meat. We headed to Cerro San Bernardo, a hill where you can get a cable car or walk the 1000 steps to the summit overlooking the city. We decided to walk (slowly) despite the heat. I also realised I’d forgotten a hair tie so had to make do with shoving sticks in my hair to keep it up, did the job though. The hill boasts 126 species of birds, and it made the walk much more enjoyable for me getting to take photos of a few on the way up. We were really surprised to find a pretty impressive and big fountain/waterfall display at the top of the hill and of course, some great views over Salta.

We went to the Museo de Arqueología de Alta Montaña (high altitude archeology), renowned for housing the best preserved mummies. The museum had lots of information (though not everything was translated to English) about Inca rituals and sacrifices. The mummies are of three children who were found 500 years ago at the top of Mount Llullaillaco, at the incredibly high 6700m above sea level! The Incas used to select young children from different tribes, often the most beautiful or intelligent. The children would journey to the main tribe and after a celebration used to strengthen the bond between tribes, would be offered as sacrifice to the mountain. The children were drugged and then taken up the mountain and buried alive, though the Incas didn’t believe they would die, rather join the mountain in Spirit. Due to the altitude (and thus temperatures), the children were preserved and found virtually intact in 1999 (apart from one who had been struck by lightening some time in the last 500 years). We thought we’d see all 3 mummies but there is only 1 on display at a time and are on rotation to help preserve them and allow for more scientific study. Simultaneously horrific and fascinating.

We went to the bus station to book our onwards tickets to Córdoba (we chose it as it broke up our journey to Buenos Aires). Whilst at the station, a little girl with Down syndrome came up to me and said that she’d lost her mum. I’ve never been more grateful or seen the importance more of learning to speak the language of the country we are in than that moment! Fortunately, we were able to take her to a security guard and explain and then she soon found her mum. Anyway, the bus. There’s only one bus company that does the route; Balut and holy sh!t it was incredible. The most ridiculous bus either of us have ever been on. There were only 3 chairs in a row and it was huge leather seats that reclined to a fully horizontal position and basically turned in to a bed. We also got served a hot meal, tea and coffee on board, your own personal tablet with fancy headphones and English films! Dave who notoriously struggles to sleep on night buses said it was the best night sleep in transit he’s had yet! It was an 11 hour trip, $1579 Argentinian pesos (£71) each and definitely worth the money especially when you consider we skip the cost of a night’s accommodation.

Unfortunately, the bus was the best part of Córdoba. Sorry to any Córdobians, but this was the first place on our travels that we unanimously did not like. Perhaps it was in part due to the shite hostel we stayed in, which didn’t even have windows. But it was also the fact that it was a huge city that somehow managed to feel so congested and busy, coming from two Londoners! Córdoba is renowned for being a student city with 10% of the population at university. It’s also where the current Pope Francis is from apparently. We did a free walking tour with a company called La Docta. We’ve done quite a lot of walking tours now, and we can honestly attest that this was the worst tour we’d ever done, both tour guide wise and location wise (avoid if you ever go). It was through the historic part of the city centre. We started at Plaza San Martin, apparently every city in Argentina, Chile & Peru has multiple statues, plazas, squares etc named after him. San Martin was the liberator of the three countries, awarding them independence from the Spanish empire in the early 1800s. Most of tour revolved around visiting various religious monuments; a cathedral, jesuit crypt and church – to be fair, of course the interiors are very impressive but it’s just not either of our cups of tea. The final stop on the tour was to the University of Córdoba where we learned that education is completely free and also available to absolutely anyone which I definitely endorse. The tour guide said the city treats students really well and they enjoy a lot of perks, even subsidised daily steak lunches costing $4 Argentinian pesos = 17p! Our highlight from Córdoba was finding a really quaint cafe called Fellini Cafe where we got an incredible spread when we ordered Brunch for 2!

Thanks for reading, join us next time in the capital; Buenos Aires!

Sophie & Dave