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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Iguazu Falls - Brazil

Iguazu Falls are situated in a large U-shape, the majority of the waterfalls are located on the Argentina side, making the best panoramic view available on the Brazil side. Some of our friends that had visited Iguazu before us recommended that we spend a day in Brazil, so we jumped through hoops to get our Brazilian Tourist Visas and spent Day 2 of our vacation hoping that we had made a good choice. To ruin the surprise, at the end of the day we left Brazil agreeing that this was a great decision. The best way to describe it is that on the Argentina trails you are standing on top of waterfalls and on the Brazil trails you are looking at the falls from across the Lower Iguazu River.

Entering the Brazil side of Iguazu National Park requires a separate park entry fee, as of our visit on April 17, 2010 the entry fee was $37.00 pesos per person. (Again, this fee is cheaper if you are an Argentine, Brailian or Paraguayan citizen) Although this fee is less than half the price it takes to enter the Argentine side, the Brazil side of the park looks to be about 30 years more advanced and 3 times as expensive. After paying the entrance fee, you pass a large, fancy souvenir shop on your way to the double-decker air-conditioned tour bus that hand delivers you to a number of designated stops in the park. Our destination was stop #3, the Waterfalls Path. This path takes you along the river's edge and then up to two different tiers of waterfalls on the Brazil side. The views from this path are unbelievable. There are more amazing waterfalls in every direction. If you have an SLR camera, buy a wide angle lens before you visit and bring it. You'll need it. The Brazil side of the park offered a completely different perspective on the falls, if you're willing to put up with the red tape Brazil throws up for Americans (and Canadians, and Australians and citizens of these other countries) it's worth the trip.

After the trail of amazing views, I had to put my camera away and pull the rain shield over my camera case so that we could complete the trail. When you get close to the waterfalls, the trail divides into two paths, one that takes you right up to a waterfall and another that walks out on a second tier so that you are standing in between the two levels of falls. Both paths are impressive. It doesn't look like much from the pictures, but after completing these trails you will be soaking wet. Don't get me wrong, at this point in the day we welcomed getting cooled off by the mist, it was H.O.T. For Jon's birthday he got a new little digital camera from his parents, an amazing gift that allowed us to get these great videos. This video shows the full impact of the falls from the walkway. You also get a great shot of me looking like a hot mess.

I know I've said it before, but I could have spent all day just looking at and listening to the water. It's a sight to be seen and I will gladly go on this trip again with other visitors. My first words to my parents when we got back were "You have to take that trip." It is truly breathtaking, and like Elaine, I don't use that word lightly.

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