A trip to Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls
19.01.2017 32 °C
We decided that if we were travelling all the way to South America for our Antartica trip that we should probably see some of South America beforehand. So we found ourselves renting a cute apartment in Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires for 5 days.
We explored the city in our usual way, by geocaching. On day one we covered a lot of ground, first walking around the beautiful botanical gardens. They are full of flora from all over the world, dotted in between are many sculptures and plenty of benches for you to sit and admire the views, although some were occupied by cats!
We wandered a little further to Recoleta to collect another cache before returning back to the apartment for an afternoon relaxing by the pool and then dinner with an ex colleague of Gerald's who also happened to be in BA.
On our second day we booked onto a free walking tour of the Recoleta area. This began in Recoleta cemetery which is full of incredible tombs. It was a fascinating place and the guide told us lots of anecdotes about some of the rich and famous people buried there, including Eva Peron. Her tomb was far simpler and smaller than the majority there.
The place is huge and it's easy to lose your way in the maze of pathways between the ornate tombs with their carvings and stained glass windows.
We were also shown some other important buildings in the area, most of which used to belong to the wealthy families but during tougher times had been sold on to become embassies, museums and theatres. As the heat of the day increased we headed back to the pool and then had drinks with an old neighbour of ours who was in BA on a cabin crew layover. Funny how you have to go half way round the world to catch up with friends these days!
The next day we used our subte cards to head into the city, an easy and economical way to get around. We visited many of the famous landmarks and headed over to the port area which is much newer, quite a contrast to the old ornate buildings of the city.
Our final full day was spent visiting La Boca. The subte doesn't go that far out of the city so we caught a taxi from the city for 75 pesos. La Boca is a vibrant, colourful but overpriced tourist trap however we thoroughly enjoyed our visit there.
The buildings are painted in bright contrasting colours and there are little markets selling paintings and souvenirs.
We wandered around the streets before settling down to eat some lunch as we watched tango dancers perform around us.
We decided to walk back to the city via the famous Football stadium.
As we had heard the area can be unsafe we stuck to the big main roads on our return.
Another afternoon was spent at the pool before packing ready to leave for Iguazu Falls the next morning.
When we arrived in Peurto Iguazu it was in the high 30's, we attempted to go and explore the town but it soon became apparent that being a Sunday afternoon very little was open and that walking in that heat was not at all fun so we headed back to our hotel and lazed in the pool on the hotel roof looking out onto the rainforest.
We woke up nice and early and caught the 7.30am bus (65 pesos per person, one way) from nearby our hotel. Within 20 minutes we were at the entrance to the falls.
The falls were another 330 pesos per person to enter so it makes for a pretty expensive excursion, especially when you factor food and drink into it. A 6" Subway was about double the price it is back home in New Zealand.
The gates opened at 8am and almost everybody jumped on the train, we decided to walk down one of the tracks and for the first 3 hours didn't see another soul. We had hoped to visit San Martin island which requires you to jump on a little boat to get across but the water was too high to do so safely so access was closed.
There are numerous walkways that take you to many viewpoints and different parts of the falls. The whole area is absolutely stunning. Some of the walkways take you close enough to the falls that you get covered in spray and the roar they make as they fall is incredible.
The sun was shining creating little rainbows and birds fluttered all around.
We spotted some wildlife as we explored the area, we saw crocodiles, turtles, capybara, masses of butterflies, huge catfish and plenty of coati which are raccoon like creatures that come incredibly close if they think they have a chance of taking food from you. They are known to scratch and bite so we kept a safe distance. I saw two toucans fly overhead with their colourful beaks shining in the sun but sadly they went by too fast to get a photo.
By the time we made our way to the Devils Throat, about 5 hours later, there were hundreds and hundreds of tourists and you could barely move.
It started to thunder and then rain so we decided to head back home as we had walked pretty much every path available to us. This time we caught the train back to the entrance to save a bit of time and keep us out of the rain. Back at the hotel we had a very late lunch and then, once the rain stopped, we walked through the city to a spot overlooking the river. It's a place full of tourists as three countries border the river, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. We watched the sun setting and then strolled back to the hotel to pack ready for our next adventure.