Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Nature at its best - Iguassu Falls and the Pantanal

So after our relaxing time in Salvador (which at one point involved way too many free caprinhnas) we flew to Cuiaba in which our two day tour in the Pantanal began. Four hours later including half road half dirt roads and a boat trip were at our lodge in the middle of the Pantanal. 

The Pantanal is a very large wetlands area like the Everglades and is rich with plant, animal and birdlife. We were hoping to see Jaguars, monkeys, tapirs, anteaters and giant otters. However in the two days there we only saw a group of capochine monkeys, capybaras and caimans though there was a great variety of birds, the most impressive being the gigantic jabiru stork which is nearly as tall as me. It was a nice experience but I would recommend anyone going to go in the dry season where water is more scarce and hence animals concentrate in smaller areas making them easier to spot. We went in the height of the wet season where high waters made animals hard to find and limited the walking treks. Overall a bit dissapointing considering how obsecenely expensive the tour was - AU$2200 for 2 nights and $1000 to fly to and from Cuiaba. Next time we will definitely do more research when doing these eco trips.

What certainly was not a dissapointment was our next stop - Iguassu Falls. Twice as wide as Niagra and taller, these falls are the second largest in the world. There is the Brazilian side and the Argentinian side so it takes two days to cover them both. The Brazilian side only takes 2-3 hours and there you get a scope of just how wide they are with a trek taking at least half hour to see the whole thing. Then you stand on a platform overlooking the ledge and the deafening noise of the falls gives you an indication of just how powerful they are. If you  were to stand under one you surely would be pulverised to smithereens.

We took an organised tour to the Argentian side for AU$100 each  which means they organise going through customs for you. The Argentinian side has a lot of different views including one that is spectacularly close to the 'devils throat'. I'm pretty sure I saw Katrina Roundtree and her camera crew there as well. On this side we were also able to do a boat road which took us so close to the falls that everyone on the boat in excitement (and fear) and we all got soaked. So much fun! One guy had his glasses knocked right off his head.

We took a luxurious bus out of Brazil into Argentina. This bus included almost fully reclining seats, full meals and champagne. However I couldn't really enjoy any of this as I was really nauseous and eventually threw up in the bathroom and fell asleep. In the meantime Kevin was happily chugging down free whiskey and watching Taken 2 in  Spanish. Oh woe is me! More next on Buenos Aires.

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