Pop over to Paraguay for a day.
Paraguay is just over the river from Foz do iguacu and a whole different world.
Paraguay is a country that is not nearly as organised as brazil and it can be a little shock to cross the border.
Because Paraguay is taxfree, shopping there is very cheap and you will see droves of brazilians over there to do some shopping.
The border town Ciudad del este is for the same reason full of shopping malls and markets.
- Road Trip
Located just on the other side of the river is the Country of Paraguay and its dirty city of Ciudad del Este. Despite the warnings of many posters here on VirtualTourist, Sarah and I decided to take an afternoon and cross the border just to see if it really was that bad. Yes, it really is, but at least now we can turn our map blue for this country. I would really like to give Paraguay a second chance some time, but Ciudad del Este will not be the spot to do so.
If you are interested in going to shop, there are said to be some good electronics discounts compared to Brazil, but the prices did not seem to be much of a deal to an American. For more information, you can check out my Paraguay page which is reached by the link below.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
It is propaganda, it is free!
This fancy propaganda exercise starts with 10-minute movie on the different building stages of the Itaipu dam; its parameters and bilateral dimensions. The president of Brazil at the time says something along these lines: "A nation which can build a facility of this magnitude cannot be considered as a third world country".
Then immaculate buses take the crowds up to a perfect viewpoint where all the incomprehensible might of this concrete monster stands up in front of you and intimidates every nucleus of your being. When your imagination is thoroughly saturated you are driven off to match your meager body against the colossal turbines and then on to the borderless road crawling on top of the wall for the ultimate display of water infinity.
By the end of the exercise your lower jaw is fixed permanently at an unnatural level and you flagellate yourself for thinking of Brazil in such a belittling manner.
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See 3 Countries at the same time!
This is not actually a off the beaten path activity. The Marco das Tres Fronteiras used to be one of the most visited tourist point in Foz do Iguacu, but now, even after the revitalization, many don't know about it or don't take a couple of hours of their time to visit it.
In the Marco das Tres Fronteiras, you will be able to see Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. From it's monument (an obelisc), you will see both rivers, Rio Parana - west that separated Brazil from Paraguay and Rio Iguacu - south, wich separates Brazil and Argentina. The monument was opened in July 20th, 1903.
Besides the monument, in the same place there is a monument in the name of Alvar Nunes Cabeza de Vaca, the man who discovered the Iguassu Falls in 1542.
The real off beaten path visit In the Marco das Tres Fronteiras is the "Espaco das Americas", that is a wooden made construction where you will find several murals with local histories and information on native indians. It is a very nice place, where my class had the Graduation Cerimony in 2000.
- Family Travel
Do not Ignore B side
When wisiting some Important sites (touristic or other ) also keep a look out for other interesting things around,you will be very surprised,it can be an unusual flower next to eiffel tower, a wise Camel next to Pyramids, infact sometimes B side can be much more interesting..
This picture was taken from my hotel window,must have been a hundreed humming birds on the trees , The Iguasu falls not far away but B side was interesting too....
- Family Travel
If you are looking for something else to do once you have seen the falls you can go to the tres fronteras where the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet. Each border has a marker painted in that countries colors. On the Brazilian side there is also a shop selling some souvineers at better prices then some of the large shops in town.
Benchs for reading
Probably once in your life you have read something sitting on a bench... But have you ever read a bench?
At Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant the benches have certain data:
"The volume of earth and rock excaved in Itaipu is equivalent to more than twice the Sugar Loaf (Rio de Janeiro)"
"The construction iron and steel used in Itaipu would build 380 Eiffel Towers"
"The total volume of concrete used in Itaipu would build 210 stadiums like Maracana"
...and some more! Of course, the captions are in Portuguese.
Probablemente alguna vez en su vida han leído algo sentados en un banco... Pero alguna vez han leído un banco?
En la Represa de Itaipu los bancos tienen algunos datos:
"El volumen de la tierra y la roca excavada en Itaipu es equivalente a más de dos veces el volumen del Pan de Azúcar (Rio de Janeiro)"
"El hierro y el acero de construcción usados en Itaipu serían suficientes para edificar 380 veces la Torre Eiffel"
"Con el volumen total de concreto de Itaipu podrían construirse 210 estadios como el de Maracaná"
...y varios más! Por supuesto, las leyendas se encuentran en portugués.
As long as you're here, be sure to visit the waterfalls from the Argentine side of the border too. The Parque Nacional de Iguazu in Argentina really brings you up close to the falls and gives you a completely different perspective on the place. Also, check out Puerto Iguazu if you have the time.
Visiting Ciudad del Este in Paraguay was completely unplanned, but when I realized how close it was (just across the Ponte da Amizade), I had to give it a go. Of course, I had no idea just how dangerous a place it really is, so allow me to give you a quick word of warning. If you decide to go and do a little shopping here, don't bring any valuables, be alert and cautious and get the heck out of there by 3 or 4 in the afternoon when all of the stores close.
See my Ciudad del Este, Paraguay for more details on some of the dangers here.
To get there, catch the bus from Foz do Iguacu on Rua Almirante Barroso. The bus will say Ciudad del Este and will be marked Internacional. It will cost 3 reais (or pesos).
Full moon Tour on the Falls!!!
Its an amazing tour!
Try it out, see more informations (schedules)on the web site: http://www.iguazuargentina.com/
If its amazing during the day, imagine it at night?!
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