Friday, January 16, 2009

Iguazu Falls- part I

We spent Wednesday and Thursday up at Iguazu Falls on the borders of Argentina and Brazil.  Well, we were meant to spend both days there.  Thanks to LAN, one of the local airlines, we didn't get our Wednesday as our 0830 flight was canceled and we were moved to a 1330 flight.  None of us were very happy as that flight didn't see us getting in to the hotel until after 4.  Which meant that we missed the last train of the day to head up to Devil's Throat, thus throwing off the plan to be able to get a taste of everything in!  Oh well, that's just what happens on holidays.

We checked in to the Sheraton and Amber had arranged a Falls view room for us.  I highly recommend that you spring for the extra dollars (this is NOT a cheap side trip anyway, so be prepared) for the Falls view room.  There are actually two full sized beds in the room, but I thought this looked nicer ;) It's amazing and being able to sit on your balcony and watch the sun come up and the sky change colours over the falls is magical.  I'm sure sunset over them is equally nice, but we didn't get to see that.  We had room 364 and the view was pretty dang near perfect with no real obstructions.  We were straight on to one of the main falls, could see the resort on the hill over on the Brazilian side and had a wonderful vista of waterfalls to the right.  Some of the rooms do have obstructed views, Amber had one last year, so it's worth requesting a particular room number or at least being clear about wanting something with no obstructions!

The view including the pool area at the Sheraton

Me on our balcony with the Falls in the background.

The Sheraton at Iguazu Falls is the only hotel on the Argentinean side that is in the park.  The town of Iguazu is about 20ish minutes away by taxi and there are many hotels there, too.  It looked like there were ample tour buses to take you from those hotels to the National Park, but I'm very glad we stayed right there.  Not only for the view, but it was nice to just be able to decide when we wanted to go and *go*.  The rooms are comfortable but the bathrooms are pretty small.  The showers seemed to be funky for all of us (we had three rooms for our group)...our shower would go along merrily at the right temperature and then suddenly go cold for a bit, then back to the right temperature.  Irritating, but fine for a night or two.

The service at the lobby bar was a bit hit or miss, but they have excellent chairs and a killer view.  Everything at the Sheraton is expensive.  We only ate lunch on our second day there and sandwiches were fine, the beer cold.  The breakfast buffet, included with the room rate, had quite a lot of choices including plenty of varieties of fresh fruit.  We decided to eat in town on our only night and went to Tio Guerido on our cab driver's recommendation.

We got out of the cab, started walking down the block and BAM!  Huge torrential downpour!  We couldn't believe it.  We were completely soaked through after having to run across the road to the restaurant, but it was fun.  Tio Guerido seems be a popular place and filled up as we were there.  They had a three piece live music act, who sold cds after their set, a huge selection of wines and a festive atmosphere.  The meals were meh...three of us had some sort of steak, so we thought, but it came out on rib bones and was extremely tough - when you could find any meat at all.  The mashed potatoes and the chocolate ice cream were great.  The six of us enjoyed conversation and cervazas and still had a good time, despite the mediocre meal. There is an outside patio (closed due to the rain!) next to their outside bbq area where the meat is prepared and two large inside rooms. I really liked the interior of the restaurant, but was a bit slack and didn't take any photos of it!

I would recommend that you plan to spend two nights at Iguazu Falls so you are sure that you get two good days to explore and enjoy.  We thought taking the 0830 flight would be a great solution, but once they canned the flight that whole day was not only wasted, but it meant that we really didn't have enough time at the Falls.  It was very disappointing, especially as the sky was a flat grey overcast for the time we did have at the Falls themselves.  And that means no rainbows, no beautiful shimmering light...just flat grey.  There was also a tremendous amount of "mist" coming off the Falls while we were there and sometimes it completely wiped out the Falls themselves!  The Falls are still awesome in their power and very pretty, but photographically - blech.

I'm currently in Buenos Aires and about to walk out the door for our city tour, so you'll have to stop back for the second Iguazu Falls installment and more photos!

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