Author Topic: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report  (Read 25368 times)

Offline Dan

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2014, 05:43:50 PM »
+1, brings back such good memories. Dan, when and where are you heading there? I did TR's on most of my places there, though didn't yet write up CWB, FLN, MAO & POA.
Going for 7 nights. I think we'll just do SAO, RIO, and IGU.  Somewhat lame, but it seems that places like Manaus and Fernando de Noronha are best left for a future trip.

Major bummer is that all the good food is in SAO but there's not much to actually do in SAO.

At least we have 10 years to return on this visa...
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline ilherman

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2014, 05:47:04 PM »
Starting a TR and not finishing it right away is like moving in to a new house when its 80% done. The last 20% never gets done.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 05:57:48 PM by ilherman »
You can say what you think when you think what you say.

Offline jaywhy

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2014, 05:56:26 PM »
Starting a TR and not finishingit right away is like moving in to a new house when its 80% done. The last 20% never gets done.
We'll see about that  ;)

Offline efflpetzel

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2014, 06:56:47 PM »

Starting a TR and not finishing it right away is like moving in to a new house when its 80% done. The last 20% never gets done.
tell that to AJK, I'm dying he should complete his TR

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2014, 10:35:11 PM »
Maybe tonight :)
Nu, is it happening tonight ? I'm staying up specially for this.

Offline jaywhy

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2014, 12:03:20 AM »
Nu, is it happening tonight ? I'm staying up specially for this.
Not gonna happen tonight. You can go to sleep now. :D

Offline AJK

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2014, 10:48:54 PM »
Great TR, jaywhy. A good read. Looks like Rio is stunning, particularly sugarloaf. Definitely can't wait to do SA.
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Offline AJK

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #47 on: October 14, 2014, 10:49:06 PM »
tell that to AJK, I'm dying he should complete his TR

Which one?
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Offline AJK

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Offline efflpetzel

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #49 on: October 14, 2014, 11:06:11 PM »

OK, because you asked so nicely :)
and If I'm in your good books already, can I squeeze in a request for the JNB TR, or is that to greedy

Offline AJK

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #50 on: October 14, 2014, 11:44:52 PM »
and If I'm in your good books already, can I squeeze in a request for the JNB TR, or is that to greedy

I have an idea for the JNB/CPT TR... we'll see.
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Offline jaywhy

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #51 on: October 15, 2014, 12:09:48 AM »
Great TR, jaywhy. A good read. Looks like Rio is stunning, particularly sugarloaf. Definitely can't wait to do SA.
Thanks. IGU is even more stunning.

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #52 on: October 15, 2014, 06:22:08 AM »
Thanks. IGU is even more stunning.

So can you post it yet? Erev yom tuv treat!

Offline jaywhy

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #53 on: October 15, 2014, 01:37:09 PM »
Part 3: Igauzu Falls

We arrived at the airport to check in and I added my infant daughter at the ticket counter. I had booked this leg of the trip with Avios and didn't want to pay the extra Avios for something that could be done for free at the airport.
Our bags were a few KG's overweight so they calculated the cumulative weight of our bags against the cumulative weight allowance of our total baggage allowance and charged us the difference based on each overweight kilo. It's a much better system than we have here in the US where they charge per overweight bag and cause lots of delays and inconveniences when people starting unpacking and redistributing their bags at the checkin counter.

The TAM flight was decent. The seats were very tight and I think the pitch was less than that of Gol.  Strangely enough, in mid-flight, one of the flight attendants decided to check if our car seat was aircraft certified. The certification sticker was on the side facing the window and my baby was sleeping. I wasn't about to wake her up to satisfy a ridiculous request, but I managed come to an understanding with the FA that it was certified and there was no need to take the baby out to check.

We landed at IGU airport, a really small airport that does not have any jetways. All planes park in front of the terminal and passengers deplane on stairways onto the tarmac.


Deplaning in IGU

We collected our bags and went outside to find a cab to take us to the Brazilian side of the falls. Our original plan was to store our baggage at lockers at the park while we explored the park, but our taxi driver convinced us otherwise. He proposed driving us all around the falls for the rest of the day, and then driving us to the Sheraton Iguazu at night, which is on the Argentinian side of the border, for $100. While that is a bit steep compared to the prices you can get if you start from the Argentinian side, I was happy to pay that for the convenience of a driver and not having to unpack and repack the whole car. We exchanged numbers with the driver and we were off.

Iguazu Falls is an absolutely, breathtaking, natural attraction with countless falls cascading through the jungle and many viewpoints offering a different take on the scenery. I've been to Niagra falls and I’ll say that Eleanor Roosevelt really had it right when she proclaimed "Poor Niagra" after seeing Iguazu falls for the first time.


Igauzu Falls


Igauzu Falls

The weather in Iguazu was considerably cooler than Sao Paulo or Rio, and it was the only place where we wore sweaters. The wildlife there is also extremely aggressive. There are small rat/raccon-like creatures called quatis who live in the jungle and will attack your bags to steal your food if you are not hyper vigilant. They come in packs and you really need to watch out for them. I chased them away a few times after they came right up to our stroller, but they kept coming back. Finally, I sent one flying with a hard kick and they left us alone. We did see another older woman have her handbag torn out of her hands and devoured by a pack of 25 quatis in a feeding frenzy. The mosquitoes and flies were also super aggressive and the mosquito bites that I got from there itched me incessantly for 2 weeks afterwards.

We started walking down the path that follows the falls and saw some incredible views.


A Quati


Devouring an old lady's handbag





Some parts of the path were very stroller unfriendly and we had to carry our fully-loaded stroller up and down stairs for some portions of the trail. After about an hour, we stopped for lunch in an elevated area that is somewhat safe from the quatis. I don't exaggerate when I say that if you take out any piece of food in front of the quatis, they will attack you and tear it from your hands, with no compunctions.  Even still, we needed to be super vigilant for them coming after our lunch.

We spent a few hours touring the falls, which gets successively better at each viewpoint. Our girls slept in the stroller for the vast majority of the time. At the last falls, which is the biggest one, they have a steel deck that is over the water and reaches almost to the base of the falls. There is a lot of moisture down there which combined with the wind and cool air makes it quite chilly. We did not go all the way out onto the steel deck due to the stroller.









Once we were done at the Brazilian side, our driver who had been waiting there for us came to pick us up and take us to the Sheraton Iguazu. On our way there, we stopped at a convenience store to exchange dollars for pesos. The rate they gave us was only slightly better than the official rate and nothing like the blue dollar rate you can get in Buenos Aires, so I only exchanged enough cash to last us until we got to Buenos Aires.

We crossed the Argentinian border where they scanned our luggage and confiscated our fruits. They were super relaxed about the whole thing and I’m sure I could’ve gotten our fruits “overlooked” with a small donation to the border guard welfare fund but I wasn’t in the mood for such games. They also checked to make sure we had paid the steep reciprocity fees before entry.

The Sheraton Iguazu is located inside the national park and you need to pay a park entry fee to enter the hotel property. The hotel is dated and the room smelled a little musty but it got the job done for our one night stay. The porch offered a magnificent view of the falls and the jungle. The door also had a sign on it reminding visitors to keep it closed in order to keep the monkeys out. We didn’t see any monkeys at the hotel, though we did see a few the next day cavorting on the telephone poles on the road.


Sheraton Iguazu.

Being as the hotel is completely isolated, there is is virtually no kosher food accessible other than fruits and vegetables. There is a kosher Freddo (ice cream) in the park, but we didn't make it there. We did enjoy a number of caipirinhas and mangos from room service, which were both delicious. The sunset was stunning, and once the sky got dark, we saw millions of stars twinkling in the night sky. The air was pure and refreshing and it got quite chilly at night. One of my favorite memories of the entire trip was sitting on that balcony and enjoying a caipirinha while sucking up lungfuls of clean, crisp air and admiring the star-studded sky.


Sunset view at Sheraton Iguazu.

The next morning, we woke up early to a gorgeous sunrise and enjoyed a fruit, coffee and juice breakfast before strapping the girls into baby carriers and heading out back for a hike.


Sunrise at the Sheraton Iguazu.

The trials into the park originate right behind the hotel making the hike into the park extremely convenient. The trails behind the Argentinian side are not stroller-friendly at all, with steep inclines and lots of stairs. It was a good idea we decided to go with the baby carriers. The paths there are extremely narrow and we got stuck in traffic behind people taking pictures and whatnot.


Pool at the Sheraton Iguazu.


Hiking through the jungle.


Definitely closer to the falls on the Argentinian side.

The Argentinian side of the falls differs from the Brazilian side in that you are more ensconced in nature whereas the Brazilian side offers the better views but you are not walking through a jungle. After our hike, we returned to the hotel, packed up and headed for the airport for our flight to Buenos Aires. On our way to the airport, our cab driver stopped to point out monkeys and toucans in the jungle.


Monkey crossing the road.


IGR Airport.

To be continued.

Offline ilherman

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #54 on: October 15, 2014, 01:42:32 PM »
For what reason in the world was I exited when I saw the Niagara Falls?   :o ;D
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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #55 on: October 15, 2014, 01:43:41 PM »
Thanks. Awesome pics

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #56 on: October 15, 2014, 01:48:45 PM »
Awesome! Thanks for the pre yom tov installment. It seems weird to me to think of Iguazu as chilly. It was a lot hotter than BsAs for us, but then again we went in November.

Offline Ergel

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #57 on: October 15, 2014, 04:07:01 PM »
Cool. Is the water always that dirty/muddy?
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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #58 on: October 18, 2014, 08:39:35 PM »
Cool. Is the water always that dirty/muddy?

No, not at all. When we went in Jan it was a beautiful clear color, when some friends of mine made the trip there in July it looked dirty and muddy. Awesome clear pics.

Offline Joe4007

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Re: jaywhy's Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico Trip Report
« Reply #59 on: October 19, 2014, 04:02:05 AM »


Awesome! Thanks for the pre yom tov installment. It seems weird to me to think of Iguazu as chilly. It was a lot hotter than BsAs for us, but then again we went in November.
+1. Was there in April.
Cool. Is the water always that dirty/muddy?
Was when we were there in April 2013.