Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tips for traveling to Iguazu Falls

Resultado de imagen para iguazu falls
A popular destination in Argentina is Iguazu Falls, a scenic waterfall located in the Missiones province on the boarder between Argentina and Brazil.

If you want to see the falls, you have two options to see them, the Argentine side and the Brazilian side. To put it simply, Brazil has the panoramic view of the falls, and Argentina has the actual falls themselves. In the Argentine side, you can walk around the national park with miles of trails through the jungle bringing you to different viewpoints of the falls. The Brazilian side has a smaller amount of trails and can be thoroughly explored in less time.

Both sides offer boat excursions where you can go along the lower part of the river up until the falls, where you get an up-close perspective of the roaring thunder of the falls. Some excursions actually bring you into the falls to ´ducharse´ and get soaking wet. Whether you choose the tamer excursion or  choose to get wet, this should be the one thing that you do not miss out on at Iguazu. Seeing the falls up close and personal from the water is the best way to see them.

The Argentine park has 2 main trails that service viewpoints of the falls. The upper trail and the lower trail. The upper trail goes along the falls from above, so you can see the water falling down into abyss. It goes along the ridge of about half of the falls, and offers several unique viewpoints. There are a couple monkey clans that common this area, and almost the whole trail offers spectacular views. The lower trail goes below the falls, and offers a more complete view of all the action.

Aside from these two trails, there is the infamous Garganta del Diablo ´devil´s throat´. A train can take you from the park´s center past the upper trail and to the station for the Garganta del Diablo trail. From there, you walk on a path that goes over the river for about 500 meters right up to the tip of the falls.

The ´Sendero Mapuco´ is another popular trail with a more rustic path that goes through the jungle to a small waterfall (not Iguazu Falls) with a swimming area. This is a great option for the summertime to swim and cool off. At the writing of this article, the trail is currently closed due to a group of at least 5 pumas circling the area of the mapuco trail. Pumas are very dangerous, but they do not generally attack adults. Still, the park is taking all precautions to avoid any animal or human harm.

The brazilian side offers a much more relaxing way to enjoy the falls. Less hiking and wider viewpoints offer a quicker way to see the beauty of the park without straining yourself. You can still do some hiking and get wet at the ´Garganta del Diablo´, but the southern side of the falls is much farther from view. With less time walking that means more time drinking caiparinias!

For lodging, Foz do Iguazu, the Brazilian side, offers bigger, more developed hotels with better price for value options than the argentine side. However, this side is also more dangerous and has more robberies and gang problems. The Argentine side is less developed but is very safe. You can walk around pretty much anywhere at any time with no problems. There are some good food options here as well, and just about every corner has ´milanesa´, an classic Argentine dish. Long story short, Brazil has nicer hotels and caiparinias, and Argentina has safe streets and milanesa.

Ciudad del Este in Paraguay is also close, about a 30 min taxi ride. Here you can do some cheap shopping with knock-off products. If you are living in Argentina or Brazil, this can be an opportunity to get electronic goods at a more reasonable price, but be careful about the quality. Sometimes it is too good to be true, and that 100$ iphone isn´t really an iphone at all.

If you go to the falls, no matter what side you choose, you will definitely never forget the immensity of the falls. They are one of the 7 natural wonders of the world for a big reason. Don´t let this amazing place not find its way on your bucket list!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Rainy Day in BA

It´s a rainy day in Buenos Aires, you´re walking to work/school/lunch/whatever it is you do, and your shoes are soaking wet. Your clothes are soaking wet too because you forgot your umbrella. Great.

After putting saldo on your phone in a kiosko, you notice this building on your way out.

What´s going on here? Why does this building have so many little windows?

It must be even weirder from the inside, looking out through all those tiny windows.

One of the corners of the rooms is round instead of a more traditional corner. Does that add fung shway?

So many questions, and too much time out in the rain to ponder them.

At this point you are already saturated with h2o, so you start to take your time on your way, to stop and enjoy the odd things in life like that strange building. What´s the hurry to get inside if you will then have to be soggy and wet at your job/class/whatever? Once you have reached this level outside, it´s actually kindof nice to walk around the city in the rain. The dimness and soaking shimmer on everything sheds a new light on your surroundings. In some ways, it makes the surrounding more beautiful.

Take this tree, for example, hiding refuge and escape from the downpoar while spreading its roots to drink paccha mama´s nectar of life.

Even the obelisque has a sort of gloomy bliss to it.

After some retrospective thought, you realize that the sulky atmosphere has a sprawling life to it, showing off the vibrance and strange juxtaposition in life. You see a family inside a cafe enjoying themselves and laughing, you see a newspaper vendor chatting along with his friends, standing in the rain, with a big smile on his face while there is a homeless man right next to his stand begging for change.

Life must go on.

It´s full of odd combinations, and nothing like a rainy day to show it off.

Buenos Aires helps to make the distinctions in life even more obvious with colonial architecture stacked up in the middle of modernized, industrial boxes.

The architecture is like an analogy for the culture in general. Argentina is mostly Spanish and Italian, but it also has a vast population of people with native ancestry, peruvians, germans and all sorts of spots around the world.

This diversity is somewhat unique in South America, and it adds a melting-pot feel that stands out in the whole, Latin America, everybody looks the same, move your hips way of life. People walk fast in town with a mission to get stuff done, but there are still plenty of people living ´pura vida´ taking their time to do stuff at their own pace.

After you take all this in, the rain starts to fade away, and now it´s a pretty nice day out. You see the umbrellas go away, and your clothes start to dry in the sun. Things sure can turn around quick down here....