From Argentina, we flew to Brazil, stopping briefly in Curritiba before landing in Foz de Iguacu. This conference and resort town sits along the Iguacu river where the borders of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil all come together. This river is also the site of one of the world’s largest waterfalls, Iguacu Falls, or Iguassu Falls, if you are on the Argentinian side. The combined national parks of both countries are listed as an UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
From our Brazilian hotel, we caught the local city bus to the national park. Signs throughout the park warned us to watch out for the quatis (coatis), raccoon like creatures who swarmed the park visitor center and restaurants looking for food. They were unafraid of people, coming right to your feet begging for treats. It could be hard to avoid touching them as the signs warned when they rubbed against your legs looking for crumbs.
Walking along the trail, we had terrific views of the falls on both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the river. We had a chance to watch some adventurerers preparing for a kayak over one of the smaller falls. Boy watched for an hour as they suited up and attached safety harnesses and cables. Unhappy with one of their final checks, they delayed their entry and, we gave up before they put the kayaks in the water, but we did see them rappel down a rope along the falls while they attached latches and checked knots. Completing our hike down to the bottom of the falls, an elevator whisked us back up to the visitor center and food court for lunch.
The next day, we hopped on a tourist bus for a ride across the border to the Argentinian national park. A train takes visitors from the visitors center to the viewing platform. An extensive metal walkway goes through the rainforest, crosses the river, and takes you right to the edge of the Devils Throat, the largest of the falls, with a 90 meter drop, close enough to feel the spray and observe the fast moving water. While Argentina has less expansive views of the entire series of 275 falls than the Brazilian park, the Argentian park puts you right up close to the water. It also had a better walk through the forest, which was full of colorful butterflies.
Our hotel was packed with South American families on summer holiday, so there were plenty of kids to play with in the afternoons before dinner. Boy enjoyed the game room and large swimming pool with water slides. Ping pong and foosball were favorites.
School books this week were ebooks on Brazilian history and geography. For science, we have begun studying the animals and plants of the Amazonian rainforest as we will be there in less than two weeks.