The first thing to hit me as I disembarked at Buenos Aires airport was the heat – 36 degrees and extremely humid.
I had done what I normally try not to do, and that’s arrive in a big city late at night.
The transfer to my hotel, in a taxi, would have been the sensible choice on this occasion – but an expensive luxury that I can little afford. The next best thing was an airport shuttle bus. However, the shuttle bus at Buenos Aires airport goes nowhere near my hotel. It does, however, pass a useful metro station. The obvious solution was therefore a mixture of all three. Arrived at Hotel Babel at 11pm – a beer in the bar had my name on it.
Buenos Aires (BA) is BIG! There are no major draw cards, like Rio, but there are loads of things to see and do – which I did for the next couple of days.
The kindness of strangers: The lady who paid my bus fare because I didn’t have enough change to put into the on-board ticket machine. The bus driver who came round and offered us candy on New Year’s Day. The lady at the bus station who went out of her way to help with translating for me.
It was only today, as I planned my next move, that I started to fully appreciate just how big South America really is. Distances, by road, are quoted in double figure hours. Sure there are plenty of flights available but my budget won’t stand too many of these. As a result I have decided to cross Paraguay and Uruguay off my list. It is going to be too expensive and take too long to visit these two countries. It will be better to concentrate on the other ‘must visit countries’ on my list.
Puerto Iguazu was a one and a half hour flight north of BA. It’s a small unassuming town but with a major attraction – Iguazu Falls. You can walk to the heart of the falls, ‘Devils Throat’, via a steel walkway that carries you (precariously) across the river Iguazu.
The Iguazu Falls divide the waterway into the Upper and Lower Iguazu River. The northern bank of the falls is in the Brazilian State of Parana while the southern bank sits in the Argentinean Province of Misiones. The falls themselves actually consist of over 270 separate falls that stretch for more than one and a half miles. Most of the individual waterfalls are about 200 feet in height. The most famous of them all is known as The Devil’s Throat which is a U-shaped waterfall that is almost 500 feet across and well over 2,000 feet in length. The photos don’t do it justice!
Next stage: Puerto Iguazu to Mendoza (south-west Argentina).