A private highway leads to the peninsula with the waterfalls. Men in uniform direct the cars to huge parking lots protected by fences and gates. The entrance area itself is a separate amusement park. First we have to queue to buy our tickets and then queue for entry. Leon at least helps us cut those lines short. Admission is only valid for a certain time slot and we have to wait until 1 p.m. before we are allowed in. The extent of the tourist exploitation of this natural phenomenon takes my breath away. I later found out that we were lucky enough to be in the school holidays.
We have some time and go eat something. And we get to know our first buffet. Brazilians love buffets. In the next few weeks we will experience many more buffets. Almost every possibility to eat lunch somewhere turns out to be a buffet. The only exceptions are luxury restaurants or the subway.
BRAZILIANS LOVE BUFFETS!
Finally we get to the park and a coach takes us to the next stations with the other guests who have caught this time slot. These include honeymoon hotels and entry points for hiking or boating. It takes half an hour for the bus to drop us off at the point where we walk along the falls.
At the first vantage point, there is also a hard fight for the best places – nobody seems to know that there will be many more to come. But neither do we.
The views of the Iguaçu Falls are really impressive. From here we look out over Argentina, which claims the other side of the falls for itself. From left to right we have a never-ending panorama of waterfalls in front of us.
From left to right we have a never-ending panorama of waterfalls in front of us.
A barrier-free paved path leads along the slope, revealing more and more details and new formations of waterfalls. And wildlife. On the bus we were made aware of the need to be careful with the animals and I thought to myself that all the animals must have fled long ago. And yet countless butterflies are buzzing around us and Leon is happy.
Then a coati appears and everyone pulls on their cameras. But the boy is not alone. Around a bend, more of the mammals scurry around, sneaking into a café in search of something tasty that you won’t find in the woods.
“Keep a safe distance from wild animals” – And if they don’t keep a distance from us?!?
At the end of the path and falls, a bridge leads to the center of the chaos of water. Now we understand why they wanted to sell us rain ponchos at the entrance.
It has to be like this. Leon has the most fun of all, as the little water rat never misses an opportunity to get wet.
In the end it will still be time to say goodbye. After all, we still have to look for accommodation and find a way to enter the country legally.