After three days in Asuncion with my parents, our group made its way to Iguazu Falls on the border between Argentina and Brazil. Since it would have been awfully uncomfortable for the seven of us to sit crammed into our car for six to seven hours, my mom and Kev and I flew to Ciudad del Este on Paraguay’s border with Argentina and Brazil.
Brian, my dad, Patrick, and Danny dropped my mom, Kev, and I off at the airport at 4:30am and just kept driving. Around 10:30, they met us in Ciudad del Este and we all headed to Brazil. Traffic was slow as we left CdE and crossed over the Paraná River on the Friendship Bridge connecting Paraguay and Brazil.
In the non-bird category, the park had snakes, fish, turtles, and alligators.
Some birds at the park, including these two injured macaws, had been rescued from traffickers and were no longer able to fly.
Danny and my mom, the two biggest bird lovers in the family, especially enjoyed our visit. Danny kept hiding in the plants (perhaps thinking we would just let him stay in the park with his new bird friends?) and my mom took lots of pictures.
We loaded back into the car and headed towards our hotel. We left our car at the entrance to the national park and took a bus to the hotel, the only one in the park.
We walked up a majestic staircase past two large jungle animal paintings and down a long hallway.
Brian and I were excited to learn we had been upgraded from two basic adjoining rooms to an amazing two bedroom corner suite with six balconies and a large sitting room. The woman at the reception desk noted that since Brian and I were repeat guests (we had spent our tenth wedding anniversary here a few years ago) and they were happy we had returned with our family, they upgraded us! The suite was really beautiful.
Waiters at the pool served guests fruit on skewers.
Once the waterfalls closed at 5:30, all park visitors who were not hotel guests left the falls leaving the trails practically deserted. We hiked the trails around 6pm and it was perfect – we had the place to ourselves! Aside from being beautiful, the real advantage to the hotel is that guests have access to the falls anytime even when the park is closed.
Kev, who had been a bit hot and sweaty, especially loved the mist from the falls spraying his face and cooling him down.
The walk was beautiful!
We walked back up to the hotel and poor Kev was a bit worn out by the afternoon’s activities and fell asleep.
We ate dinner at the buffet in the hotel dining room. Grandma and Grandpa entertained Kevin with a napkin – or was it the other way around?
The next morning we visited the Argentine side of the falls. It was a long day since the park is huge and it’s harder to get around. To reach the top of the falls requires on a lot of walking or taking two trains with long lines.
We only saw one thing at the park – la garganta del diablo – the highlight of the park where the falls begin and it stilltook us several hours to do only that. Although it was not easy to get to, the garganta del diablo was impressive. On the Brazilian side of the falls, the garganta is directly in front of visitors, while on the Argentine side, visitors are above the garganta and look down to see it.
Patrick and Danny were amazed by the butterfly that landed on my mom’s hand as we left the garganta. On the way down to the park exit, my mom and the kids and I took the train. Brian and my dad walked – and beat us to the bottom.
When we got back to our hotel in Brazil, we went to the pool for a little swim. The kids had an early dinner (yes, Danny is licking the ketchup from that bowl) and the adults had a snack.
Sophisticated Kev lounged in his hotel bathrobe, unwinding from the long day.
Brian and I put the exhausted kids to bed and met my parents for dinner by the pool.
I had a shrimp appetizer and duck confit (forgot to take a picture of the duck). My mom and Brian drank caipirinhas, the famou Brazilian drink. (See here for more info about caipirinhas and when Danny and Patrick learned how to make them during a trip to Rio.)
Early the next morning just after sunrise, I met my dad and we walked the empty trails while the rest of the family slept.
The boys had one more chance to play with the large outdoor chess set, or chest as the kids called it. They had played with it every chance they got during the trip.
The boys had one last snuggle with Grandma and Grandpa.
About 24 hours after we said good by to my parents in Argentina, we both arrived at our respective homes – them having having flown three flights to get back to Chicago (including an overnight flight from Buenos Aires to Miami) and us having driven many hours and spent the night at a hotel in Ciudad del Este that had no running water the next morning. Everyone was glad to be home! What a great adventure we had enjoyed together!