On our second day, we crossed again to Brazil to visit the other side of the waterfalls. While the Argentinian side allows close-up, the Brazilian side is the grand overview — and what a view! The misty atmosphere made great rainbows too.
Browsing: Snapshots of Latin America
On our way back to Argentina, we couldn´t miss the greatest waterfalls in South America: Iguazú.
The falls are located between Argentina and Brazil. The national parks have a total of 275 falls (!), some over 80 meters tall! Basically, just when you think you took the perfect picture, there is another better waterfalls just around the corner.
By the time we got to Rio de Janeiro, we started to look for plane tickets back home. But they were very expensive, so we knew we had to come back to Buenos Aires, in Argentina.
No worries. We bused back, stopping in Florianópolis and in Curitiba, enjoying the beautiful beaches alon
The iconic Sugar Loaf is the best spot in Rio for the thrill of the cable-car ride, for the small hikes on top of the Urca mountain, for the views over Rio and for the sunsets. Lucky us, we got it all!
Rio de Janeiro is most famous for its picture-perfect beaches, mostly Copacabana and Ipanema.
We attended the Parade of the Champions, featuring the best samba schools in Rio, who had the whole night to show off. We took the subway to the stadium, with — it seemed — half of Rio. A lot of performers were already wearing their customs in the subway, and I got a hug from two ¨golden guys¨ who put glitters all over me.
The bus station was okay, but as we took the hostel street, we stepped in the water, knee-deep. We managed to get back to the hostel (barefeet) where we learned Paraty floods quite often.
Now, as I said before, I do not speak Portuguese. Cachoeira sounded like cascada in Spanish, so I was pretty sure we were going to see waterfalls. I didn’t give much thought to the Tobogã part of the story.
We could not resist trying that out (and take pictures!). We basically fell into the sticky gooey mud pit, and covered ourselves with a thick layer. Yes, it does stink a bit but the mud is quite clean.
Every night, the Carnival started around 10:00, to finish around sunrise. Blocos all over the place were leading people in the old town and there were always some drummers getting ready somewhere.
A bloco had gathered on Roberto Silveira, the main avenue. A trio-eléctrico (huge truck with speakers, a sound system and singers on top of it) was blasting cheery brazilian music and the drummers behind were setting up a rope-off area. The truck started moving, the drummers started playing and we all followed in the street of Paraty, dancing all night long to the sound of the samba of the Carnival.
The owner of the internet café was Brazilian. He asked us where we would spend the Carnival, and at the time, we were not sure. He told us to check out Paraty, a small city four hours from Rio de Janeiro. We did not know anything about it. Yet, we went… and we were not disappointed.
Resting on lovely Uruguyan beaches before the big Portuguese-speaking country!
Montevideo was much quieter and much smaller than Buenos Aires, but a great place to relax. The city center, where we stayed, had a lot of colonial buildings, some falling apart, some wonderfully restored. The seaside was equally nice: we walked along the shore, looking at people fishing and kids playing in the water.
Not yet tired of Buenos Aires, its huge steaks and great nigtlife, we nonetheless decided to travel further, to Uruguay, a country we had never been to. Montevideo was supposed to be a great capital, small and safe enough to be traveled easily, yet very nice to visit.
We arrived late the first night and we figured we would have to starve until the next day, because nothing would be open. Yeah, right… We found an hostel in the microcentro, right by Avenida 9 De Julio (the widest street in the world!) and we barely had to walk ten meters before seeing bars, food, bookstores, cafés… What a sight!
Working class “La Boca” is a barrio of Buenos Aires, famous for its colorful houses and home of the Boca Junior soccer team. Italian immigrants settled there, at the mouth (“boca”) of the Riachuelo river, giving the place a strong European feel.
As the sun hit the face of the glacier, around noon, we witnessed several huge chunk of ice collapsing in the Canales de los Témpanos (Iceberg Channel). Enormous blocks suddenly crashed into the water, causing a huge wave, temporally clearing the water of other icebergs for a few minutes.
The boulders were not stable. We stepped on rocks that would move downhill, avalanche like. Other rocks appeared huge but offered little help, because they were unsteady. I was quite scared to be honest. We were high in the mountain with no help whatsoever, no trail, we were tired and worse of all — we would have to make our way down, which I was afraid we might not be able to.
Traveling to the Southernmost city in the world is pretty exciting. Sure, it´s a silly symbol, but it´s fun to sit by the seaside and imagine Antarctica is right there, barely 1,000 kilometers away. To know that Canada is 13,000 North. To reach the end of the road, literally.
We were not prepared for how bizarre and expensive was Ushuaia though.
Patagonia? Neh. Not Far enough. We decided to reach Ushuaia, the Southernmost city in the world, located in Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina.
Going to the fin del mundo is an adventure in itself.
We left from Punta Arenas at 6:30 am. Another short night… Literally, considering it was only really dark at midnight and that it was already very bright when we got up.
For us, Patagonia started from above, in the plane. It was almost empty and we had secured a window seat. Huge mountains, rivers of ice, snow, clear blue lakes… The wind was very strong and the ride was rough. We flew above the Pacific Ocean as the pilot was trying to land and we dropped dangerously low. I kept my eyes open, half amazed and half scared. We made it.
We took the bus from the airport, still half sleepy. I felt like I was in Europe: cobblestone alleys, streets names like “Paris” and “London”, newspapers and cigarettes kiosks, parks, fountains, kids playing around… An overall relaxed atmosphere, which made the city very welcoming.
After La Paz and the Bolivian highlands, Arica, our first stop in Chile, was quite a shock. Imagine a city, actually more like an oasis, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the desert. Imagine, 30C all year round. Imagine quiet streets, cars that actually stop at red lights and a supermarket. We were in shock, after Bolivia.