I couldn’t see any runway or sign of civilization. Below, trees were stretching from the Paraná River as far as the eye could see—or rather, as far as the plane window allowed me to see.
Fortunately, the pilot did spot the runaway, a clean narrow line of red dirt.
Welcome to Puerto Iguazú, Argentina.
Welcome to the jungle.
Once again, it was a short night spent packing and worrying about various potential issues. Was my ticket bought on Trip.com even valid? Aerolíneas Argentinas had a strict 15-kilo limit for checked luggage, was my backpack over it? Hopefully not—I need the entire content of my backpack.
And mostly, how the hell was I going to go from the airport in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, to Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil?
Because that’s the plan. I’m going back to Brazil. I just didn’t know how exactly.
I got up earlier than Buenos Aires. I left the keys on the table and closed the Airbnb door behind me—there was no turning back.
I called an Uber, an urban luxury I probably wouldn’t have in Puerto Iguazú. I mean, there are ride-share services, it’s just not as easily available.
My ride to the airport was 4,000 pesos, about $4. I’m going to miss Argentina prices (but I won’t miss having to change money in the street…).
The lineup was long at the Aerolíneas Argentinas counter but the employee was magnanimous and told me he would make an exception for my 18-kilo backpack—honestly, I think the scale was wrong because it’s never been this heavy.
The entire check-in and boarding process was smooth and the flight was on time. I watched the cappuccino-coloured Río de la Plata disappear and I closed my eyes.
When I opened them an hour later, we were almost there. This is when the jungle began. It couldn’t have been more different than Buenos Aires.
Now the tough part, going from Argentina to Brazil. This is a Três Fronteiras (or tres fronteiras in Spanish), a tri-border area along the junction of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, where the Iguazú and Paraná rivers converge. So I had to go from the airport on the Argentinian side to the Argentinian border to exit the country, then to the Brazilian border to enter the country… then to my Airbnb downtown Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.
I could have stayed on the Argentinian side, but it’s a dirt town with limited Airbnb options. On the Brazilian side, it’s a city and it’s more modern with a better Airbnb value.
I tried calling an Uber—hey, you never know. Obviously, no rides were available. So I started bargaining with a taxi driver.
“I can take you to the Argentinian border for $12,” he offered.
“Then you can take a bus to the Brazilian border. And another bus to the city.”
And I’d get there by midnight, no thanks.
Eventually, he agreed to take me all the way to Brazil for $30, which was a bargain considering he had to wait for me at the immigration.
Or not. Apparently, he knew the folks working on the Argentinian side. I didn’t even have to get out of the car. I was lucky as well when entering Brazil—the only person in front of me was a Dutch traveller I had met a couple of days earlier in Buenos Aires. I offered him a ride to Foz in “my” taxi, and he gratefully accepted since he had to catch a bus to Florianópolis (… that’s a 15-hour-long trip).
And here I am, in the jungle, in Brazil again.
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