Friday, February 18, 2011

Buquebusing to Buenos Aires, Almost stranded, and Iguazua Falls Day 1

So now I find myself in the hostel, at the northeastern border of Argentina in a town called Puerto Iguazu.

How did I get here?  Let me retrace my travels from the past 36 hours or so.

From Montevideo I got a bus to the 3 Cruces bus terminal, and then from there I got a bus to a Uruguayan town called Colonia.  It seemed very nice and clean and with lots of sights to see and shopping, but unfortunately I had a direct connection with a company called Buquebus.  They run ferries back and forth between Buenos Aires and different cities in Uruguay.  I ended up with a first class ticket, and it was a really interesting ride.

1st class was on the 2nd floor of the ship, and it was like a hybrid cruise/flight.  Our seats were all facing forward and looked exactly like airline seats.  1st class passengers got a free glass of champagne and some garlic bread to snack on, so that was a nice perk.  The trip across only lasted an hour.

Once I arrived in Buenos Aires, I just had to figure out how to get to the bus station and then to my hostel from there.  I reconfirmed my bus ticket for the next day and am glad I did, as they had me departing from another city (not Buenos Aires) 2 hours earlier than what I booked.

I was actually a bit disappointed with my first impression of Buenos Aires.  The metro was really run down and dirty, and the streets all seemed the same way.  I was a bit nervous for my safety but my it to the hostel without a problem.

Since it was already dark I didn't want to risk going to an ATM, so I just got a shower and turned in early.  The following day (Thursday) I walked around the San Telmo area for a few hours.  I was actually feeling pretty tired and thought I was starting to get sick, so I hung out at the hostel until I had to go to the bus station for my bus to Iguazu Falls.

So the bus ride was 18 hours.  I am glad to say I survived.  They actually fed us pretty well, and at a stop I managed to get a burger.  The driver never told us how much time we had, and he actually started to take off before I was on board again.  Luckily I knocked on the glass and explained my burger would take a few more minutes, and he was willing to wait.  I sat next to a woman from Buenos Aires, and we chatted from time to time.  They put on a few movies, and I also had a puzzle book and my Ipod to pass the time.
The burger that almost got me stranded in a random town in Argentina

The view along the way from a front seat on the 2nd floor

At 9:30 Friday morning we arrived in Puerto Iguazu, and I dropped my bags at the hostel and got some breakfast.  Around 11 I headed out the see the falls.

It is a huge park, and it is absolutely beautiful.  They put a lot of work into keeping it clean and well-maintained.  It must have been 90 or so plus humidity, but luckily I brought water, sunblock, and insect repellant with me.  I took my time and walked along a nature path that had animals scurrying their way along the path, and I think they were racoons.  Then I took a train that went to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat), and the size and beauty of it was undescribable. 
Near the entrance of the park

Entering the sendero verde, or green path

Lots of these were crossing the path along the way.

Entering the Throat of the Devil

Due to the strong heat I decided to call it an early day and then get there around 8 tomorrow morning to avoid the crowds and the sun.

Tomorrow afternoon I have the 18 hour return bus ride to Buenos Aires, and then 3 days there before I cross to Montevideo to catch my flight back to Santiago.  It's a lot of traveling and I'm enjoying it, but at the same time I will be looking forward to retuning home to Santiago.

And it´s crazy to think that one year ago today I arrived in Chile.

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