Foz do Iguacu, Brazil


What a way to arrive in Foz du Iguacu - oops, let me rephrase that - what a way to see Foz du Iguacu even before we actually arrived! Our TAM flight 3559 from Sao Paulo was scheduled to land at 4:30 p.m. in Foz but the young Brazilian pilot - he must have been a Brazilian tourism official in previous life - gave us passengers a grand overview of the Iguassu Falls by actually overflying around the area. And he did it fairly for all, allowing the plane to bank left and right to enable those in the left and right side of the plane to see this amazing natural attraction in Brazil. We touched down finally at 4:45 p.m. but surely, no one among the passengers mind the delay if only for that visual treat from above. I must say I love TAM pilots now, never mind that horrendous accident they´ve had at the other airport in Sao Paulo earlier this year.

Flying TAM is actually a pleasant experience. The flight is only an hour and thirty minutes yet the friendly flight attendants romped around the cabin with their trolley handing out hot ham and cheese sandwiches and a selection of drinks! Never in America have I experienced edible freebies this good on domestic flights. In fact, American carriers coast to coast now sell food like they hawk it on a ball park. Shame on them!

To see the Iguassu Falls is my main reson for coming down to this part of Brazil. I´ll be joining a GAP Adventures trip this Monday in Buenos Aires so I thought it would be great to start out on my own in what is considered one of the most unforgettable sights to see in South America. And to see that in the window of a plane only made me excited all the more. A splendid sneak preview indeed.


"You´re lucky", Mercio, the driver who picked me up from the airport tells me when I told him about what I just saw. "Pilots normally don´t do that but I guess because the weather today is very good, he did it". Mercio works for Loumar Tourism, a young-looking 31-year-old who oftentimes act as private guide around the Iguassu Falls area. He brought me to the Hotel Villa Canoas where they maintain an office and where I´ll be staying for the next 3 days. It´s so cheap at $16 a night - though it doesn't beat my $10 room in Puno, Peru last year.

I got to meet Riane, the Loumar Tourism agent whom I´ve been corresponding via email regarding this trip and we immediately went down into the business of arranging what I have to see in the next 2 days. Mario was hoping I would get his services but I truly want to do the "discovery" of the falls by myself as much as I can. All I needed were just some advance tickets to avoid the potentially long lines at the park - it´s a Saturday tomorrow when I visit and that´s when most locals also rub elbows with other tourists.

At the hotel, I had to ask for a local map as I have ditched my bulky Lonely Planet Guide To South America before leaving New York. I´m basically relying on what I´ve read so many times in the book plus this map that I´m now holding. Of course, the hotel clerk helped as well - to guide me where the nearest internet cafe is. So here I am.

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