We decided to stay in the town of Foz do Iguazu in order to have more restaurant choices. However, the airport, Iguazu Falls Park, and the Argentina border are all at least a 30 minute (very hot and humid, sometimes super crowded) bus ride away from the town. Travel Tip: pay the extra money to stay at a hotel or resort with its own restaurant closer to the park. It’s worth it in time, headache and hassle and Foz do Iguazu doesn’t have much character.
Brazil side of Iguazu Falls: great for pictures of The Devil’s Throat, smaller than Argentina side, there’s a boat ride to the bottom of the falls for additional price. Be prepared for stairs, humidity and getting wet from mist. We spent 4 hours and felt like we saw it all (minus the boat ride).
There are lots of coati (similar to a racoon) who aren’t shy, as well as tropical birds and reptiles in the jungle as you make your way through this incredibly beautiful part of the world.
The next morning we took a cab directly from our hotel in Brazil across the border into Argentina and to our hostel in Puerto Iguazu. After dropping off our backpacks the cab took us to the park. The whole trip cost $30 US and took about an hour and a half. The timing depends on how long the line is crossing the border. At the end of the day it was an easy bus ride from the park back to the town center of Puerto Iguazu.
Argentina side: if you can, plan for most of a day to see this much more extensive park. There’s a train that stops at the two biggest trails for waterfalls (ticket included with price of admission), optional boat trips to the bottom of the falls and another trip along the river, and more extensive trails. You’ll see the top of The Devil’s Throat as well as many other waterfalls along well marked trails.
We spent six hours at the park without doing any boat rides and just seeing the major sights. While most of the trails are flat, some do have stairs. We got a little wet from mist and there are freshwater showers at a couple spots where you can get drenched if you want. I wore a bathing suit under a sundress and got my hair wet as a natural air conditioner.
We were very glad to have the chance to see both sides of these breathtaking falls. This should be on everyone’s Bucket List!
An hour cab ride from the Bogota airport brought us to Hotel Casona Usaquen, our new home for the next 4 days. We decided to begin with a futbol match in the big stadium. The home team was Santa Fe, so we got in line and bought some red colored fan gear. Travel Tip: get your tickets ahead of time in team stores or some grocery stores throughout the city (ask your hotel front desk). Because we were being spontaneous we ended up in line for over an hour as fans joined their buddies in line ahead of us and the line barely moved.
A highlight for me was visiting the Museo del Oro and learning about the history and symbolism of the pieces in the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world.
The Candelaria neighborhood had beautiful churches, some great examples of street art and lots of university students drinking chicha. A woman of advanced years convinced us to sit at her little cafe under a tree laden with red flowers and buzzing with hummingbirds. She brought out her family recipe chicha and after determining we were married she performed a wedding ritual and blessing on us. Then she poured the fermented corn concoction into cups made from a seed shell. We closed our eyes, held the brew under our tongue for a moment, swished the liquid around our mouth, swallowed and waited for a vision. I had one, but it’s a secret ?.
We took a side trip an hour bus ride away from Bogota to the Salt Cathedral in the quieter city of Zipaquira. It’s a Roman Catholic church built in a salt mine, with huge caverns, shopping, movie theater, and light shows.
The Bogota Botanical Garden was a peaceful escape from the big city on our last day in Colombia. They have a place you can safely leave your bags, so we visited during the afternoon on our way to the airport. We were sad to leave this beautiful and welcoming country but also excited for our next adventure in Brazil!