After a few weeks in the big cities of Sao Paulo and Rio, I took a U-turn towards a setting of an incredible natural beauty: the Iguazú Falls.
The waterfalls are just in the frontier between Brazil and Argentina. Parts of it belong to Brazil and others (most) to Argentina. Thus, to see the whole thing you need to visit both National Parks, managed by two different countries. It is difficult to take sides on which side is better, and actually it is quite a controversial issue. In Argentina, you can wander really close to the falls along several paths. The Brazilian Park offers a great panoramic view of the falls that are actually on the Argentinian side. So you have to visit both to get a full impression of this amazing scenery.
As I was coming from Sao Paulo, I stayed in Foz do Iguacu and visited the Brazilian side first. I shouldn’t make any comments since the photos speak by themselves:
Another interesting visit in Foz do Iguacu (at least for an engineer like me) is the huge dam and hydroelectric power station of Itaipu, in the frontier between Brazil and Paraguay. Its 14,000 MW of installed capacity made it the largest in the world, until the completion of the Three Gorges dam in China. In Itaipu they insist that, measuring by electricity generated (not by capacity) it still ranks as the first in the world.
This massive plant supplies 17% of the energy consumed in Brazil and 80% of Paraguay’s. Both countries hold the rights to 50% of the electricity generated, although Paraguay (a small country) resells a large part of its share to Brazil.
The following day I crossed the frontier, changed currencies and left Brazil after 1,5 months in the country. I stayed in the Argentinian village of Puerto Iguazu. This town, just as its Brazilian neighbour, lives out of the inflow of tourists that come to see the Iguazu Falls.
I spent the next day in the National Park with more and better views of the Falls: