Monday, 2 November 2009

Revisiting Iguazu Falls - I

I have been many times to the Iguazu Falls. Last time I visited, I had the most amazing experience, being lucky enough to be in the deserted main platform of the Brazilian Falls at sunrise. It was a very emotional experience and I thought I could never get excited about the Falls again after that.

I returned last week and was taken aback once more by the incredible sight (and sound!) of the Cataratas. October brought an exceptional amount of rain to the whole south of Brazil and, as a result, the volume of the Falls was over 5 times their normal level. It might not have been the most beautiful time to see it (as the heavy rain gives the river an ugly chocolate colour), but it was certainly the most dramatic of all my visits. While inspecting the renovated Hotel das Cataratas, you could hear the windows of the Itaipu restaurant shaking with the force of the water nearby.

Inspecting new hotels was one of the purposes of the visit and the new Hotel das Cataratas (now under the Orient Express group management) has really benefited from its 60 million Reais renovation work. Rooms are lighter in décor and all well equipped- and the windows have all been changed, so they do not shake anymore! The new pool area and the grill restaurant offer a more relaxed option to the formal colonial style of the main building. From December 2009 all the work should be finished and Hotel das Cataratas becomes again, in our opinion, the best choice of accommodation in the Falls. Expensive, but worthy for its location, and, now, also for its facilities.

Outside the National Parks you can find more economical options, but there is nothing worth writing home about, at least in the Brazilian side. In Argentina, however, they are investing heavily in stylish "Jungle Hotels".

The brand new Loi Suites, located only 15 min away from the Argentinean National in the middle of the Selva de Misiones is a great choice for those that have time for spending an extra night in the region. Unlike the infamous Sheraton building, this hotel blends in perfectly with the landscape. The 800 sq metres pool, with huge tropical trees in the middle and built in different levels to follow the terrain and allow the pool water to be filtered (when flowing from one level to the other) and reused, it is one of the great features of the hotel. Another one is the very Zen Namasthé Spa- such a relaxing place that you would wish to stay that extra night only to enjoy the facilities.

Brazil Ecojourneys tips:
  • Plan to spend at least two nights in the region to have time to visit both the Brazilian and Argentinean sides as they provide very different angles and experiences.
  • Puerto Iguazu, the town in the Argentinean side is a tenth of the size of Foz do Iguaçu, but offers some very good choices of restaurants. Try Aqva- their specialty is fresh-water fish (specially the famous Surubi), but being Argentina you will not go wrong on the beef or the Patagonian Lamb. It is worthy the trip wherever you are staying!
  • For our Essential Iguazu package check our site-