Pantanal, Iguazu & Buenos Aires
27.01.2008 - 14.02.2008 30 °C
After spending a week in Rio, we headed to Campo Grande from where we would take a 3 day tour to see the Pantanal. The Pantanal is a large flat area of wetlands, fed by rivers and a great place to see animals - mainly birds. After the 18 hr bus ride, we reached Campo Grrande at 9.30am and started on the tour which began pretty much straight away. We were going to the Pantanal at the wrong time as it was the wet season, and its very hard to spot animals with the lands flooded. But we didn´t have a choice due to time constraints.
The first day was spent getting to our lodge, which involved a 5 hr bus ride and an hour by an open air jeep to the lodge.
The next day, we spent a bone crunching, mosquito bitting 2 hours on the jeep to get to the spot from where we would do a 2 hour walk through the jungle. The walk was ok, as we spent most of our time trying not to step on the thousands of red ants, spraying ourselves with mosquito repellent every 5 minutes and looking for birds and animals. We stopped for lunch and then did another shorter walk just slightly furthur away.
On Day 2, we did a boat trip in the morning up a river and then a ride on mules in the afternoon. Didn´t see too many animals.
Day 3 we did Piranha fishing in the morning. I finally managed to catch one after 2 hours of fishing. Then in the afternoon, we left for Campo Grande and got there in the evening. Although the trip was good, it would have been better if we had gone at the end of the wet season where we would have been able to more animals.
After chilling out for a day at Campo Grande, we took the night bus to Foz Iguazu - the Brazilian side of the falls. From the Brazilian side, you get to see the Panoramic views of the falls while you can go right up close to the falls from the Argentinian side. The falls were breathtaking, and as there are more than 200 different falls, you can spend a few hours looking at them. We spent 4 hours on the Brazilian side before taking a bus to the Argentinian side to spend the night there.
The next day we did the Argentinian side - it was a brillian experience. First off, we took a ride iin a speedboat and got right up close to the falls - and got thoroughly soaked in the process!! Then we spent the rest of the day walking around the falls, with some walkways taking you literally over the falls, and the best one being the devils throat. In the evening, I had my first taste of the brilliant Argentinian beef - it was beautiful, all 400 grams of it (I had eaten a fish, Surubi - a local speciality the previous night) Most places serve pastas and Aarti will be alternating between that and Pizzas in Argentina. A change from Pizzas and rice and beans in Brazil. All very healthy!
We took a night bus to Buenos Aires the following day - in Cama suite!! This is equivalent to First Class on a plane with a flat bed, wines, nice food, plenty of snacks served throughout the journey.
We stayed in San Telmo, an old part of town in BA. We stayed there for a week, just going round town, saw a tango show, horse racing at a nearby town, met up with some travellers we had met in Ecuador and enjoyed the great food and wines.
We also went to see an Argentinian carnival - its obviously not on par with the Rio one with only 3 groups taking part - and inferior dancing and choreography as compared to the rehearsals we saw in Rio, but their floats were pretty amazing and we got seats in the front row which made it more fun as the dancers would come over to us to pose for pictures.
We went to a football match at River stadium in Palermo - River Plate vs Gymnasia. We had to take a tour, as tickets were hard to come by - and its abit more risky seating with the fans than other countries so we had some VIP seats. The whole atmosphere was different, and the football was very European style. The only player on the field I could recognize was Ariel Ortega who plays for River. We also took a tour to see the Boca Juniors stadium which is a much more compact stadium and would provide much better atmosphere.
We went to stay at an estancia for one night near BA 2 days ago. It was a really nice place to chill out, ride on horses, swim etc... Unfortunately, they are quite expensive too so we only spent 1 night there. There are better ones where you can see how the gaucho life is but this one was geared towards a quiet stay.
Tonight we are off to Puerto Madryn where we hope to see some whales and penguins.