It's what we've all imagined Brazil to be like, courtesy Hollywood and lately, a bunch of reality TV shows. After spending a sizable amount of time in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, I could vouch for all of the above. But underneath the glitz and funk, I was determined to find more soul, more adventure, more of the real Brazil that we don't get to see back home. And with that firm belief in place, a number of road trips ensued.
First among them was Foz Do Iguacu, a little town South of Brazil which shares its borders with both Argentina and Paraguay. I spent the next 10 days in the company of a childhood friend of mine which made the whole experience all the more exciting.
Without much ado, we set out on our journey from Sao Paulo, stopping in Rio for a couple of days, moving to Curitiba for another two days before hopping on to the next available bus to Foz do Iguacu. As much as we both loved speed, we didn't want to rush our journey. Buses in Brazil are extremely comfortable and overnight buses even have a toilet onboard. You might have to ignore the fact that it costs as much as an air ticket.
After about 14 hours, we were at Foz do Iguacu - a quaint little town which thrives mainly on tourism thanks to the popular 'cataratas' (waterfalls). We chose a hostel close to the falls and wasted no time in heading out to them. With an entire day ahead of us, we were excited to explore the national park where they were all located.
From the hostel, we took a bus that took us right up to the gate of the Parque Nacional do Iguacu. We paid the entry fees to the national park and were immediately ushered into yet another open roof double decker bus with bold animated characters painted on it. The 15-minute journey zigzagged through lush vegetation and was accompanied with ambient sounds and an earthy smell, it was a delightful ride. At one point we zipped through a massive array of possibly a thousand butterflies. Where the bus stopped, more wildlife awaited - iguanas, monkeys and lots of grasshoppers. From this point on, we had the falls in sight.