Brazil, Part II – February 8 to February 17, 2017
São Paulo >> Curitiba >> Foz do Iguaçu
From Paraty, I went on to Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. The entire metro has somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million people. I spent a couple days here seeing some of the popular churches, buildings and other sites. As much as I did really like the city, there wasn’t much “touristy” to do here, so that’s why I didn’t spend more time. It seemed like a great city to live, with many interesting restaurants and bars. It was quite an expensive city relative to any other city I’ve been to in Brazil—certainly more-so than Rio.
One of my favorite places I visited here was Beco do Batman. This was basically a street with a lot of beautiful graffiti on it, but I loved the art!
From here, I made my way to Curitiba to visit my friend from college, Fred. Fred and I had graduated with the same degree from ERAU and he’s originally from Curitiba. He and his new wife, Vanessa, were kind enough to open their home to myself and a travel friend I had met from Holland (Eline) and show us around their beautiful hometown. Curitiba is much smaller than São Paulo, although it’s still home to about 2 million people. The first thing I noticed about this city was the crazy pine trees they have (see stolen picture from the Internet below). I liked calling them Hanukkah Trees because the shape of the branches reminded me of the Hanukkah candles!
We went to many different parks throughout Curitiba. It’s quite a green city with many trees! It is generally quite cloudy and rainy, but I was fortunate enough to have a couple nice days while I was there (I call it Gringo luck). At one of the parks we even got to see a Capybara from a distance. This is apparently part of the rodent family, but it looked to be the side or a large dog (I’m sure 80-100 pounds!). Fred also did a great job introducing me to the Brazilian craft beer scene as well as some of his awesome friends. For those of you that know me, you certainly know how much I appreciate those experiences!! One of the bars we saw even had a live jazz band, making the ambiance that much better.
Foz do Iguaçu (Iguazu falls)
From Curitiba I took a bus out to Foz. I’m not sure how much there is to write about this, as words will never do this place justice. Foz do Iguaçu is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, and it’s quite obvious why. The falls are about 1.7 miles wide and have somewhere in the neighborhood of 275 unique waterfalls, with the tallest being 269 feet high. About 20% of the falls belong to the Brazilian side and the other 80% belonging to the Argentinian side. I took a day to visit each side.
The Brazilian side, while having far less hiking and only 20% of the falls, certainly had some of the best panoramic views I was able to get.
With that said, I think the Argentinian side is absolutely mandatory, giving you a much more up-close and personal view of the falls. It has far more hiking trails giving you some really close up views, including one right on top of Devil’s Throat, the highest volume portion of the falls (far left of the panoramic). One of the coolest parts of this side was getting a boat ride up to a few of the major falls–they took you so close to them I couldn’t see anything and was absolutely drenched!
Anyway, I’ll let the Argentinian side pictures do the rest of the talking (last one is on top of Devil’s Throat):
With all of that said, if you take the time to visit Foz, especially since they are so difficult to get to, take the time to see both sides. They both offer very different and worthwhile experiences. And definitely put this place on your bucket list.
Visit the Facebook page to see some of the videos I took while visiting!