My business trip did continue … I made it from Miami straight into Sao Paulo – after having discussed the European and North American aspects, it was now time for the South American ones. I spent Saturday (18th) on planes … Continue reading →
We had a full travel day from Bonito into the Pantanal. We did arrive at our resort in the afternoon of the 29th; before dinner we had the opportunity to go for a swim, followed by piranha fishing (no joke) … Continue reading →
We arrived late at night (01:30) in Bonito after a long bus ride. Consequently the briefing about our options in Bonito did not start before 11:00 in the morning of the 27th. Various options were on offer, starting with the visit of the cave of the blue lagoon, to rafting (no real rafting, more like going down a river with 3 waterfalls) to snorkeling in the Prata river.
I went for the rafting and snorkeling option. I left my camera in the hotel, as both options involve loads of water… so there are only a few pictures here 🙁
Rafting was scheduled in the afternoon of our first day in Bonito, so I spent the time after the briefing by discovering the town (together with several others who did not mind going to the cave of the blue lagoon). At about 14:00 we (group of 7 or 8) got picked up at the hotel and transferred to the starting point of the boat tour. We started off together with another boat of Brazilian tourists and quickly started a water fight against them (which we – I would say – lost…).
On the way downstream we passed three water falls with up to 2 to 3 meters; we also had the opportunity for a swim in the clear water (although I would not call it swim, it was more a getting wet, as we were not allowed to take of the life jackets). After our return the question was raised what food to go for – finally we ended up with Jacare (alligator) – which was too salty for my taste…
Most of the group spent the second day in Bonito doing the snorkeling in Rio de Prata option. After a transfer to the starting point we got the needed equipment (wet suit and snorkeling gear) and got transferred to the edge of the jungle with a truck. From here we had to walk (about 2-3 km) before we arrived at the place to enter the water. The water was crystal clear, view of up to 15-20 meters, plenty of fish and other things to watch around. We followed the stream of the river to the place where it merged with Rio Formoso (about 1.5 hours, 3 km) – it felt like swimming in an aquarium.
At the merge point we had the option of swimming on for another kilometer or to take a boat to the end point – of course I opted for the swimming option. At the end point the normal procedure would have been to go onto the truck again and get back to farm for lunch and some rest. However the truck did not come (for whatever reason).
We had to be ready and packed somewhere between 09:00 and 10:00 to catch a bus to the town of Pedro Juan Caballero and the border to Brazil. I can only talk about myself – while I was able to have breakfast and also to get my stuff done in time, I still did not feel too well. And the following bus ride did not make it better; we ended up on an old bus without air conditioning, the temperature was way above 35 degrees (yes, Celsius), the bus ride itself took just 8 hours (including a stop at some dodgy restaurant). However the landscape passing by was rather interesting, a pity our visit to Paraguay had been pretty limited to Asuncion…
After our arrival in PJC we had to get our exit stamp for Paraguay – and an entry stamp for Brazil. With the border being open we first had to visit the Paraguaian immigration office – to then transfer to the Brazilian police at the other side of town to get into Brazil – in total we needed more than one hours.
After the border formalities we got a transfer from Ponta Pora to Bonita – another 5 hours in a van (don’t forget the 8 hours on the bus before…), where we arrived around 01:30. In between we had a stop for dinner at around 23:30 – everyone was tired, most of us not open for heavy food (or heavy conversations) – I personally would have preferred a bed at this point in time… At least the food was good (maybe not for David, who got forgotten and ended up with a doggy bag…).
In the afternoon we got closer to Iguazú Falls, with the heliport being the first stop. Those ones, who were eager to spend 60 USD for a 10 minute heli ride got up into the air, me being one of them 🙂 It was my first ride in a helicopter – – and the views were amazing.
After the heli ride we went over to the bird park on the other side of the street – to see those birds in cages, we were about to see in nature in the Pantanal anyhow… – I personally would not go there again.
From the bird park we continued to the Cataratas do Iguaçu National Park, i.e. the Brazilian side of the waterfalls.
We arrived at Foz de Iguazu in the early morning (around 07:00) on an overnight bus. We got transferred to our hotel, where we had one room for the whole group to store the luggage during the day; also breakfast was on offer (for a mere 7 Reals). Some time later we met again for an excursion to the Itaipu hydroelectric Dam.
Itaipu is massive, built on the border between Paraguay and Brazil, producing 90% of the energy consumed in Paraguay and (additionally) 25% of the energy consumed in Brazil. From a power production perspective Itaipu will remain the biggest dam in the world, even after the completion of Three Gorges Dam – however the latter one has also other goals, at Itaipu there are no ship locks…
After arriving back to Curitiba and spent the rest of the day walking around and exploring town – at 20:30 we were back to the hotel to meet with the others to head for the bus terminal to catch an overnight bus to Foz de Iguazu.
We made it into Curitiba in the late evening of the 20th – with today starting off somewhat strangely. Plan was to catch the Serra Verde Express from Curitiba to Morretes; the train was scheduled to leave at 08:15. David and myself got up at around 06:45, went down for breakfast – no one else there, ordered a taxi to the train station – still no one else from the group around. We boarded our taxi around 07:30, still being the only ones. On arrival at the station we got our tickets, boarded the train – and off we went… In the evening, when we got back to the hotel, we heard from the others that they have been told the train would not go, so they stayed in bed and had a day around Curitiba itself.
The train ride itself was amazing (at least for me; however I guess one must be at least a bit a train enthusiast). It started with the rather flat surrounding of Curitiba, then into the jungle and down the mountains from 900 meters above to near sea level – over narrow bridges and through tunnels.
Once we got into Morretes we quickly discovered that there was not too much to do and see in this small town. We walked around town and left Morretes after about one hour by bus and made our way back to Curitiba.
Today was a very late morning – what else to expect after a Saturday night in Sao Paulo ?
Of course we had been out; some of us decided to head for the Liquid Lounge as the place to go. So we ordered a taxi and headed off for Vila Olimpia, Sao Paulo’s party district. It turned out that the taxi was no good choice, the driver did not even know the way to the quarter, had to ask many times – after about an hour we finally arrived at the club.
We now (around 01:15) had to queue in to get into the club, rain was pouring down. After another 20 minutes we made our way to the cash point – just to discover that no one there did speak English to explain us how everything worked… They finally found someone to explain to us that the normal entry was 20 reals (roughly 8 Euros), but that we could get a drink special for an additional 10 reals giving us hourly free drinks specials. So it was from beer (until 2am) to Tequila (from 2am until 3am). We certainly got that special and had our first beers 2 minutes later. When the bar with the special drinks closed, we went down to the dance floor – and left the place around 04:30, got back to the hotel at about 05:00.
I was sharing with David this night – and ultimately managed to be ready for check-out at exactly 12:00 (the latest check-out time) – we now took the metro to Avenida Paulista – which is seen as one of the city’s symbols. We got back to the hotel at 14:30, as we had to catch a bus to Curitiba shortly afterwards.
It was a hell of a busride from Paraty to Sao Paulo; I was still tired from the night before – however only managed to get a bit of sleep during the ride. We arrived in Sao Paulo in the … Continue reading →