Senior Travel to Brazil, Part 1

Mar 4th, 2011 | By James E Becker | Category: Senior Travel

I can say that I have been to Brazil once as I crossed the border from Argentina into the country to better view Foz do Iguacu (Iguazu Falls).  What an awesome display.  One of the most popular destinations in Argentina and undoubtedly a candidate for the eighth natural wonder of the world is the Iguazú Falls—or Great Waters in the local guaraní dialect.

A total of 275 individual falls occupy an area more than 1.86 miles wide and 262 feet high, which makes them wider than Victoria, higher than Niagara and more beautiful than either.  Seniors, bring your plastic rain jacket as you will get good and wet beneath the falls just as one would taking the “Maid of the Mist” under Niagara. Iguacu National Park, with the Falls as its main feature, was added to the World Heritage List for two reasons: its exceptional natural beauty and because it´s the habitat of rare and endangered species. The falls are unequally shared between Brazil and Argentina, with Argentina claiming the majority.

 On either side, a national park surrounds the waterfalls and offers extra opportunities for adventure. It was impossible for me to say which side of the border is the more rewarding. The city on the Brazilian side is Foz do Iguaçu – big and reasonably safe by Brazilian standards. The town on the Argentine side is called Puerto Iguazu and is small and pretty.  We were continually surrounded by coati wanting peanuts or any kind of food we had to offer. A real thrill comes from the platform where there is a viewing gallery almost under the most powerful of the falls and you can feel the spray coming from Garganta del Diablo (Devils Throat) and another viewing point that feels like you are almost under the falls. Just imagine the “thrill” of approaching the falls from above and stopping on a rickety platform where the boat must dock…or its over the falls. When Eleanor Roosevelt visited the falls she commented “poor Niagara. I haven’t seen Niagara, but these falls are four times wider.” 

Brazil occupies nearly 50% of the South American continent. Its geography and distinctively different history from the rest of the Latin American world have combined to offer a rich culture full of diversity and contradiction. Brazil is a federation of states with an advanced developing economy. Tourist facilities are excellent in major cities, but vary in quality in remote areas. It encompasses and maintains dominance over one of the greatest natural wonders: the Amazon River and Rainforest. The Amazonian town of Manaus with a current population of 1.6 million people was the first great supplier of rubber to the motor vehicles of the world. For good travel information try this site http://www.v-brazil.com/tourism/ with all the major cities explained. One state, Amazonas alone is bigger than most countries in the world, with its basin of 2,500,000 square miles. WikiTravel is an open source travel guide to Brazil, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more.

There’s so much to say about Brazil that I’m taking two or three days to complete the introduction to this beautiful country.  More tomorrow!   jeb



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