In 2013 most of my time was spent in Brazil again but I did make a trip to Argentina to see the Iguazu Falls which if you see just one thing on this page that should be it. Viviane and I went on a couple boat trips, saw lots of waterfalls, and of course enjoyed the beach in Florianópolis with all the hot weather that happened this year.
Lagoa da Conceição, Florianópolis boat cruise – February 2
We went on a boat that is for people living in the small community along the lake, there is no other way to get there other than by boat. I had wanted to do this for a long time as its cheap and a great way to see the lake. There is a trail along the edge of the lake which leads to a waterfall but at this time it was really dry so there was not really a waterfall to speak of, but it was a nice day trip anyways.
Parque de Corrego Grande, Florianópolis – June 8
This small park in Corrego Grande has sagui (which I think is a tamarin), they are little monkeys that hang out in the trees here. There are signs saying not to feed them but of course people do anyways.
There was also turtles and alligators in a small pond that is fenced in.
Blumenau – September 15
In Blumenau we went on some trails to see the waterfalls.
Canasvieras to Fortaleza to Baia dos Golfinhos – Florianópolis boat cruise – October 20
For Viviane’s birthday present we went on a cruise that took us to an old fort on an island and to the Bay of Dolphins in Governador Celso Ramos.
We visited the Fortaleza de Santa Cruz de Anhatomirim, a fort with cannons, lookout towers, and old houses which was made in 1739. Apparently the first governor of the state of Santa Catarina lived here in the fort, but it wasn’t a residence for very long and ended up being abandoned for many years before the Federal University of Santa Catarina started restoring it in 1979, until it opened in 1984 for tourism and restoration was mostly completed in 1991.
The Bay of Dolphins was beautiful and we had a nice lunch on a restaurant on the beach. Unfortunately, the place didn’t live up to its name and we didn’t see any dolphins but the trip was worth it anyways, a quick dip in the ocean was just what I needed to cool me down a bit.
Cataracas de Iguacu Waterfalls – Puerto Iguazú, Argentina – November 28,29, 30
Viviane and I went in November to see the Iguazu Falls, probably one of the most beautiful places in the world, which is on the borders between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. On the way there, our bus broke down on the side of the road somewhere near Curitiba, Parana and I was worried about us getting robbed as this happens to some buses heading towards the border. It was hot when we arrived: 32.0 °C (90 °F) with a heat index of 38 °C (100 °F) and humid, like holy humidity Batman humid, must be the giant waterfalls nearby causing that humidity 🙂 .
We got to walk around on the 29th to see one part of the river and a bit of the city (very charming little place in Argentina). I remember the cars drove really slow here, which was a nice change of pace from Brazil’s crazy drivers, a few times we had plenty of time to cross the street but being used to Brazilian drivers I saw a car in the distance and waited, then waited some more for the car to pass and thought “Is this guy’s car moving or what?” then proceeded to calmly cross the street.
On the 30th we went to the park with the waterfalls on the Argentina side. The Argentina side has about 80% of the waterfalls in their territory and the Brazil side about 20%. You can get a lot closer to the waterfalls, even standing right over them, in Argentina. However, Brazil has the best panoramic view of the waterfalls. We only had time to see one side so we saw the Argentina side as there is a bunch of trails and you get a better up close view of the waterfalls.
Here we saw a coati, sort of like a racoon, there is signs everywhere warning not to feed them. They are not shy and come up close looking for food, even where there is a lot of people around.
Unfortunately after this last video my phone’s battery died and I am not able to share a few experiences so I can only describe them. After this we went to see the “Devil’s Thoat”, a part of the waterfalls where there is a platform right above the river and waterfalls, where you can really feel the force of the falls. Here is a pretty nice video shot from a drone that shows the Devil’s Throat
We later went down a trail to a waterfall separate from the larger ones in the videos. The trail was pretty long but well worth it, we saw big monkeys in the trees watching us as we walked by. The monkeys were a bit scary as they were much bigger than the little ones in the parks in Brazil I’ve seen so far and there was signs warning not to feed them or they could get violent when you don’t have more food to offer them. We also saw the biggest ants I’ve ever seen, they walked around alone as if they weren’t scared to do so, most ants keep in groups but these ones were giants. At the end of the trail was a small waterfall with a natural pool underneath where they allowed people to swim, the only place you could go swimming in the park. The water was ice cold but felt great after enduring the hot, humid weather all day. This is a place I’d certainly love to go back to, the aura of the place was magical and gave a real sense of how grand nature can be, the wow factor is off the charts and it would be impossible to describe the feeling of awe you get when you are there.
Blumenau – December 24, 25, 26
In December we went to Bluemenau for Christmas to visit Viviane’s family. This year’s summer was super hot, and December 26 was really HOT – the maximum temperature was 40.9C (105.6 F) and the heat index was 45C (113 F) (Source: http://wp.clicrbs.com.br/blogdopuchalski/2013/12/27/a-onda-de-calor-segue/?topo=67,2,18,,,67 ) so one day we went out to cool off in a waterfall in the forest with Viviane’s brother Sidnei.