It’s a long ride from Misiones, Argentina till the border. Once passed the border everything changes because this ain’t Argentina anymore… this is Brasil. A nation of superlatives if we talk distances. First we cross the plateau of Guarapuava. The altitudes here vary from 1200 to 900 meters. In this area the original vegetation (Tropical Forest and Araucaria Forest) almost no longer exists. In its place are plantations and pastures. Then the bus finds its way through the area of Ponta Gross, where the altitudes vary between 1200 and 300 meters. The relief is undulating and the vegetation is composed of Araucarias and fields. With the Araucaria Forest endlessly escorting us a long way through the plateau of Curitiba we climb again to altitudes between 1300 and 850 meters. A short stop at the state capital Curitiba and the ride continues leaving Paraná behind us and entering in the state of São Paulo. Although we have 861km behind us, we still have to cross the Serra Do Mar and do another another 417km. It’s this long ride that gives us the chance to get used to the idea that we are at the end of our particular Panamerican Highway journey. And how to end this travel better than a couple of relax days at our local friends Marcela and Antonio. After a 20 hours bus ride we arrive late in São Paulo so we stay the night there in a lovely high floor apartment with stunning night views of this colossal metropolis.
In a 12 million megalopolis as São Paulo pick your fights and only choose some of the things to do/see or do as us and just walk. Just walk this way and then that street and go right at this corner, cross Paulista Avenue at any pedestrian crossing and turn to the left at any other casual side street… loose and find yourself over and over again.
We simply love it. No stress with street maps or opening times of buildings. Suddenly we are walking in a street full of graffiti’s, stand before a church that once stood tall above all but now is overgrown by crystal skyscrapers or find ourselves gaping at the impresive São Paulo Metropolitan Cathedral. Or how about unexpectedly entering an underground bookstore astutely called: “Passagem Literaria Da Consolação”?
Nonetheless there are some things that a traveler must have done in São Paulo. Street markets are all over the city and offer an endless variety of products. Drink, at any time of the day, a Caipirinha in one of the overpopulated bars and feel the vibe of Brasil.
We try all tropical fruits we are able to as we might not find them again in other countries. Each corner offers something to try of São Paulo’s notorious street food, bites such as Coxinha, Pastel, Kibe, Mandioca Frita,… are cheap and keep us energized. It’s our perfect way to try a bit of everything! It’s our way to feel the essence of this vast city.
Just a short update on how this travelbog is growing are going…
With almost 25.000 hits the statistics recognized 133 different territories. The dense populated big modern countries are easy to get on the world map. But tiny islands lost in the middle of a vast ocean with maybe a population of a couple of hundred persons are harder to reach as well as some devastated countries in war It’s very satisfying to see that also they find the way to our blog.
The top 10: Italy, Belgium, Spain, United States, Argentina, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Colombia
Some others that caught my attention: Zimbabwe, Syria, Nigeria, Mozambique, Brunei, Palestinian Territories, Guam, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Benin, Mayotte, Tanzania, French Polynesia, Ghana, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Bhutan.
Thank you all, the Hermes’Journey goes on…
Categories: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, U.S.A.
Tags: Adventure, Blogger, TOURISM, TRAVEL
All good things come to an end and so does our journey through Argentina. The province of Misiones, with its green vegetation and red soil and its politics according to the new times, carries out permanent actions for the conservation of the biodiversity, protecting important territory of cataracts and jungle. They consider these environments essential for the health of the planet and we consider these environments essential for the health of all adventurous backpackers. In this sense, Misiones stands out as a pole of singular attraction for the avid tourism of pure nature, of that particular explosion of life that manifests itself in the diversity of vegetal and animal species, proposing and facilitating the close contact with the wonders that populate the missionary land. So near to Atistóbulo del Valle, the ‘Parque Provencial Salto Encantado’ gives us the perfect last chance to get in touch with exotic nature. We propose to cross several trails with different levels of difficulty, drawn in the middle of the abundant natural vegetation.
The wild trails allow access to views and places of great beauty hidden in the dense undergrowth. We connect the slippery wet trails with the two newly opened deck tours that provide access to spectacular cascades views. These deck tours might diminish the ‘off-the-beaten-track-feeling’ but are allowing us, despite the tired legs, to cross the jungle easily and safely. By all means, mud or deck, the circuits invite us to discover the great diversity of plant and animal species that populate the place. In the middle of the missionary jungle, the park is home to some 36 species of mammals and hosts 214 species of birds. Especially the typical lizards, squirrels and colorful butterflies are the most easy to spot.
And then there is the legend…
The legend about the origin of ‘El Salto Encantado’ (The Enchanted Waterfall) relates the tragedy of love inspired in the heart of the aboriginal Guaraní community that populated the Valley of the Cuñá Pirú inhabited by two enemy tribes. The cacique of one of them, Aguará (Fox), had a beautiful daughter called Yate-í (Sweet). The one of the other tribe was called Yurumí (Anteater), whose son Cabure-í (Little Owl), was an excellent hunter and warrior. Fate wanted those two young people to know each other during a hunt and love was born. Their parents did not admit it and their hatred broke out in a great battle. During the fight Yate-í cried when she saw her father die and her tears, when they touched the ground, were becoming small threads of water. Cabure-í watched her lay down, dropped his arms and ran to her to share her pain. At that moment hundreds of arrows of both sides struck the young lovers and Tupá (God of Nature) caused a stream to fall from the fallen tears of both. With thunder and lightning the earth opened, sheltering the dead lovers in the very place the waters of the stream fell, forming the waterfall. In memory of their children, the tribes never returned to fight.
- For waterfall lovers is this stairway to heaven. Heaven being Iguazú as you can understand. Apart from Salto Encantado (64m fall), there is Salto Picaflor, Salto Alegre (13m), cascada Alegre, Salto Armonia, Salto Piedras Blancas (8m), Salto San Bernardo (30m), … and lots more! Very important: visit Iguazú the last of all because after that, all other waterfalls look just crappy!
- Camping is allowed near the rivers but always check the weather forecast!
- Hotel del Salto is in between the center of the village and Salto Encatado and more or less near to all you need.