We took a fall vacation to Brazil & Argentina. In Brazil, we visited Rio de Janeiro and Iguaçu Falls


Rio de Janeiro is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Since I am not what you would call a beach sitter, I was somewhat skeptical when we decided to visit this lovely city. It turns out that Rio is so much more than just a nice sandy beach. Once the capital of Brazil, the city is exceptionally urban, but set in some of the most stunning coast line imaginable. It has it's problems to be sure: crime, overcrowding and poverty are major issues facing the city. We however, never felt unsafe and most of the people we met were very friendly. One should definitely take all the precautions you would normally take when visiting a large foreign city, but it's not especially difficult. And yes, the water is perfectly safe to drink, but the coffee is some of the best I have ever had .... mmmm coffee.

Images of Rio...Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, Ipanema,

Sugarloaf (Pão de Açúcar in Portuguese) was my favorite spot in Rio. It was a short - ten minute taxi ride from the hotel. You can hike or take a cable car to the top. For the sake of time, we opted for the cable car. The views are extremely dependent on the weather (it rains in Rio). We were fortunate to be in Rio shortly after a solid week of rain and managed to see some amazing views of the city. There are a couple of shops and a little snack shop where I had a caipirinha (the national drink of Brazil). Beautiful scenery and beautiful weather. It was a good day.

Pão de Açúcar

Carnival is what most people think of when they think of Rio. After that, Corcovado would have to be the next. This 2300 ft granite peak is visible from almost every where in Rio. Famous for the 130' tall statue of Cristo Redentor, the views from Corcovado (Portuguese for hunchback) are phenomenal. The statue was designed by a local engineer named Heitor da Silva Costa. It was famous French monument sculptor, Paul Landowski who actually built it. Construction took nine years and was completed in 1931.

Getting there was not as easy as Sugarloaf. A narrow winding road takes you to the base of the peak. Beyond that, no private vehicles are allowed. Even with Brazil's low cab fares, a taxi would have been cost prohibitive. There is a railway, but the lines can apparently take hours during peak season. We took a tour for this attraction and while it took us about two hours to get there and back, it was still well worth it. We had picture perfect weather once again. The only downside is that we only got 45 minutes to enjoy it.

Kara took many of these images. Mine all seemed to have a blue cast. Still haven't mastered the slide film.


Iguaçu Falls, or Cataratas do Iguaçu is truly one of nature's wonders. They are twice as high and nearly three times as wide as Niagara. Only Africa's Victoria Falls really approaches the scale of Iguaçu. The falls sit on the border of three countries, Brazil, Argentine and Paraguay. While the falls can be accessed from Paraguay, only Brazil and Argentina have parks. We flew into Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazilian side and took a taxi ride to our hotel on the Argentina side. This in itself was quite the adventure. Argentina and Brazil have uneasy relations at times and travel between them can be a hassle. Apparently our cab had a small oil leak and they would not let it across the border so our driver (who had our passports in his hands) disappeared to find us another vehicle. It took about an hour before we were finally able to get on our way. It was always quite the ordeal to go back and forth between Brazil and Argentina. You spend about half an hour at the border every time you cross. The taxi drivers know exactly what they are doing and what paperwork you need and still takes forever. They have to take your passports from you and take them into the border crossing, so you are left with out your passport for a time. Don't like that feeling at all.

The Brazil Side

The Brazil and Argentina sides are decidedly different. The Brazil side lets you get up close and personal with the base of the falls and also give you a more panoramic view of the entire falls. Argentina has a more extensive park and trail system with a catwalk that takes you along the top of the falls. You WILL get wet. If you are visiting from Brazil, you already have the Brazilian visa. Do yourself a favor and see both sides to get the complete experience. Check the Argentina section to see info on that side of the falls.


All photos on this page are originals by & copyrighted by Daren Willden, unless otherwise stated.
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