Bonito – Life in a Small Town

When people think of Brazil, places like Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon or Sao Paolo may be the first things that come to mind.  And while each of these are impressive in their own right, none of these compare to the little known town of Bonito in the Central-West area of Brazil in Mato Grosso do Sul.

Bonito

Bonito

Bonito is a small town of about 20,000 people – so small in fact that there is really just one main street that you can walk up and down within a matter of 30 – 40 minutes.  It is also home to Brazil’s eco-adventure tourism as many Brazilians and a few foreign tourists come here primarily for river snorkeling or rappelling and scuba diving within the Abismo de Anhumas.  We only had two days here in Bonito, so while it would have been cool to have gone snorkeling in Abismo de Anhumas, it was a bit out of our price range ($250 CDN/person), we opted for river snorkeling along the Rio da Prata instead.

Here then is a summary of our Bonito highlights during those two days:

Pousada Muito Bonito

Located about three blocks from the bus station, Muito Bonito is the best budget hotel in Bonito – if not Brazil – and for good reason!  We stayed here during out two days in Bonito, and definitely see why this was highly recommended by Lonely Planet.

Pousada Muito Bonito

Pousada Muito Bonito

The owners speak several languages, which makes arranging snorkeling trips or getting your laundry done very easy.  The courtyard is both meticulously cared for and one of the most beautiful places in town.  After our overnight bus drive from Iguazu Falls, our group made great use of their hammocks while sipping on some home-made Caipirinhas at about $2 CDN per glass.

Main Dining Area - Muito Bonito

Main Dining Area – Muito Bonito

The rooms were both cozy and comfortable with air conditioning available.  The only part about our room we weren’t certain about was our shower as it was literally just an open concept shower with a pipe leading up the wall and a pull chain that usually gave you either cold or cool water depending on what time of the day you take a shower.  Rooms here go for about $60 Reais ($30 CDN), and you can make reservations here. 

Muito Bonito Courtyard

Muito Bonito Courtyard

Master Grill Restaurante & Churrascio

We arrived in Bonito around late morning on June 20, which gave our group plenty of time to either take a nap, go shopping, walk around town, do laundry or eat before we were to all meet up later in the afternoon to catch the France vs. Switzerland match as one of our group members was from France.

Master Grill Restaurante & Churrascio

Master Grill Restaurante & Churrascio

Kooks and I were kind of hungry, and walked around looking for a place to each lunch.  We ended up choosing Master Grill, an all you can eat self-serve buffet restaurant.  You won’t find this place in the Lonely Planet guide, so all you need to know is that it is on the main strip (Rua Coronel Pilad Rebuá) about 2 blocks past Taboa Bar heading East if I remember correctly.

The Friendly Staff of Master Grill

The Friendly Staff of Master Grill

Restaurants are like a dime-a-dozen to me when I travel, but what really impressed me about Master Grill were its friendly staff, buffet style lunch, and the rustic café interior where I could sip on some Skol while watching the England vs. Croatia match.  Lunch itself was about $15 CDN per person, so it is definitely one of the cheapest options available in town.  In fact, it is only open during lunchtime hours operating from Monday – Saturday from 11am – 2pm.

My Buffet Lunch at Master Grill

My Buffet Lunch at Master Grill

Super Mario Bros. Wall Mural

Bonito is small, yet easy enough to get around town on foot, so simply strolling around the main street can be an experience in itself as you never know what quirky things you will see.  Imagine my shock and surprise when I accidentally walked past a small driveway that had a wall mural in tribute to the Super Mario Brothers!  The man-eating plant from the original Super Mario Brothers  game was perfectly detailed, as well as Mario’s sidekick, Yoshi from the Super Mario World series, as was Mario’s arch Nemesis, Bowser.  And if you wanted to know where the bathroom is, Mario had no problem showing you. ;)

Super Mario Brothers Mural

Super Mario Brothers Mural

Unfortunately, I have no idea who painted this mural, how long it has been up here for or who actually owns this particular place.  I think it may have been a private residence, but it is also on Rua Coronel Pilad Rebuá.  So, keep an eye out for it and have your camera ready if you are ever in Bonito!

Super Mario Brothers Mural

Super Mario Brothers Mural

Shopping

For once in my life, I would have to agree and say that shopping is one of the best activities you can do in Bonito.  As we were in Bonito during the middle of World Cup 2014, the town was Cup crazy with festive decorations all around and souvenirs a plenty!  Kooks and I used our time to do some souvenir shopping, and got some pretty cool t-shirts for some relatives back home.  I also managed to snag a cool Brazil t-shirt/soccer jersey for myself for about $30 CDN.

Getting into the World Cup Spirit

Getting into the World Cup Spirit

 

I am sure I could have bargained it down a bit more given we bought all these souvenirs at the same store, but the quality of the material is so good that I know this shirt will last me a lot longer than some other travel shirts I have bought in the past.  I will get my money’s worth out of it for sure.

 Taboa Bar

Our local bar of choice happened to be Taboa Bar, which is located at Rua Coronel Pilad Rebuá 1837.  We first went there to catch the France vs. Switzerland match, which France easily won 5 – 2 to clinch first place in their Group and advance to the Round of 16.

Watching France vs. Switzerland - Taboa Bar

Watching France vs. Switzerland – Taboa Bar

Locals and tourists come here primarily to try Cachaça, which is the most popular distilled spirit in Brazil and the main ingredient for Caipirinhas.  It is a quirky little joint that has an bamboo-styled interior almost completely covered in graffiti by the past patrons who have been within its walls.  You book reservations at Taboa Bar here.

Train Trolley

Honourable mention also goes to the train trolley that we saw a bunch of times both day and night during our two days in Bonito.  It is almost impossible to miss this attraction as the conductor will blow its horn for you to hear it from only a couple of blocks away.

The Bonito Train

The Bonito Train

The primary route is along Rua Coronel Pilad Rebuá and the main town square of Bonito.  At night, the train trolley is decorated in festive lights and is reminiscent of the toy trains you might play with at home around Christmas time.  While Kooks and I never went on this quirky little ride, it is perfect for families as the majority of passengers we saw were local children with their parents.  Definitely worth taking a look if you get the chance!

 River Snorkeling

Without a doubt, the number one highlight and our main reason for coming to Bonito was river snorkeling.  Since I will go into a bit more detail about the trip itself, I won’t go into too much detail here.  But, what you need to know for now is that what makes Bonito one of the most unusual places in the world to go snorkeling is that you are literally swimming in a real-life aquarium where you can get up close and personal with tropical fish in some of the clearest, freshest water in the world that is only a few feet deep.

River Snorkeling at Rio da Prata

River Snorkeling at Rio da Prata

Bonito might be small and may not have much to offer in terms of tourism in the town itself, but it certainly was the hidden gem of our trip!  Aside from the river snorkeling, Bonito does give you a true sense of what Brazil really is like outside of the big cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.  Definitely make it a part of your Brazil experience if you know you are going to be in Mato Grosso do Sul.

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Ciudad del Este – The City of Chaos

Paraguay is like the middle child of a family – present, but not one that receives much attention.  A landlocked nation situated bang in the middle of South America, this little known nation falls well off most travelers’ radars and for obvious reasons.  It lacks any coastline along the Pacific Ocean, has a long history of political instability, is one of the poorest nations on Earth, and lacks any of the cultural or natural attractions that its neighbouring countries have.  Yet, the anonymity of this country makes it all that more appealing to visit.

Following our half day visit to Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side, Kooks and I had several options for the afternoon – visit the nearby bird aviary, tour Itaipu Dam or go shopping in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay’s second largest city.  Without hesitation, Kooks suggested we go to Ciudad del Este renowned for its duty-free shopping.  I thought it was mainly because she enjoys shopping, but instead, she wanted to step foot in another country as travel didn’t become a big part of her life until I met her three years ago.  With that reasoning, I couldn’t argue with her!

Crossing into Paraguay

Crossing into Paraguay

Getting into Paraguay was an adventure in itself.  For starters, we were told to bring our passports with us as we could potentially be stopped at the border along Puente de la Amistad (Friendship Bridge).  Our group of seven was a mixture of American and Canadian citizens – both which require Visas to enter Paraguay.  It is possible for us to receive a Visa upon arrival in Paraguay, but only at the International Airport in Asunción, which is a 5 hour bus ride West of the city.  Fortunately, border patrol along Friendship Bridge is extremely lax, so we had no trouble entering the city.

Much like my experience crossing into Guatemala from Belize five years earlier, entering Paraguay from Brazil was a complete night and day experience!  As we headed towards downtown, the streets surrounding Shopping Americana, Ciudad del Este’s largest shopping mall, were reminiscent of the streets of Mumbai – crowded, noisy, full of vendors and pollution – organized chaos as I would call it.  How our driver was able to squeeze our mini-van into the narrow alleyways with a mere inch or two to spare on either side without hitting anyone or anything is beyond me!

The Streets of Ciuadad del Este

The Streets of Ciudad del Este

Our van parked in a lot just behind one of the main entrances of Shopping Americana.  We had about 2 ½ hours to go shopping or browse through the streets of the city.  I had no intentions of buying anything except a key chain for my Aunt much like I did when I was stuck in Mexico City only a few days earlier.  Kooks wanted to look for makeup and a few other small souvenirs to bring home, as well as some additional clothing for our two-day stay in the Pantanal a few days from now.

As she looked around for a store directory, my eyes were drawn to a Nun who was sitting on a bench nearby casually reading a book.  My first instinct was to take a photo of this Nun in her natural pose, but I hesitated not knowing how strict the security guards nearby would be about me taking photos inside of the mall.  It is usually frowned upon in Canada, so I wanted to show the same respect here in Paraguay.

Toronto Store inside Shopping Americana

Toronto Store inside Shopping Americana

Following this missed photo opportunity, I allowed Kooks to take charge here and decide which stores she would like to visit.  At one point, we ran into the Toronto Convenience Store.  Since I missed my photo-op with the Nun, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice and made sure we got our cheesy photo in front of the store sign.

We found a sports store that sold track pants and other outdoor clothing that Kooks could buy for the Pantanal.  I had a look at the soccer jerseys available for sale.  There was a couple of Team USA jerseys available that I wanted to get for my friend and his American-born wife back home.  At a cost of $70 US per jersey, I found the prices to be more than fair as the same jerseys back home would run me over $200 US each.

I also had my sights on a Team Paraguay jersey for myself, but one of the biggest challenges you will find here in Ciudad del Este are vendors who can take credit card payments.  It was cash only for this store, and between Kook’s clothing for the Pantanal and the two jerseys I bought for my friends back home, our cash reserves quickly dried up and I was done shopping for the day.

Shopping Americana

Shopping Americana

Ciudad del Este is also notorious for its cheap electronics.  For every 3 – 4 stores we walked past in Shopping Americana there was at least one (sometimes two) electronic store right beside them.  All of them had television sets tuned into the ongoing World Cup matches that afternoon.

Please note that if you come to Ciudad del Este to take advantage of the bargains here for electronics, a piece of advice is to make sure you ask to try the camera or cell phone first that you are looking to buy, and DO NOT hand them back to the Retail salesperson as it is a common scam for some vendors to switch boxes with faulty or missing products!

Outside Shopping Americana in Ciudad del Este

Outside Shopping Americana in Ciudad del Este

With about 30 minutes to spare and no more cash to spend, Kooks and I decided to head back to the parking garage and wait with our tour leader and van driver while the others finished shopping.  I took the time to walk around the nearby street to snap a few photos and check out some of the trinkets that these street vendors were trying to hawk.  Such items included hats, bracelets, necklaces, bicycle parts, and even tires!

As our group assembled together following our brief shopping trip, the journey back to Foz do Iguaçu become another crazy adventure in its own right.  Much like we risked entering Paraguay without our Visas, we risked the possibility of paying a fine to the Brazilian Custom agents if they pulled us over and accused us of going over our duty-free limits.

Typically, this not a problem experienced by most tourists as the Customs officials are mainly concerned with Brazilians coming as far away as Curitiba to take advantage of the deals in Ciudad del Este.  We avoided this issue coming back into Brazil, and about the only problem we had been the hour-long traffic jam just trying to cross Friendship Bridge.

Heading Back into Brazil

Heading Back into Brazil

It was a quick, incident-free afternoon in one of the dodgiest cities I have ever been to.  Although I did not get an official stamp in my passport, I was glad to add Paraguay to my list of countries visited.  Kooks and I both agreed that we will come back to Paraguay in the future, and explore more of the interior parts of the country, like the capital of Asunción or the Jesuit Ruins near Encarnación.

Categories: Brazil, Paraguay, South America | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Iguazu Falls – Day 2 in Brazil

It was an early start to the day for us as we headed to Parque Nacional do Iguaçu.  Unlike the day before where you can get up close and personal to the base of Iguazu Falls on the Argentina side, the Brazilian side gives tourists the grand overview of the falls where you can take many panoramic photos from your camera.  An actual visit to the Brazilian side should not take more than 2 hours, but we decided to get a quick bird’s eye view of Iguazu Falls.

Iguazu Falls - First Glimpse

Iguazu Falls – First Glimpse

Located just outside the entrance to Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, Helisul offers 10 minute helicopter rides over this Natural Wonder of the World.  Although Kooks is afraid of heights, it was her decision to take this flight.  We had received some extra spending money from a couple I had met in Peru who wanted us to enjoy our time in Brazil.

Iguazu Falls Rainbow

Iguazu Falls Rainbow

Originally, the plan was to take a sunset helicopter ride over Rio de Janeiro, but given that we only had 2 full days in Rio, including tickets to the France vs. Ecuador match at Maracanã Stadium, we opted to fly over Iguazu Falls instead due to a perceived lack of time.  The cost of a 10 minute flight is roughly around $110 US/person.  We had $250 given to us from my Nova Scotian friends, so this was perfect!

Devil's Throat

Devil’s Throat

Up we went in the helicopter.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and as we approached the falls in a matter of minutes, all we could see were the most amazing rainbows surrounded by the brown rushing waters of Devil’s Throat.  Normally, I avoid such typical tourist traps, but I had zero regrets in this case.  The view from above Iguazu Falls puts a lot into perspective in how amazing our world truly is.

Fuleco Greeting Us at Iguazu Falls

Fuleco Greeting Us at Iguazu Falls

After the helicopter ride, we entered Parque Nacional do Iguaçu.  While not nearly as exciting as the viewpoints we got in Argentina, the Brazilian side of Iguaçu Falls offers keen photographers with plenty of panoramic shots.  In addition to the vantage points, tourists can also walk right into the middle of Devil’s Throat to experience the powerful mist and thundering waters up close and personal.

Group Shot at Iguazu Falls

Group Shot at Iguazu Falls

Overall, about 1 ½ – 2 hours is needed to properly explore and enjoy the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls.  If you have more time to than that to spend at the park, then there are plenty of eco-adventure tours available.

Iguazu Falls Panorama

Iguazu Falls Panorama

Here is some additional information about Parque Nacional do Iguaçu you should know before arriving:

  • Price per ticket is about 50 Reais for Adults (12+) or $25 Canadian
  • Tickets can be purchased either online or at the Visitor’s Center
  • Bring a towel, sunscreen, a change of clothes, camera, and insect repellent
  • Bring a waterproof camera if you decide to take the walkway into Devil’s Throat
  • Plastic raincoats are available for about 1 Reais if you forget to bring a raincoat
  • Helisul, the helicopter ride over Iguazu Falls, is open 7 days/week 9am – 5:30pm
  • Price per helicopter ride is about $110 US (as of June 2014)
Another Rainbow at Iguazu Falls

Another Rainbow at Iguazu Falls

  • The Black Well trail gives tourists a 9km ecological safari of the fauna & flora
  • Macuco Safari allows for speed boat rides to the base of Iguazu Falls
  • The Banana Trail is another safari walk, which gives you the option to kayak
  • White water rafting is available on the Brazilian side along the Iguazu Canyon
  • The rafting trip is available daily from 9am to 4:30pm for Adults (14+)
  • Approximate time for the rafting trip is about 2 hours
Thundering Waters of Iguazu

Thundering Waters of Iguazu

For additional info, you can check out Parque Nacional do Iguaçu’s website here.

Inside Devil's Throat

Inside Devil’s Throat

Following our half day visit, it was time for our group to go on the move again.  Our options for the afternoon were to visit Itaipu Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam, visit the nearby Bird Park where you can see toucans, macaws and parrots up close and personal or do a quick 2 hour shopping trip in Paraguay

Misty Iguazu Falls

Misty Iguazu Falls

Without hesitation, Kooks decided that we should visit the border town of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay’s second largest city, mainly to say she had stepped foot in another country.  And just like that, I was off to visit Country #22!

Categories: Brazil, South America | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weech’s Wanders: One Night in Foz do Iguaçu

What Foz do Iguaçu lacks in charm and tourist appeal; it more than makes up for it in its nightlife.  During our second night in this Brazilian town, I ended up checking out three different bars all which had a different vibe and appeal to them.

As part of my continuing series of Weech’s Wanders, here is a quick summary of my Top 3 bars in Foz do Iguaçu.

Bar #1: Capitão Bar

Capitão Bar is one of the two largest sports bars along the main strip in Foz do Iguaçu.  It wasn’t our first choice to start the evening, but given that Rafain Chopp – the other main bar on the strip – was at full capacity, and the Cameroon vs. Croatia match was going to start soon, we decided to grab a table at Capitão instead.

Capitão Bar

Capitão Bar

Some of the appealing aspects of this bar include:

  • The neon sign at the front entrance
  • The open-air concept (i.e. the outer walls of Capitão Bar are made of glass)
  • 2 large LCD screens to catch all the action of the Cameroon vs. Croatia match
  • Large selection of excellent food on the menu
  • Ability to order Rockets (i.e 2 Liter towers of beer)
  • Premium whiskey & rum bar on the side for ordering straight shots or mix drinks
  • One of the cleanest, most spacious restaurants in town

My only two complaints about Capitão Bar on this particular night was that I could not order chicken heart skewers – a Brazilian delicacy – as they were all out of stock, and the cost of order a Brahma rocket actually costs a few dollars more than if I were to just order a couple of 600 mL bottles instead.  A tower of beer averaged about $18 US whereas a couple of 600 mL bottles of beer averaged around $14 or $15 US.

Keep in mind that while a rocket or tower of beer is advertised to hold 2 Liters of beer, that isn’t necessarily true given that the plastic pole that is placed within the middle of the Rocket to allow for you to have enough air to pour beer into your pint glasses.  This pole takes up space in the tower, so you never really get a full 2 Liters of beer as advertised.

Watching the Cameroon vs. Croatia Match

Watching the Cameroon vs. Croatia Match

Rockets tend to be more cost-effective to order in Toronto than buying beer by the pint or even pitcher.  Hence, the reason my frustration over the cost differential between the 600 mL bottles actually being better than the Rockets.  However, our liquor laws are far more stringent than in Brazil, so you would never be able to order 600 mL bottles of beer.  The other observation I made was that the average meal costs about $20 US, so by no means is Capitão Bar the cheapest place to eat within Foz do Iguaçu.

Out of a score from 1- 10 where “1” being the lowest score and “10” being the highest, I would give Capitão Bar an 8/10.  It is definitely worth checking out for a few drinks, especially if a major sporting event, like World Cup, is going on.  If the price of a Rocket was slightly better, then I would have given it an extra point.

You can find Capitão Bar at Av. Jorge Schimmelpfeng, 252-500 – Centro, PR, 85851-110, Brazil.  If you want to book reservations on their website, then click here.

Brahma Chopp

Brahma Chopp

On a side note, one of the most memorable moments from our time at Capitão Bar was witnessing Cameroon get completely annihilated by Croatia 4-0, which lead to one of the Cameroon players head butting his own teammate in frustration just before the match ended.

Bar #2: Rafain Chopp

Rafain Chopp was the original bar that our group had wanted to watch the Cameroon vs. Croatia match, but like I said earlier, was full.  It is the one of the most popular bars in Foz do Iguaçu – if not the most popular – so be advised that you want to arrive early or book reservations in advance.

At this point of the night, my body was fuelled on copious amounts of Antarctica Sub-Zero and the Brahma Chopp (Rocket) that I split with Chicago Dave in my group.  Needless to say, things start to get blurry for me at this point of the night.

Partying with Maite from Spain & Some Chileans

Partying with Maite from Spain & Some Chileans

Highlights from this bar included:

  • Trying to set up my tour guide with two older women in their 40s or “Cougars”
  • Engaging with World Cup fans from Chile, Spain, and the United States
  • Befriending some of the locals from Brazil
  • Splitting a bucket of beer with the guys in my group

By this time, I was in a “happy-go-lucky” state of mind, so my close observations of food selection and alcohol prices at Rafain Chopp were non-existent.

Partying with the Boston Boys

Partying with the Boston Boys

As for what sticks out of my mind in terms of appeal was the general friendliness of other patrons at the bar – maybe due to it being World Cup time and everyone was in a festive mood – and the general ambiance to the place made it seem a tad bit classier than Capitão Bar.

I particularly enjoyed meeting Maite from Spain, who allowed me to take a photo of her with some Chilean fans even though Chile had eliminated the 2010 World Cup Champions from the tournament earlier that night, and Henrique from Brazil, who I somehow managed to have a meaningful conversation with him about my love for his country and people despite my alcohol-induced state.  For these reasons, I would give my experience at Rafain Chopp a 9/10.

Befriending Henrique from Brazil

Befriending Henrique from Brazil

You can find Rafain Chopp at Av. Jorge Schimmelpfeng, 450 – Centro PR 85851-110, Brazil – which is just a block or two away from Capitão Bar.  Click here to check out their website for more information.

Bar #3: Wood’s Bar

If there is one thing I never expected to see or do in Brazil, then it would certainly have been going to a Country Western bar.  Country music is not my cup of tea, but the state of Paraná is largely agricultural, so we were bound to end up at least one of these bars while we stayed in Foz do Iguaçu.  Our final bar of the night would be Wood’s Bar.

Wood’s Bar is actually a franchise chain of Country Western bars located across Brazil.  It would be like Coyote Ugly in the United States.  When you arrive to Wood’s Bar, you have to pay a cover charge like you would at most night clubs around the world.  For guys, it is roughly around $10 – $15 US depending on what time of the night you arrive.

Wood's Bar Drink Tab

Wood’s Bar Drink Tab

Once paid, you are given a plastic card to keep with you throughout the course of the night.  One of the most interesting practices found in Brazilian nightclubs are the use of club-issued swipe cards.  Rather than allow patrons to use credit cards or cash to pay for their drinks every time they go to the bar, they give you plastic swipe cards instead to keep bar traffic flowing.

After you have had your fair share of fun for the evening, you present your card to the Hostess at the front entrance.  She will run your card through her computer to tally the number of drinks you have ordered.  You can pay her at the end of the night either by cash or credit card.  Just becareful not to lose your plastic card or you can be charged much more than what you ordered in drinks for the night!

As we walked in around 11:30pm, the place was dead.  Mind you, Brazilians tend to party well into the early hours of the morning, so we expected most people would arrive within the hour.  What caught us off guard were all the locals wearing their best Western clothes.

The Early Crowd at Wood's Bar

The Early Crowd at Wood’s Bar

The women tend to wear cut off blue jean shorts, straw hats, cowboy boots, and flannel shirts twisted in the middle over top of a white blouse or under shirt.  The guys tend to wear over-sized cowboy hats, flannel shirts, blue jeans, and either dress shoes or cowboy boots.  Bottom line – everyone was there dressed to impressed, and I felt under dressed in my white golf shirt and short with sports sandals.  In fact, I was lucky to even be allowed inside given my attire.

As the night carried on, the local women start to look more impressive by the minute.  A couple of Bachelorette parties even showed up, and decided to hang out at the VIP area upstairs.  As guys, we were all required to pay an extra $10 US to hang out in the VIP – a bit of a rip off really given there wasn’t really much difference upstairs as there was downstairs.  That was one negative about Wood’s worth sharing.

Unlike the first two bars, Wood’s Bar has a center stage for touring country bands to play their music.  I don’t know the name of the band who played on this festive June night, but their music was almost a combination of Country Rock, Western and Funk all rolled up into one.  It was definitely an unusual sound compared to the Country Rock bars I have been to in North America.

Enjoying the VIP Floor ... I Think?

Enjoying the VIP Floor … I Think?

We ordered a bottle of vodka and some Red Bull to keep the party juices flowing well into the early hours of the morning.  By this point, I was quite oblivious to what exactly was going on around me as my party juices had still been flowing since we left Capitão Bar almost 4 or 5 hours earlier.

While I disagree with charging us $10 to enter the VIP floor upstairs, the convenience of using a plastic card to keep tabs on your drink orders throughout make up for the tourist trap that it is.  And while my “clubbing days” have all but ended several years ago, Wood’s Bar is a happy medium between being able to party it up, but still be able to socialize with people of the opposite sex.  For these reasons, I give Wood’s Bar an 8/10 rating.

Wood’s Bar – Foz do Iguaçu is located at Avenida Jorge Schimelpfeng, 450 – Centro.  For more information, or to see potentially see photos taken of your time at the bar, click here on their official website.

 

Wood's Bar - Foz do Iguaçu

Wood’s Bar – Foz do Iguaçu

Regardless of your preference for bars or nightclubs, the one thing you can count on in Foz do Iguaçu is a night life full of fun and friendly people.  It’s just the way small town folks are!

Let me know your thoughts on any of these three bars I have recommended or your general experience with Foz do Iguaçu nightlife in the comment section below if you have had a chance to experience any of it.  I would love to hear what you have to say.

Categories: Brazil, South America, Weech's Wanders | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Triple Frontier – Brazil, Argentina & Paraguay

As we headed back into Brazil from our day at Iguazu Falls, Federico managed to get our driver to pull off on the side of the bridge so we could get a photo of the Triple Frontier – the exact point where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay all meet.  Even though it is technically illegal to do this, we managed to get a couple of minutes here to snap photos and admire one of the rarest border points in the world.

Triple Frontier

Triple Frontier

Here are some facts about the Triple Frontier region that puts things into perspective:

  • One of 150+ triborder points in the World
  • Bordered by the cities of Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil), Puerto Iguazú (Argentina), and Ciudad del Este (Paraguay)
  • The population of the Triple Frontier is over 750,000+
  • Ciudad del Este contains more than half the population of Triple Frontier region
  • Arab and Asian communities make up the largest immigrant population at about 50,000 people
  • Tourism is the primary industry for Foz do Iguaçu and Puerto Iguazú
  • Duty free shopping is the primary draw for Ciudad del Este
  • The Triple Frontier is suspected as a financial haven for terrorist activities by the United States government
  • Tourists can take their photo at the exact spot of the Triple Frontier
  • The Triple Frontier contains Iguazu Falls – one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature
  • The Triple Frontier contains Itaipu Dam – the World’s largest hydroelectric dam

While I would have loved to have found that triborder marker where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay all meet, our group had other intentions instead.  It was getting late, and we had plans to see Iguazu Falls from the Brazilian side in the morning, including the option of taking a helicopter ride over the falls.  So, off we went back to our hotel in Foz do Iguaçu to get ready for dinner and catch the Cameroon vs. Croatia match.  This would eventually lead to one of the craziest nights out during our time in Brazil!

Categories: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, South America | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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