Fell for The Falls

Another long just bearable overnight bus to Iguazu Falls that took two hours longer than planned! I eventually got to my Bambu hostel in Iguazu with a phone that wouldn’t turn on and with very little sleep but the staff were so kind and helpful.
I couldn’t check in yet so I just changed and set on my way to get a local bus to the Iguazu Falls. Luckily I met a lovely American on his last day of his travels on the bus,also going to The Falls.
Only for him O would have had no pictures of my experience of the falls which would have been tragic because when I first caught a glimpse of the falls I was completely amazed!!
Even from afar they are out of this world. I had totally underestimated the size and span of them.
The Brazil side is a self directed trail with the falls being a constant view but be warned there are multiple photo spots where you get drenched from the powerful mist coming from the waterfalls. It only takes a few hours and is very relaxed and easybespecially after lunch which was the time I was there. I will add pics to this post when Jeff, my new American friend, hopefully tags me in some photos.
The following day I took the early day trip from my hostel to The Argentinian side of the falls. This is a lot more expensive and a long,full day out. But absolutely worth it!

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There are multiple trails on this tour and also an option of a boat tour which cuh I didn’t take. The lower and upper trail bring you right on.top of the falls.It’s a lot more up close and personal with the falls compared to the Brasil side. We did the Devil’s Throat trail last. Talk.about leaving beet until last! It was like something from a special effects film.

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My mind couldn’t take it in. Hasn’t be seen to be believed! My pictures don’t do it any justice. This is a bucket list necessity!

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Don’t leave S.P. out

Got the bearable overnight bus to S.P. after a few beers in the hostel to help me sleep ofcourse! 😉 I could feel the huge difference from where I had been immediately landing at the bus station then trekking through a winding metro station and finally a bus to my hostel.
I stayed in Lime Time hostel on Villa Magdelena. I had been told this was a good area to stay and they were definately right. A very cool, trendy area with funky bars and restaurants and quality graffiti on the walls. They were so friendly in the hostel and luckily I was able to check in early and get a snooze before exploring.
I met a group of Irish lads I had met in Paraty and we did a walking tour of S.P. from the lonely planet website. The metro is actually easy enough to navigate (and if I’m saying that it’s definately true!). We saw all the main sightseeing the city including the old Bridge, central bank, viewing tower, crazy Sau Bento and my favourite Mercado Municipal. A maze of tropical fruit stalls where they let you taste all these unknown fruits.(My idea of heaven!)

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We got a martadello sandwich just to be the absolute tourists, which are tens of giant slices of pork beat between two slices of baguette!

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On the way back we got off at the Paulista stop to see Paulista Street which is worth a see. A long Street with an American vibe with lots of bars and cafes and a Starbucks!! 🙂 #easilypleased
That night the staff another hostel brought some of us to an authentic Brazilian club. Not a must do but definately an experience!
What I will say is nomatter what part of Sau Paulo you visit make sure you get to Villa Magdelena to see ‘Batman Alley’  I was mesmerised by the quality of the graffiti and art on the walls of this alley that many don’t even know about. absolute must see.

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Nearly everyone I met told me.not to go to Sau Paulo. I agree in that there isn’t a huge amount to see but I think.it’s definately worth a stop over and it’s good to get a bit of city life after all the quiet and quaint areas I had been beforehand. 

Clarity in Paraty

The next day on the 1.30 boat, followed by a 2 hour bus to Paraty. I stayed in Che Lagarto again after a recommendation. This time much nicer, friendlier staff 🙂 I had a very stumbly (if that’s even a word!) walk through the crazy uneven cobble stones before joining some fellow Irish travellers for a few drinks with more live music, followed by a ‘club’ in a make shift shed with an ipod and pool table.

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I did the Jeep tour to the waterfalls the next morning,again after a recommendation. Unfortunately we didn’t have the best day it was cold and showery so although the tour was good I wasn’t blown away. Even though the 2 stops at caschasa distilleries tried their best to blow the head off me with all the tasters!

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As I was getting the night bus to Sau Paulo that night,I decided to get the local bus to Trindade, a beach town 40mins away. The hap hazard drive through the hilly jungles was
worth the trip alone! Even though it wasnt the best weather wise I still loved the beaches and the overall laid back, chilled, friendly atmosphere.

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Night bus wasn’t until 11.30 so still had loads of time to cook dinner and have a few beers with the staff and listen to the jazz band. Dreading the night bus but it’s only 6 hours so it will be a good tester for my 15 hour bus to Iguazu in a few days :/ #sleepingtabletmaybeneeded
P.S. My whole time in Brazil I have been having my daily dose of Acai. Addicted!! Found the best place in Paraty, so many toppings to choose from. What am I going to do when I leave Brazil?! 😦

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Ilha Grande -where time stands still

Ok I know the title is a bit on the hippyside especially this early in my travels, but honestly you can feel nothing but relaxed after visiting these places.
The journey to Ilha Grande was easy just a 4 hour bus and 1 hour boat. I could see my hostel Che Legarto (for a change!) from the boat as we docked and I knew I was in paradise. The hostel had a huge deck overlooking the beautiful beach and sea view.

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Have to admit staff wern’t as friendly or helpful as in the last hostel. I arrived at 1 so was a bit in limbo with what I could do with the day and I didn’t get much advice :/ I went for a stroll to the centre which is on a sandy trail, no roads or cars just people strolling around in flip flops or barefoot. A tour company advised me together a boat taxi to Lopes Mendez, another beach. So I hopped on a boat taxi $R40 return. It was a handy 20mins walk to an amazing white sandy beach undisturbed. So I read my book until it got a bit chilly and got my boat taxi back.
Met some girls I had been with in Rio and we went for dinner in a place recommended to us for good, cheap food.

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Can’t recommend enough. BYOB and they speak English.The seafood BBQ is to die for!

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There was live samba music playing in the centre both nights I was there with stalls full of desserts, food and all sorts of capringhas. Strawberry was my favourite not that I tried many I swear! 😉
The following morning It was so hotel decided to have a beach day instead of a hike. #1stworldproblems
I swapped between the 2 beaches on Ilha Grande and soaked up the sun.  I finally tried the famous Brazilian fish stew that night. It was unbelievable!

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Rio- City full of surprises

I arrived in quite late on a very expensive taxi transfer into Che Legarto hostel on Ipanema beach. The staff were straight away so welcoming and nice and checked me in to a mixed 8 bed dorm. I had a quick drink at the bar and asked about some tours before getting an early night.
Breakfast is included nice fruit,cereal,bread,cake buffet. Happy out! So I stocked up for the day. Met some Irish girls doing the city tour that day do I decided to join them. It was brilliant! Christ the Redeemer, the Steps, Cathedral and Sugar Loaf by sunset all in one tour. Was amazing and was only 55euro.

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Following day I did the Favela tour organised through the hostel again. It’s just a short 2 hour tour bit so worth it to see that side of Rio and the windy,filthy walk ways so different from the cosmopolitan Rio we saw on the city tour!

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Spent the evening on the Ipanema and Copacobana beaches which are gorgeous and very close to the hostel.
Later I got the public bus (with a bit of a struggle with the bags!) to Lapa. I was recommended to stay in Books hostel. A hippy,laid back style hostel again with very friendly and helpful staff. It was a Thursday night so happy hour started at 7 and the bar was buzzing from then. Met lots of Irish, English, New Zealanders. Again a great buffet breakfast and I went to Copacobana and a long walk around Lapa. Even though Lapa is just a short bus ride from of Ipanema it’s so different. Graffitied walls, more hipster vibe, hilly and cobblestoned streets. I was surprised at how many sides there are to just one city.

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Friday night is big in Lapa and I got to see why! Again hostel was busy from happy hour and then we all hit the huge festival type outdoor party on the streets! Saturday is meant to be even crazier but unfortunately (or fortunately!) I moved on to Ilha Grande early Saturday morning slightly worse for wear! 
P.S The traditional mixed meat Brazilian stew The Feijoada is not for the faint hearted! #meatcoma

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http://chelagartohostel.com
http://golocaltours.com

Day has finally arrived :)

Sitting in Dublin airport waiting to board my first flight to Heathrow, it’s feeling very surreal. Exhausted from emotional goodbyes,few sleepless nights and delayed hangovers but the excitement is finally starting to creep in. I think I’m more nervous about finding my way around Heathrow airport than Brazil!!
Last week was spent buying ‘the last few bit’s. Warning to anyone going travelling be prepared for a big spend just before you go, nomatter how prepared you are there’s always ‘bits’. I woke up the other morning at all hours because I remembered I hadn’t bought padlocks, which I know from Central America, can be like gold dust!
Obviously the hair had to be done,eyebrows etc in the last few days.Very important! 😉 Lots of lunch,dinner and drinks dates with friends and family.

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So it’s been a great but hectic week. I think everyone will be relieved to see me gone so they can go back to normality!
Backpack is an 80L Vango and it is packed to capacity. Was hoping to leave some room but Il get rid of things as I go (il have no choice!) I was sure I would be over weight but British Airways didn’t look twice at me at check-in. Happy Days! 🙂 I have two hand luggage though which is not ideal but again hoping my luggage will deplete a lot in the 1st few weeks. Why do those Lonely Planet books have to be so big?!! Hiking boots are also on to save space and weight and ofcourse the spare outfit in the handluggage which hopefully won’t be needed. Il be sweating at the luggage pick up in Rio!
Next update will hopefully be in a much warmer climate than rainy Ireland and the pics will be a lot more interesting! 🙂

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