The first night on the road we stopped at this place called Itajuba, it was a lovely little town with a couple of hotels and a few little restaurants. There was live music in the pizzeria we ate at and a nice atmosphere.
After a lovely night there we headed to another little roadside town called Graca, it was just as nice although a little smaller. This time our hotel was part of a local bar, very similar to an Australian pub, complete with bistro and some local regulars.
After nine hours on the road the next day we found somewhere called Rio Brilhante, with a lovely hotel with a set of table and chairs and a fountain. We stopped there for one night and then the next morning after we had checked out Shelly and I were looking at some clothes and Mum and Dad were walking around the hotel area when a lady working at the hotel pulled them over to show them something. They came back to tell us that there was also a pool with a bar area! Even so we had to get moving again and the next place to stop at was Bonito.
Bonito is a popular tourist destination as it is home to the Rio da Prata (River of Silver) and many other clear springs, rivers and lagoons. We decided to stay there a night and take a day trip out to the river. It was truly spectacular, once we had our wetsuits on and had taken a shower we got into this truck which took us to the next stop. We were in a group with 4 Koreans and once we got to the jungle we did a 30 minute trek through it and at the end we entered the river. First we just got used to our masks and then we did a practice run. The small lagoon we circled to check our gear was amazing, complete with crystal clear waters and even an underwater spring bubbling away, producing mushroom clouds of silt and sand!
After we were all set we did our first proper snorkel. It was hard not to touch the bottom and this was proven to be clear with one of the Korean guys just standing up to clear his mask after the first 10 metres. Fortunately this was rare and clearly few other groups were doing the same as the river was mostly pristine. After about three hours we were done and definitely the best part of the snorkelling was towards the end were it was about 4 metres deep and it was so clear. At the bottom of a sandy part there was a really large spring along a fault line of rock – near the banks of the river it was rocky and in the middle it was sandy – really amazing!
In saying that though it was all incredibly clear with amazing fish in it – a lot like the Great Barrier Reef in a river. There were some scary looking fish the size of cricket bats and they had pretty ferocious looking teeth – gold in colour they are called Dourado’s and are apparently one of the worlds best inland sport fish. But I particularly didn’t like the bits where I kept running into trees, swimming along watching the bottom only to find a tree hanging into the river would brush along the back of my legs – yuk!
After an amazing day we were back on the road and had decided to go back to Rio Brilhante, for a night of fun in the pool. After there we were finally in Foz do Igaucu, we found a lovely hostel and decided to stay there for 4 nights (of course we ended up staying 5). The falls were amazing and the power and beauty of them is worth a few days visit which we did, from both the Argentinean side and the Brazilian side.