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20 Day South America Whirlwind tour


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My parents decided to complete something on their bucket list - visit South America, which incidentally is very far from Singapore. So they booked a 20 Day South American tour from a Singapore travel agency and off they went. They had a blast, though the itinerary was very hectic, they still saw many sights within a very short period of time. Thank God they are safe and didn't fall ill from all that hectic travelling. Then, my Dad passed me his pictures/videos from his trip, all 60+GB of it, and now I'm going through the pics/vids and seeing what videos I can make out of them. Very cool.


Their entry and exit point into South America was San Paulo, Brazil. The flight there was with Singapore Airlines. (Singapore - Barcelona - San Paulo) and return. During the tour, they had 6-7 internal flights, as well as a short flight to see the Nasca Lines as well as a helicopter ride to see Iguazu Falls from the air.


Let me start with the helicopter ride to the Iguazu Falls, which I found to be fascinating. I have not sat a helicopter before. This is what the helicopter looks like - 7 seater plus pilot. It was an optional tour for them but more than half their tour group chose to take it. The cost was 200USD per person for a 10 minute flight.



The view of the Falls from the air would be pretty awesome.



The helicopter doing a turn.



Quite stunning, even from a still photo.



My dear mother commented that it looked like a big bathtub.



Another shot.



The ride was really very short. Oh well, they enjoyed it while it lasted and my Dad was pretty pleased he got some decent video footage which I have put together here. Includes taking off and helicopter landing. Pretty cool stuff, at least to me, because I've never been on a helicopter in my life.




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Since we are on the topic of Iguazu, I had a look to see what type of pics/videos my Dad took for the flight to get to Iguazu. He told me that they took LAN Airlines and the flight was almost 2 hours. ( I googled, 1hr 45 min). They flew from Buenos Aires to Iguazu airport. I found some video footage and pictures, so here goes.


This is the video. Take off from Buenos Aires, Landing at Iguazu and some stills contained in the video.



This picture must have been taken from the aircraft window as they were taxi-ing.



They were booked in Economy but before take-off, the cabin crew told some of them to move up to Business class because "the plane was not balanced'. Who would say no? Nice pose.



I asked Dad what food he got to eat in Business class. Well, they were not served with the Business class food. The crew brought the economy class snacks for them. Oh well, can't complain too much. They didn't pay for Business class anyway. Other passengers. Looked like a 2-2- configuration in business class.



Looked like it was raining slightly when they landed. The terminal had just 2 aerobridges. It is not a big airport.


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Re:the Belmond. HotelCataratas


Thank you for the information! Is it worth staying there?



You are inside the Brazilian park with access before/after regular visiting hours

It's a high end property.



It's isolated(away from the town), requiring taxi to leave after/before regular bus

You're dependent on the hotel food service, or a taxi into town restaurants.

No nightlife without taking taxi into town.



There is a large selection of properties in town and resort-like ones along the road to the park at most price points from budget to higher end.

Check the sunset/sunrise times of your visit to see how much advantage you might take of being in the park early/late.

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I think most cruisers access the falls from the Argentinian side by flying in from Buenos Aires. That's where many cruises start and end.


There is a Sheraton inside the Argentinian park of the falls. We stayed in town and took the bus to the park in Argentina and a taxi from the hotel to the Brazilian side.


Your father took the easy way by booking with a group. :)

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Now let's take a look at the Iguazu Falls from the Argentinian side. After my parents landed at Iguazu airport, it was time to head to the Falls. This is the video which shows the first part where they reach the entrance to the Falls (Argentinian side), sit a tram, then take what looked to be a relatively long walk along bridges right up to the awesome Devil's Throat.



Here are some still photos. This was the entrance.



Time to put on your protective gear. Probably going to get a bit wet.



They had to take some small tram towards the Falls. They were headed to the Devil's Throat.



Off the tram goes....



Off the tram and now walking towards Devil's Throat. Of course, there were tourists walking back too.



Approaching the Devil's Throat. Looks like plenty of water today. Very cloudy too.


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And here is the video footage when they finally got to the point where they could see the Devil's Throat up close and personal. Looks to me like there was plenty of water. The water plumes coming out made everything so misty that ironically you couldn't see the entire waterfall!



Here are some stills. See the water plumes



Whoa. Not a day to go swimming.



Be careful, don't drop anything in.



A map of the park.


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Great photos! Looking forward to the next installment.


Thanks for your note! After the Devil's throat (Argentinian side), my parents would cross the border to the Brazil side and view the Falls from there. I am still figuring out their photos and videos. Stay tuned!

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After viewing the Argentinian side of the park, they would make their way to the Brazil side and view the Falls from the Brazil side the next day. Not sure whether they stayed in a hotel that evening in the Argentinian side or Brazil side, however, they took a coach across. So let me continue the review again from the Brazil side. This was the next morning, after they saw the Devil's Throat.


Here it is - Parque Nacional Do Iguacu, website http://www.cataratasdoiguacu.com.br/



Now this ticket is one for the memories. Check out the date. And also - Cingapura!



The group had to take some type of open-air jeep ride and there was a guide talking about the flora and fauna, before they reached the area to view the falls. This is the video. The scenes of the waterfalls are awesome. Much better from the Brazil side compared to the Argentinian side!



Here are some more still pictures.



Wow, just wow.



You can get really close.



After viewing all these pictures, I figured that I need to go to check it out for myself! Bucket list!


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My parents and their tour group went for a boat ride too, and they told me that they got absolutely soaked in this one. Getting into the boat. If you look at the top right of this picture, there seems to be some tram or something. I asked my Father and he had no clue what that was. In fact, he hadn't noticed it at all until I pointed it out to him in this picture. If anybody has any clue, do let me know!



Here is a video of the boat ride.



Some more stills. Boat, all ready to go.



Picture of another boat. That's how they look like.



Approaching the Falls. Must be very awesome!



Please don't drop your phone Madam!



The Falls from a distance.


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Did they take the boat ride from the Brazilian side? If your father took an elevator down from the top of the cliff, this would be the old train, probably not used any more. I only saw what looked like an elevator tower. We were on the Argentinian side where you have to walk down if I remember correctly. We did not do the boat ride, but totally soaked people came up the path.


When I was there, I wondered how they ever built these metal walkways across the water and out over ledges. Somebody showed the photos of his visit and there was barely any water!


A youtube video with much less water, but still more than on his photos.

Edited by Floridiana
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Alright, I am not covering my parents' trip in order. Based on the footage given tto me, Rio de Janeiro was towards the end of their trip. So let's start. This is the visit to the most famous Christ the Redeemer (Christo Redentor) statue.


I believe this image was taken from their tour coach.



My Dad did mention all the grafitti that he saw.



Looked like they were crossing the road.



On the way to the tram station.



Quite a crowd.



Where to get our tickets?



And here is a video of the tram ride up.


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From the video, it looks like the Platforma show, some theatrical designers idea of what an uninformed foreign tourist imagines as "traditional" Carnaval/Afro-Brazilian/indigenous culture (and what is seen as 'loose attitudes' towards sexuality/bodies), which is usually put together with a very overpriced meal in a kind of supper club, and totally directed toward foreign tourists, the majority of the type who travel on organized/escorted tours who don't want to get out of their very limited comfort zone or do any research.

(IMO the worst tacky tourist trap waste of time/money, but YMMV.)


"Traditional" IMO is getting out there with the locals to see the actual Carnaval in the Sambodromo and to sing and cheer, go to a feijoada lunch or ensaio/rehearsal in a samba school's neighborhood, listen to music in a Lapa samba club, follow a bloco parade, learn about Afro-Brazilian religion and maybe attend a service, dance at a samba gafiera club, visit a neighborhood capoeira class, go to the Feira Nordestina.........real Carioca life.

Edited by VidaNaPraia
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