The 20,000 mile mark
28.02.2008 - 10.03.2008 35 °C
Check out www.haydencarlyonphotography.com for more photos from the trip.
After our strange night in Campo Grande Jamie had had enough and headed back to Port Alegre on an early morning flight. While Alex and I continued on and drove 250 km north to Bonito, a quite little tourist town in the south west of Brazil. We spent a couple of days seeing the sights, snorkeling and checking out the local wildlife. It was the end of the high season and the town was all but deserted so we took advantage of the low hotel prices and took a few days to relax and unwind.
Bonito is a nice town but with the volume of tourists that pass through during the year, the prices are pretty high. $30 -$40 just to go snorkeling down a river is a hefty price to pay no mater where you are in the world. But the nature and the wildlife make up for the over priced attractions and tours.
Two macaus playing in a tree. They are fun to watch, crazy birds..
Hungry fish at a local river in Bonito
Our next stop was the Iguacu Falls National Park and the triple border between Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. A quarter of the falls are on the Brazilian side and the rest spread across the border into Argentina. We decided to take a helicopter ride over the falls before checking out the Brazilian side on foot.
View of the falls from the helicopter.
It was the first time in a Helicopter for both of us and what a great place to do it. The Iguacu falls really are incredible and the view from the helicopter lets you appreciate just how big they are. The falls stretch across an area almost 4km wide and with over 250 waterfalls cascading into a horseshoe shaped hole it is an amazing sight.
Brazilian side of the falls
After hiking around the Iguacu national park for a couple of hours, we ended the day at the Parque das Aves, a wildlife/bird park next to the waterfalls. Like every tourist attraction in Brazil it was a little expensive but well worth it. You can really get up close and personal with the animals and they are not at all shy. It was our only chance to see a toucan up close, and we weren't disappointed, what a beautiful bird.
This guy flew down, sat 2 inches away from us and wouldn't leave.
The next day we went across the border to the Argentinean side where you can stand at the edge of the "Devils Throat", the point where the biggest volume of water passes over the falls; an incredible sight. Although we spent 2 days at the falls I think one is enough and you could easily see both sides in 1 day.
Devils throat, the Argentinean side.
This was a Tuesday, I would hate to see it on the weekend
We decided to check out Paraguay the next day and see if we could sell the car there. Just across the border, Ciudad Del Este is a giant street market with inexpensive electronics, booze and cigarettes. Everything is dirt cheap and it is a buyers market so what better place to sell the car. We spent the day shopping but after checking out the city we decided that it would be safer and easier to try to sell the car online.
It was time to make the final drive to Sao Paulo, 800km and the last leg of the journey. We arrived in Sao Paulo on Friday afternoon and parked the car in Alex’s uncle’s garage downtown. I closed the doors for the last time and said goodbye to a car that had almost become a part of me.
The speedometer at the end of the trip plus the 3000ish miles that we lost in Central America
We had made it and it was time to relax, celebrate and take in the magnitude of the journey we had just completed. The trip had finally come to an end and I must admit it far exceeded both our expectations. I don’t think either of us could have imagined fitting so much into such a small amount of time. We managed to pack 2 years of travel into 5 months. From mountains to beaches, rain forests to volcanoes, salt flats to sand dunes, and everywhere in between. Twenty thousand miles, 15 countries, 50 tanks of gas, more than 100 hotels, thousands of speed bumps and car crippling potholes, dozens of dodgy police officers and 1 Lithuanian hitchhiker, and all in less than 5 months, what an amazing journey. And what an incredible car, 20,000 miles and not even a puncture. The only thing that broke was a $2 radiator cap.
It was sad to leave Brazil and a life on the road that I had become so accustomed to. Every day was a new adventure and with different places, people, food and experiences around every corner, it was impossible to get bored. It is an addictive lifestyle that always leaves you wanting more and I am already starting to feel the effects of the withdrawal.
But as they say all good things must come to an end. Before I go I would like to say thank you to all the wonderful people that we meet along the way, that shared the experience with us and that made the trip what it was, an incredible adventure.