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A day trip to Iguazu Falls on LATAM

A day trip to Iguazu Falls on LATAM

Old Sep 2, 16, 4:56 pm
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A day trip to Iguazu Falls on LATAM



When I first made known my intention to make a day trip to the Iguazu Waterfalls, including travel to and from Buenos Aires, I was met with reactions ranging from incredulity to astonishment.

I am compiling a mini report here, so if you have a spare day in Buenos Aires, you can decide if you too want to do a whirlwind tour, or if it is better to stay in BA and save your trip for next time.
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Old Sep 2, 16, 4:57 pm
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The plan.

I had one day free before the start of the wine and steak meet up in Buenos Aires.

It was simple: Take the earliest flight of the day from AEP (the downtown, principally domestic airport), be first off the plane and take a taxi to the nearby Iguazu National Park, spend a few hours walking around, admiring the beauty, taking pictures, posing for selfies and other sundry essentials, and then taxi back to the airport shortly before the last flight of the day back to AEP.

In essence: one day in Iguazu, to get a flavour of the place, and no need to get a hotel room nearby nor drag my luggage all the way there and back.

I decided to fly on LATAM Argentina (formerly LAN Argentina) because, as a oneworld member, purchasing the flights with British Airways Avios was in my calculation an excellent deal compared to the revenue price. However, the earliest flight gets in at 11:00 and the latest leaves at 15:50, so it doesn’t leave a lot of time at the park. (I remembered belatedly that I had a stash of unused miles in the Air France Flying Blue scheme that perhaps I could have spent on an Aerolíneas Argentina flight, which were much more convenient time-wise, but it was all booked at that point.)

Several people have suggested that the better view is from the Brazilian side, but unfortunately I think getting over there and back in the time I had was too ambitious. Perhaps another time.

Last edited by Calchas; Mar 28, 18 at 6:09 am
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Old Sep 2, 16, 4:58 pm
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In the morning.
06:30.

Having only arrived in Buenos Aires the day before, I was still working on London time: getting up at 06:30 was easy enough. For a day trip I took only a jumper (that's a sweater if you’re American), a book, sun cream, and insect repellant. MSPEconomist had kindly given me some printed maps and literature the night before, after being horrified to hear that I had done no research nor preparation for my day trip, and I brought those as well. A taxi appeared and 130 ARS and 20 minutes later I arrived at AEP.


Traffic was light that morning; Google maps had estimated between 16 and 40 minutes for the journey.

AEP-IGR
Flight LA 4022 operated by LATAM Airlines Argentina
Equipment: Airbus Industrie A320
Seat: 1A
Class: Y
Departure: 0905 (actual wheels up 0920)
Arrival: 1055 (actual wheels down 1050)

I was at the airport by 08:00, but of course I had forgotten to check in online, and a long snaking queue had already formed at the domestic check in desks. Fortunately my oneworld status got me a dedicated agent straight away. There were also print-your-own machines.


Soon I was in possession of an old fashioned cardboard boarding pass.

There was no priority security and a long queue had formed down the corridor, but as security consisted of an unwatched X-Ray, it moved along swiftly and I was airside by 08:15.


No lounge, but there were plenty of seats.




Boarding was a little delayed, but there was not a hint of gate lice.

When boarding did eventually get started, the back of the plane was boarded before the preferente group, which caused no end of consternation from an American couple with me in the preferente queue. As I had only a small bag, it did not unduly concern me.


The front row on this aircraft had adequate, but not generous leg room. Probably an inch or two less than what BA offers at the front of its shorthaul cabins.

I was hoping that I would have an empty seat beside me, as LATAM has in the past proactively blocked neighbouring seats for me as a oneworld Emerald, but it turned out to be a completely full flight. Still, when three glamorous French young women took their designated seats in row 1 beside me, I concluded that the seating arrangements were, all-in-all, satisfactory.


In flight reading material is provided, but only a select few articles were in English. Vamos was keen to talk about the new JJ route on GRU-JNB.


The in-flight snack consisted of an oversized custard cream, a packet of nuts and an alfajor. Alfajores aside, it was similar fare to what you'd have got on a BA domestic flight, except of course on BA they'd have insisted you needed something alcoholic to accompany the snack. As far as I could see, this was a dry service.

There were some beautiful views over the forest as we approached IGR, but my window had been damaged or not cleaned, and everything came out blurry on camera.

Landing was on time at 10:50.
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Old Sep 2, 16, 5:30 pm
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Unwatched x-ray as security? High standard😂
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Old Sep 2, 16, 5:43 pm
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Taxi to the Park.
10:55.

I was first off the plane and with no bags, of course. The airport here has only two gates, so I was landside very quickly. I took a taxi from the first taxi stand I saw—my driver was called Erik and he was very chatty (in English). He was also surprised to learn of my schedule, although he walked so very slowly I could understand why he found my itinerary incomprehensible. He offered to pick me up at 1430, which seemed very cautious since the only traffic in the area is between the airport and the park, it was a domestic flight, and the airport only has two gates, but as I have a habit of being late, I accepted his recommendation (not necessarily intending to be on time), and made plans to meet him at the park entrance, on the basis that it might be useful to have a driver waiting for me.



He would tell me on the return journey that this was the quiet season; and indeed the park was largely bereft of queueing, and it was easy enough to pass the slower walkers. Neither Erik nor I could not fathom why business booms during the unpleasant hot, 45 °C, humid summer.

The price was fixed at 350 ARS, which seemed to be a rip off for a 20 minute journey.

No queue for tickets and another 300 ARS out of pocket I was in the park by 11:15. Erik had advised me to skip the first train, from the entrance down to the central part, since it would be quicker to walk. He was of the view I would only have time to do one of the three main trails, which turned out to be highly pessimistic.



At this point I will say that the park, the airport and the road connecting the two were maintained to a surprisingly high and impressive standard. It felt very different to Buenos Aires, almost like we were in a foreigner’s enclave. In that respect the high prices may be justified.
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Old Sep 2, 16, 5:43 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Unwatched x-ray as security? High standard😂
I'm slightly exaggerating, but the security for domestic flights could certainly be described as ‘cursory’.
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Old Sep 2, 16, 5:51 pm
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The Lower Trail.
11:30.

I had intended to catch the in-park train out to the Devil’s Throat first, but as the next one was twenty-five minutes away and I’d just missed one, I decided to tackle the lower trail first. The lower trail is just over a kilometre and, as the name suggests, takes you down low to look up at the falls from below.


Dangerous wildlife.


And also trains.


A great proportion of the trails consisted of raised metal walkways which got slippery when wet.


The Falls from a distance.


Not even a big one!


Framed.


Facebook background picture.


Not at all concerning.


More social media spam for my friends. (Seriously all these views are amazing.)


Here you could get very close to the falls. It was great fun.

All-in-all, it was a great little walk with plenty of fantastic views.


On my way back, I took a wrong turn and ended up walking up the hill to the on-site Sheraton. Along the way I encountered the American couple and the French girls, all of whom were astonished to learn that I’d already done one of the trails. It occurred to me after we said our au revoirs that there might have been some advantages to staying at the only hotel in the area besides convenient access to the Falls!


Back at the station, I arrived about five minutes before the train out to the Devil’s Throat.
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Old Sep 3, 16, 3:02 am
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Impressive schedule for a day trip

The bad luck with the blurry aircraft window seems to have been compensated with the views in the other direction?

Looking forward to the next chapter.
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Old Sep 3, 16, 3:39 am
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Following with interest....and I thought 2 nights, staying at Sheraton Iguazu in 2010 was rushed! Most amazing series of waterfalls!!
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Old Sep 3, 16, 8:26 am
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[QUOTE/]


[/QUOTE]

Great picture
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Old Sep 3, 16, 10:57 am
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Great report and photos Calchas. Going here soon finally on my way from Rio to Buenos Aires (little detour) and going to have a quick overnight in the sheraton. Can't wait!
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Old Sep 3, 16, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by Calchas View Post
On my way back, I took a wrong turn and ended up walking up the hill to the on-site Sheraton. Along the way I encountered the American couple and the French girls, all of whom were astonished to learn that I’d already done one of the trails. It occurred to me after we said our au revoirs that there might have been some advantages to staying at the only hotel in the area besides convenient access to the Falls!
I stayed at the Sheraton on my trip to the falls and did find it so convenient to be on the trails in a short walk and before the crowds arrive. Thanks for the report as it brought back lots of memories for me.
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Old Sep 3, 16, 1:30 pm
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Devil’s Throat.
12:10.

In some respects I was a little underwhelmed by this trail, compared to the lower trail I did first. Devil’s Throat consists of a long walk along bridges over the river out to a viewing platform beside the plunging water. The view when you get there is certainly good, but it felt like there is only one thing to see. And of course the platform is crowded by those taking selfies in the best viewing spots.


Calmer water, leading towards another waterfall.


Devil’s throat, obscured by mist.




A superfluity of nuns.





I just missed the return train, which threw a spanner in the works, since they only operate every thirty minutes.
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Old Sep 3, 16, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by onobond View Post
Impressive schedule for a day trip
I am a fast walker! I didn't feel rushed, but I did leave before I did everything there was to do.

Originally Posted by kpc View Post
Following with interest....and I thought 2 nights, staying at Sheraton Iguazu in 2010 was rushed! Most amazing series of waterfalls!!
The falls certainly are amazing.

Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Great picture
Thanks, it is one of my favourites. And only a few made it into this trip report.

Originally Posted by ESFLYER95 View Post
Great report and photos Calchas. Going here soon finally on my way from Rio to Buenos Aires (little detour) and going to have a quick overnight in the sheraton. Can't wait!
Ahh the slow way Enjoy!

Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
I stayed at the Sheraton on my trip to the falls and did find it so convenient to be on the trails in a short walk and before the crowds arrive. Thanks for the report as it brought back lots of memories for me.
Thanks. To be fair it was relatively quiet when I was walking around, perhaps it is down to the season.
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Old Sep 3, 16, 1:53 pm
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A quick lunch.
13:45.

I was at a bit of a loose end by the time I got back. I had intended to do the 1.75 km upper trail. The park however, had got noticeably busier by this time, and I was afraid I would be stuck behind a large group of almost stationary people. I was also beginning to feel in need of some sustenance.

If I had been staying at the Sheraton, I would have gone back there for lunch and done the final trail in the late afternoon. Instead I had a very disappointing chicken nuggets and fries at the food centre.

Back to the airport.
14:30.

The taxi drivers were sat around looking bored, so there had been no need to prebook anything. Erik was there, and he was amazed to hear I’d walked two of the trails and eaten lunch.


I checked the pedometer, the last two days were making up for a lazy weekend.

We were soon back at the airport, and another 350 ARS lighter for it. This was turning out to be more expensive than I’d planned!

We were back at the airport by 14:50, giving me a more than generous buffer until departure. I should have insisted on leaving another twenty minutes later, at least.


Iguazu Airport possesses a curious architecture, it reminds me of a British public sports centre or an office building in an out-of-town commercial district. I took this picture from my plane seat, unfortunately the window was not totally transparent.
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