Day 242 – Iguacu Falls and Itaipu Dam, Brazil

Day 242 – Iguacu Falls and Itaipu Dam, Brazil      04/20/11      Mileage: 191

Nice breakfast, packed the bike, blah, blah… I’ll skip right to the good stuff. The Parque Nacional Do Iguacu Falls was one of the first pins I put in my map of must see places when I began planning this trip, and I was going to pick that one off today.  The park is a little touristy, but they did a nice job with it and it doesn’t seem cheesy at all. You can’t ride or take your car into the park……the only way to get to the falls is to take the shuttle buses.

There are over 275 individual waterfalls spanning several kilometers along a horseshoe shaped gorge and rang in size from a small stream to the size of Niagara Falls! It is simply impossible to wrap your head or camera lens around the scale of the scene. Here are the pics…

The trail along the gorge to view the falls is over a kilometer long and it’s impossible to get all of the falls in one picture…can’t be done!

Views up and down the gorge….

These cute little guys were roaming around everywhere…

Lost in translation….

The falls also divide Brazil and Argentina….and you can see the flag of Argentina at above the observation platform across the gorge.

So with that checked off my life list, I had just enough time to also tour the enormous Itaipu Dam which is about 15 miles away. The dam was a joint project with neighboring Paraguay on the Parana. River which divides the two countries and is the largest operating hydroelectric plant on earth. Even though Brazil is 20 times the size of Paraguay in every way, they share everything 50/50 right down the middle…from the power it generates to the workforce which is half Brazilian and half Paraguayan…1500 workers each. The size of the dam is almost as hard to imagine as Iguacu Falls. It’s almost 8 kilometers long (5 miles) and provides 90% of the power used in all of Uruguay and 19% in Brazil.

This is the giant spillway…..and of course the pictures just do not do it justice… is enormous!

The size just doesn’t come across in the pictures, but it’s as tall as a 68 story building…and 5 miles long end to end!

Those big pipes are 10 meters (33 feet) across, and just 2 of them (there are 20 all together!) can carry the entire flow of Iguacu Falls!

A view of the giant spillway from above…

After finishing the tour I made my way back to Santa Tereza Do Oeste to the same hotel I stayed at last night. Tomorrow will be all business laying down miles to get to Sao Paulo by Friday afternoon where I have a hot Brazilian chick waiting for me. My friend Sabine is flying down from the US to spend time with me and her family over Easter…it will be great to see a familiar face! It’s too bad her husband and also one of my best friends, Johnny O (a wild man on his KTM 625 SXC) couldn’t make it down.