In Brazil’s warm south, one of the seven natural wonders of the world is ready to cheer you up with an almost perpetual rainbow, a close encounter with amazingly colourful birds and fun lazy days in a unique hostel inspired by the classic game of Tetris.
The Devil’s Throat
As soon as you land in the 260,000-people city of Foz do Iguazu, in Paraná state, just by Brazil’s border with Argentina, you will notice how easy and safe it is to come and go around the many attractions in the area, with one-way bus fares costing less than $2. Your first stop should be, of course, the main waterfall, the Devils’ Throat, inside the Iguazu Falls national park, with tickets at less than 15 dollars per person. Have you been to Niagara Falls yet? Well, multiply Niagara’s width by two, add 31 meters to its height and prepare yourself to a jaw-dropping view that, frankly, no picture or video can properly capture. Whilst in the park, choose between the observation points or hit the water in a wet or dry tour. The former gets close to the spectacle and will soak you up from head to toe – swimwear is welcome. The latter keeps you at a safer distance from the mist, while still offering a great perspective of the falls.
The Bird Park
Second in your to-do list is a visit to the Bird Park. The entry fee also costs around 15 dollars. The place is a well-maintained tourist attraction but also a sanctuary for rescued birds, mainly taken from animal traffickers operating along South American borders. There you can walk into the forest and click your heart out while posing for selfies among the most colourful creatures you could ever see.
Toucans, parrots, macaws, scarlet ibises and a plethora of other feathered beauties fly around the visitors or hang out close by people for a chance to be fed. Butterflies with unusual wing patterns also come in high numbers, and you should be prepared to have one or two landing on your shoulders r even on your nose. A playful eco-conscious hostel
There are loads of hostels and hotels in Foz do Iguazu, but none is as impressive as the Tetris Container. The team behind the place stacked up 15 old shipping containers to create an totally unique facility inspired by the classic Tetris game.
The place is the brainchild of Karin and Ricardo Niiside and their friend Ralf Smagha, who quit their jobs to turn their wild dream into reality. They wanted to design and run an affordable, trendy and green hostel. And they did so.
The water used for Its showers and swimming pool are heated by solar power. The whole building has a green roof, and more than 100,000 plastic bottles were buried in its walls for thermo-acoustic insulation. Some of the furniture is made out of recycled materials, while the pool deck is a blend of recycled plastic and wood.
Rainwater is collected in a 15,000-liters tank to be used for toilet flushing as well as quenching the thirst of the garden. Part of the dirty water is treated right there, with the help of a set of plants with roots that act as filters, which help nourish the green grounds surrounding the building, whilst a significant part of the outside has permeable cover ground, for perfect drainage of the rain downpour.
Besides the standard free wi-fi, Tetris pampers their guests with free delicious breakfast and drinks – yes, you read it right. They give out one drink per night, and you can enjoy it while you cool off in their swimming pool (old containers that got new lives) or simply chill out in their patio surrounded by banana trees. Not bad for something at less than $40 pp, eh? The hostel is located in a busy area, so it’s easy to hit bars, clubs and restaurants, or stock up at the nearest grocery store and come back to use their common kitchen. For any other tips, have a chat with the folks behind the reception desk. They know every place that is worth seeing, from the giant Itaipu Dam, just 12 km from there, to local secrets not usually listed in any travel guides.