A Dance with the Devil’s Throat

April 14, 2019 Off By resignatedsurvivors

I think we named our blog about New Zealand “The Gift that keeps on Giving” but I can firmly say that Brazil also falls squarely in that category. Since we last posted about Carnival, we have explored further into this vast country (and when I say vast I mean absolutely MASSIVE), and it is colourful, loud, friendly, scary, exciting and everything in between.


So, after being rained on for almost six days straight, we decided to give flying a break and test out Brazil’s infamous bus system to get from Floripa to Iguazu falls. This journey would entail 15 hours or more on a bus overnight and we weren’t really sure what to expect or what the conditions of the roads would be like (having had some pretty horrendous experiences of long-haul bus travel in Asia). Well let me tell you that our first bus experience in Brazil was nothing like that at all – it was actually pure luxury, making us feel like we were in first class on a plane. We paid a tiny little bit extra for some really comfortable seats that reclined fully into beds, given soft blankets and pillows and (very importantly) snacks, and the hours just flew past! We even managed to get quite a bit of sleep, which was a huge bonus given that I am usually terrible at sleeping whilst travelling. A huge thumbs up to the Brazilian bus network (be sure to go with a reputable company, we chose Catarinese which was awesome), and we did in fact use them again they were that good! Plus, being the savvy travellers that we are, taking an overnight bus = saving on paying for a night of accommodation, so hurrah! 

The boardwalk to to the falls on the Argentinian side. Of course, we were caught up again in thunderstorms.

The purpose of this journey was to visit Iguazu falls, from both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides, each of which can be done in a day or less. We made our first stop to the Brazilian side which was beautiful, as you really get to appreciate the magnitude of the waterfalls, (whereas the Argentinian side allows you to get up close and personal with the “Devil’s Throat” which is, well, truly terrifying (see photos for confirmation of that fact)). What also added to the terror was the fact that the heavens opened just as we were walking the trail towards the main event, and there was just water everywhere, everything was soggy and it felt as though the world was going to end as we trod carefully along the slippery boardwalk hoping that the strong winds and rain didn’t knock us over the railings into the thundering waters below. Thankfully we made it safely to tell the tale and it was well worth the journey, just to see one of the most stunning achievements of Mother Nature we’ve encountered on our trip so far. We also made a quick stop at the Marco das Tres Fronteiras, which is essentially a viewing point from Brazil of the point at which three countries (Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay) meet. It was a unique experience but again, we didn’t hang around too long due to the torrential rain! 

Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side. The sheer scale and vastness of the waterfalls is impressive, dwarfing every tourist in its presence.
Close up view of the grand waterfall. The colour of the water is a vivid gold/red due to the sediment collected on its way. This was captured during heavy rain hence the dramatic conditions.
Another angle overlooking the Brazilian side of the falls. The dramatic conditions here are so impressive and overwhelming that it can only truly be appreciated in person.
The infamous "La Garganta del Diablo" (aka The Devil's Throat) on the Argentinian side. Here you can get up close and personal with the waterfall, which coupled with a thunderstorm is one hell of an experience. It was incredibly difficult to get the shot here which is a 22 shot panorama (yes, the Devil's Throat is that big). Battling with a drenched camera, poor visibilty and off course, tourists! It really is a mindblowing place.
Iguazu Falls is home to hundreds of smaller waterfalls which are also stunning.
Marco das Tres Fronteira, where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. The photo is taken from Brazil with the building in the foreground, Argentina on the top left and Paraguay on the top right all connected by the Iguazu River.

After another (even longer) bus journey, we found ourselves in the behemoth of a city that is Sao Paulo. We approached with a bit of trepidation, given the things we’d heard about the city in terms of safety, charm and things to do and the fact that it has a population of 20 million people (twenty, yes you read that right!). Nevertheless we jumped straight in, being city dwellers ourselves we were not phased in the slightest. We explored the city’s historical centre, mingled amongst the locals in the district of Vila Mariana, admired the cool graffiti art along Beco de Batman (graffiti seems to be a “thing” in most big South American cities, where it is fully embraced as an art form), and drank with the other gringos (Spanish term for “foreigner”) in the super cool district of Vila Madalena. All in all it was a few days well spent and we would really recommend seeing this city if you have time. 

The Edificio D'Italia building, the second tallest in Sao Paulo boasting stunning architecture.
Sao Paulo's Central District, bustling with locals.
Sao Paulo Cathedral boasting Gothic Revival architecture.
More of Sao Paulo's stunning architecture which is of course heavily guarded with Police presence.
Edificio Martinelli building in downtown Sao Paulo.
Sao Paulo's Mercado Municipal which is home to the widest variety of fruits we have ever set eyes on.
Downtown Gothic vibes
The most amazing street art in Beco De Batman. The Brazilian love for Batman and of course Pele all wrapped up in this one work of art.
More from Beco De Batman. The incredible reflections from a puddle worked beautifully.

We continued north with a flight up to Bahia state, to the historic city of Salvador. I have to say a huge WOW to this place, it almost felt like we were in a completely different country to the Brazil we had been exploring up until that point. The city was historically the centre of Brazil’s slave trade and there are hints of it everywhere in the buildings and monuments. However, it is now a thriving city full of culture, capoeira, caipirinhas and c-hamazing people who love life, party on the streets all weekend and generally make you feel like you’re in a happy place. We stayed in a hotel that had been converted from a convent which was cool but creepy (particularly when we decided to venture into the hotel’s reading room in the middle of the night, which was pitch black and contained the remnants of a confessional in one corner), but it added to the atmosphere and paid a wonderful homage to the city’s history. We ate delicious sea food (moqueca, google it), witnessed gorgeous sunsets and soaked up everything the place had to offer. If you are ever travelling to Brazil, Salvador is an essential visit. 

The Bay of All Saints at sunset.
Salvador's gorgeous streets in the old town lined with colourful colonial buildings.
Did I mention the buildings were colourful?
We promise, this scene is real. Colourful quaint building and a VW campervan? Yes please.
A friendly local who permitted me to take this photo.
A view of some of the colourful buildings. Most notably, the striking blue church in the middle which was built by the slaves, for the slaves. The slavers wouldn't allow slaves to pray in the same churches so they built their own. It's still in use today and twice weekly they hold a mass in the same style as during the slave trade.
Salvador's old town at dusk.
Another one of the many churches in Salvador. Locals often hang out at these steps in the evening for a few drinks whilst other practice their street dance routines.

Another place of interest (and quite possibly one of the prettiest beachy places we’ve been to so far) was Morro de Sao Paulo, a choppy two and a half hour boat ride from Salvador. It is known as the Ibiza of Brazil, but is far more laid back, in the way only Brazil can be, and we spent several days soaking up the sun by the sleek infinity pool, eating more sea food, and having a little rest from all the travelling we’d been doing. I know what you’re thinking, but travelling for this length of time is actually pretty hard work, and we all need some rest and relaxation from time to time…

The view from our hotel overlooking the South Atlantic ocean.
A beautiful serene scene at sunset.
The view of Salvador from the boat back from Morro De Sao Paulo

We’ve still got more stories from Brazil to tell but we’ll save those for next time, where we head further north to the dangerous shark capital of South America, and bring out our inner Tarzan/Jane as we trek into the depths of the Amazon Jungle.


If you enjoyed reading the blog please comment below as we would love to hear from you. 


Much love,

The Resignated Survivors


Lowlight of the week: Throwing up for almost two and half hours straight on the boat back from Morro de Sao Paulo as the water was so ridiculously choppy. The scene involving almost all the other passengers on the boat resembled something from the early stages of the Walking Dead.

Other notable things: Shout out to our friend Nelly who jumped on a plane from London town and met us in Salvador to spend a wonderful week catching up and for bringing us treats from home, courtesy of our families (Yorkshire teabags anyone?!). And for bringing an empty suitcase to take half our stuff back with her. Dare I say that after almost seven months on the road we’re getting a little homesick?!


Lessons learned: Not surprising really, but I heart Brazil.