Buses in Paraguay are not like other buses we’ve experienced to date. For one, no one cares about your passport when you buy a bus ticket. They expect you are going on the next bus and they are happy to take your money. For two, the buses are quite old and there are no fancy features: no AC, no WiFi, at least not that we’ve seen. You might get a seat that doesn’t recline or you might get a seat that doesn’t stay up. In fact, you might not even get a seat.

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Itaipu Dam

On Sunday, we decided to visit the Itaipu Dam, which is an impressive bi-national collaboration between Brazil and Paraguay to develop sustainable power generation in the region. Construction on the dam over the river Paraná began in 1975 and was completed in 1984. The hydroelectric power plant at the dam produces approximately 79% of Paraguay’s energy need and 20% of Brazil’s. Paraguay exports most of the excess power back to Brazil making electricity Paraguay’s single largest export. In 2016, the Itaipu hydroelectric power plant produced the most energy of any in the world. The dam is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

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Saltos de Monday

The internet can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it’s full of useful travel tips, and on the other hand it can scare you away from really cool things. If you read too much, Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, sounds like a terrifying place. So much so that we seriously considered whether it was worth spending any time there or if we should get on the first bus to Encarnación. Luckily, we had also read enough to know that the two main attractions near Ciudad del Este were worth seeing: Saltos de Monday and the Ituaipu dam (more on that in a later post).

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Iguazú Falls

We arrived in Puerto Iguazú around 9:30am and went in search of food and WiFi as we realized neither of us had downloaded the map of Puerto Iguazú for offline use. (If you have never used Google Maps in this way, check it out! It’s invaluable for traveling.) The cafe on the corner had counter service with tables outside and coupons for an hour of WiFi. We shared a potato tortilla and used our hour of WiFi to download the maps and research how to get to Iguazú falls. For once, Eric looked pretty perky after getting off a night bus.

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Night Bus # 3

We’re starting to feel like pros at the whole night bus thing. Our next destination was Puerto Iguazú, the Argentinian town next to Iguazú Falls. It’s twelve hours away from Concordia, and we thought that amount of traveling should definitely be done over night. The discounted bus tickets we acquired three days ago in Concordia had us leaving at 8pm and arriving in Puerto Iguazú just after 8am the next day.

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Termas del Daymán

Our original plan had been to spend a couple days in Colonia del Sacramento and then head to Salto, Uruguay, for a few days before crossing back into Argentina to go to Iguazú Falls. However, that itinerary was going to put us at Iguazú on the weekend which we figured would be the busiest time of the week. The logistics of going to Colonia del Sacramento were also complicated. There were no night buses from CdS to Salto, so we would end up having to go back to Montevideo (3 hours away) to catch a night bus or spending all day on a bus just to arrive in Salto in time to pay for accommodation. We are also trying to avoid arriving in new cities after dark. As a result, our new plan had us on a midnight bus to Salto directly from Montevideo.

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