Monday, June 7, 2010

Ciudad del Este Foz do Iguacu Border Crossing

So I left nice an early from Ciudad del Este to negotiate the border.

I opted to walk as opposed to take a bus. It was about a 10 minute walk through the shack shopping stalls on the main street in Ciudad del Este to the beginning of the bridge. There was a big building on one side marking the beginning of the bridge, Paraguayan customs and migration I’d wager. I read and heard that they don’t police this border at all. I also read, whether it is true or not, that the Paraguayan officials may try to extract something from you. Nonetheless, I decided to go without my Paraguayan exit stamp. Kept walking, walked past only a few officers waving cars through, and walked the bridge to the Brazilian side. By the way, the views were spectacular from the bridge.

I could have continued into Brazil as well without a stamp due to the fact that nobody wanted to stop me, but that is a really bad idea especially for when I exit Brazil in a month. I proceeded to the first building I saw that said Immigration, in Portuguese (thankfully similar to Spanish). Anyways, went in, talked to them in Spanish, and pointed me in some other direction to a larger building. Crossed the highway, went up the stairs, and found the stalls for immigration. I was a bit worried about them not giving me a stamp. I didn’t have my yellow fever card that you are supposed to need. Anyways, they didn’t ask for anything and stamped me in.

Unlike Ciudad del Este, Foz do Iguacu, the city on the Brazilian side of the bridge, is about 2 miles from the bridge. I had mostly Paraguayan currency on me plus a little Brasilian change I found from February. I briefly walked a few blocks to look for a money changer, but no dice. Walked back to the bridge exit, and to the hordes of moto taxis. Negotiated a price to the bus terminal, where I was to get picked up by the hostel, and hopped on the back of the motorcycle. He gave me a helmet. Phew, it was pretty fun! I was had my backpack on and was holding my handbag solid with the other hand, so that left my other hand to grip the seat. 7 or 8 minutes later, topping about 40 mph, we arrived at the terminal. I gave him to 10,000 guarani bills (Paraguayan currency, roughtly $2). But he didn’t have change. So I took one bill back, and handed him the 1 Real coin (85 cents) I had. I just find it hilarious that I rode on the back of a $3 moto taxi with all my luggage then paid in two currencies. Anyways, was able to place a call to the hostel in the tourist box in the terminal, and the hostel actually picked me up.

Mission Complete.

Looking back up into the beginning of the shopping shacks of Ciudad del Este at the beginning of the bridge:

Managed to snap a few shots of the junk heaven:

Looking back at the Paraguay entrance from the bridge:

View 1 from bridge:

View 2 from bridge:

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