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(Final Up to date On: October three, 2018)
Okay, so I’m going to inform you ALL the issues concerning the Puerto Iguazu to Ciudad del Este bus from Argentina to Paraguay that not a single individual I requested about this bus journey, advised me. It’s additionally concerning the night time that I technically didn’t exist, as a result of no documentation of me existed in any nation. Let me clarify.
For no matter cause, I made a decision that I might pop via Paraguay on my method from Iguazu Falls, Argentina to Salta + Jujuy in Northern Argentina. Geographically it made sense, and in that I might actually see Paraguay from the place I used to be staying, I figured it will be foolish not to simply test it out.
I did various analysis on the nation and transportation to/inside/from it, and my route from Puerto Iguazu to Ciudad del Este to the capital (Asuncion) and throughout again into Argentina appeared possible. However first, I had to affirm the primary bus journey simply to get to the little bit of Paraguay proper throughout the river, Ciudad del Este.
I requested my educated tour information for Iguazu Falls about this bus journey. “You can get it straight from the bus station,” she stated. “”You’ll have to undergo each borders. Watch out there.”
I requested on the bus station the day earlier than my journey. “It’s a collectivo (public bus) from Platform 7,” they stated in Spanish. “You buy your 50 peso (roughly $1.85) ticket on the bus every 2 hours.”
I even googled it for my British passport. “You do not need a visa to enter Paraguay for 90 days,” it stated. I additionally checked for Brazil as a result of the route went by means of Brazil, and I don’t want one there both (however many individuals do!).
I googled the situation of the bus station, discovered that it was lower than a 10-minute stroll from my hostel, and determined I might ask round if it will be protected to stroll, and if not, seize a taxi.
Cool. I felt snug and prepared for my brief bus from Puerto Iguazu to Ciudad del Este. I arrived at platform 7 with my 50 pesos on the right 2hr interval, and walked up to the driving force.
“Ciudad del Este?” I requested. “Si,” he confirmed. So I handed him my money and acquired on the bus.
Disclaimer: Sorry these pictures are completely horrible. I didn’t plan to write about this location so these iphone pictures are the one documentation I’ve. It nonetheless apparently goes to present I nonetheless doc all the things I do for completely no cause.
The Puerto Iguazu to Ciudad del Este Bus
It was an fascinating bus – it was undoubtedly a ‘collectivo,’ which means public bus. It was nothing just like the fancy-schmancy night time busses they’ve throughout South America; it was a rickety and soiled almost-like faculty bus, with plastic seats that shook quite a bit when the engine turned on. Everybody else on the bus was native/indigenous, they usually all peered over at me at intervals as a result of I certainly appeared very misplaced as a white woman by herself with two large backpacks. I smiled again at them, clutched my belongings, and gazed out the window, prepared for my subsequent journey.
Little did I do know, I wasn’t prepared for my subsequent ‘adventure.’ We reached the border of Argentina, stopped, and everybody mechanically acquired off the bus. Unsure whether or not I ought to convey all my issues or not (numerous borders need to scan every little thing) I helplessly watched everybody else. Nobody actually had many luggage, however I resolved to simply deliver my smaller backpack.
The bus driver motioned me in the direction of an open window, which lead me to consider he was searching for me. I gave him a nod of thanks, obtained my passport stamped fairly shortly, and obtained again on the collectivo on the opposite aspect.
We crossed the bridge over the Iguazu river, which modified from blue and white railings to yellow and inexperienced midway via.
“Hello again, Brazil,” I assumed, after spending the day on that aspect of the waterfalls the day earlier than. Unsure how crossing by means of Brazil briefly labored on this public bus, I had my passport in hand, prepared to cross the border.
However, to my shock, we sailed across the outdoors of the border with out even braking just a little bit. I assumed this was fascinating, however resolved that because the bus goes straight to Paraguay they should have some sort of settlement the place they don’t cease in Brazil. It did, nevertheless, confuse me when the bus stopped to let somebody off…
We sailed by way of the a lot bigger metropolis of Foz du Iguacu, and round in the direction of the opposite river that varieties the border between Brazil/Argentina and Paraguay. As I anticipated, we sailed by way of the opposite Brazilian border, too.
However what I didn’t anticipate, was once we sailed by way of the Paraguay border as properly?!?!
Confused and with passport in hand, I narrowed my eyes and appeared round. Did I miss one thing right here? Are we going to one other immigration level? Did we actually simply….the place are we?!
I waited one other minute or two, confirmed how to say ‘ stamp’ in my Spanish dictionary app, and walked up to the driving force and leaned over the rickety makeshift turnstile to get his consideration.
Disculpa, porque no cerramos a immigracion?! Necesito una estampilla!! (Excuse me, why didn’t we cease at immigration? I want a stamp!)
The bus driver launched right into a rant in full quick Spanish, of which I didn’t perceive in any respect. After asking him to converse a bit extra slowly, I understood him saying that I ought to have informed him earlier that I wanted to cease on the border… that I wanted to inform him of my necessity to stamp into a brand new nation.
I wanted to TELL the bus driver… to STOP at IMMIGRATION… in a DIFFERENT COUNTRY.
I’ve by no means, in all of my 65+ nations, wanted to give discover of my necessity to cease at god rattling worldwide border. What a part of the phrase ‘border’ insinuated something about not stopping? How is that even authorized?
I might quickly study that this was a totally open border the place Paraguayans and Brazilians can cross freely when they need… which is why I used to be the one one on the whole bus who wanted an precise stamp. However truthfully although, what a part of my utterly apparent blonde misplaced backpacker look appeared like I DIDN’T want to cease to verify into this nation?! I imply, I assume it was positive to enter, however exiting with out an entry stamp can be the issue… and I did NOT need to cope with that.
‘Well, f*ck,’ I assumed, my thoughts completely spinning and having visions of Paraguayan prisons and arrests for being inside a questionable nation illegally. The bus driver didn’t converse a lick of English, and in my forlorn damaged Spanish I requested him what I might do to repair this predicament. He scribbled some issues down on a bit of paper and handed it to me – they have been instructions to a fundamental street the place I might get off and stroll 500m to the border. I’m sorry, however HELL NO am I, as a really clearly western solo feminine backpacker, going to stroll to the Paraguayan border alone at night time time with three luggage. Subsequent choice.
He might inform how distraught I used to be, and he ended up driving me immediately to my hostel and dropping me off, which was good. However, there was nonetheless the issue that I technically didn’t truly exist at that second in any official place; I had stamped out of Argentina however not into anyplace else. I used to be nowhere. There have been no data of me. I might simply disappear…. that’s, till I attempted to depart the nation of Paraguay. Then, I might be in hassle.
Seeing my concern, the hostel staff have been fast to console me. They advised me it occurs so much, and that I might be effective to return within the morning. Skeptical of spending a whole night time in complete nonexistence and having a discrepancy of dates on my passport stamps, I pried a bit of.
“Are you SURE?”
“Yes… but I’ll see if my son can drive you back tonight.”
I didn’t need to be an annoyance, so I politely declined the supply regardless of the hostel proprietor’s insistence that she would ask. She advised me I might be advantageous, and to simply go very first thing within the morning to stamp in. I used to be nervous, however actually… what else might I do?
Enjoyable in my hammock at my hostel, considering my existence and the way a lot hassle I used to be in.
The morning got here, and I awoke with sweat already on my forehead. I set out on a brisk stroll by means of intermittent thunder storms within the metropolis. Ciudad del Este has an uncanny resemblance to some buying cities in Southeast Asia or one thing… individuals come right here from throughout South America to purchase low cost knockoff manufacturers of every part from designer clothes to electronics. Tents and stands strains all of the streets promoting every little thing you possibly can consider, and I darted between these makeshift tarp-stands between rain showers as I inched my approach to the border.
The borer got here into sight. I used to be on the aspect that I ought to be on if I used to be leaving to cross the bridge to Brazil…. however I crossed to the aspect the place individuals ought to have already got are available. A couple of males tried to promote me motion cameras and cellular phone instances as I walked towards the entry aspect of the Paraguayan border from the completely incorrect aspect.
Would they see me stroll up from already being INSIDE the nation? Would they see the flawed date on my exit stamp? Would all my stamps confuse them sufficient to not increase a purple flag? Would they take me straight to jail?
There was just one method to discover out.
I snaked alongside the aspect of the constructing so nobody would see me coming within the mistaken approach from the within. I walked into the constructing and there was completely nobody in line, and the guards appeared extra occupied by a world cup recreation than almost every little thing else – particularly the aspect of the constructing I had entered on. That was a aid.
I handed him my passport, and he checked out me. He checked out it. He flipped via my pages for an uncomfortable period of time… flipping a method, then again the opposite… than again to the entrance once more. I used to be internally shitting my pants, however making an attempt to hold calm and picked up on the surface.
He held on passport open, sighed, and appeared behind him, as if to hunt down a coworker or a better up. There was nobody there. He flipped by way of one other time, checked out me, discovered an open web page, and…….
Stamed my passport and gave it again to me.
I’m… good to go?
“Yes, have a nice time,” he stated.
And holy precise shit, I used to be legally inside Paraguay.
Now that I had taken care of my unlawful actions, I felt like a load was off my shoulders. I truly had a very nice time exploring and buying in ciudad del Este, purchased a number of issues (of questionable high quality), met some new pals in my hostel, and made it safely to Asuncion and, consider it or not, overseas a couple of days later. Thank gawd.