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From BA we caught the boat to Colonia, a small town in Uruguay. Colonia originated as a smuggling station by the Portuguese to take things in Spanish-controlled Argentina. The Spanish kicked the Portuguese out, but the town still has a wealth of lovely, old buildings and surprisingly many vintage cars too. We stayed a couple of days before heading to the capital city: Montevideo. Montevideo is a surprisingly modern, clean city but there isn't that much for outsiders to do, so after a day or two we headed out to Brazil.

Brazil Florianopolis beach-seller tourists summer sun sunbathing sea

We hopped up through Porto Alegre, Florianopolis (see the beach photo below), Joinville and Curitiba before heading to Foz do Iguaçu and Iguazu Falls.

Iguazu Falls, spanning the border of Brazil and Argentina are incredible. The variation, rainbows and natural beauty were well beyond expectation. The first day we went to the Argentine side and took a boat under the water fall. When I heard you could do this I assumed they meant behind the curtain of water, but it turned out you head for one of the biggest falls and they take the boat right into the fall. We also went to the equally impressive Brazilian side. OK, I'll shut up and let the pictures do the talking.

Iguazu Falls Las Cataratas de Iguazu rainbow water impressive Iguazu Falls Las Cataratas de Iguazu rainbow water impressive

I popped over to Paraguay for the afternoon to see the Itaipu dam, one of the man-made wonders of the modern world. Really, it wasn't that impressive, and despite an extensive documentary beforehand showing tourists being allowed to see the hydro generation all we were able to see were a few bits of machinery and the top of the dam.

Brazil Rio De Janeiro city landscape night lights traffic parks view from Pao do Azucar

Rio is without a doubt one of, if not the most spectacularly located cities in the world. Throughout the area there are steep rocky lumps, for want of a better description that poke through the urban sprawl and jungle below. On the coast are wide beaches then islands and more hills. It really is quite spectacular.

There are several world-famous landmarks in Rio. Obviously the Sugar Loaf, Christ the Redeemer and Ipanema and Copacobana. We spent a week wondering the streets, visiting the beaches, going up the Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer. It went quickly - it is one of those places where there is also more to see, more to do. The Sunday we were there we went and watched a football match in Maracana Stadium. FIFA have now enforced entry restrictions and ensured there are plastic seats for all, in the process they HALVED the capacity to only 100,000! This is a big ground, and when we were there it only had about 40,000 in, but the noise level was incredible!

Street scene traffic moving night light colonial city Brazil

We had to leave all too soon and head North, first to Ouro Preto, an old mining town and then to Salvador for carnival. Ouro Preto is a very pretty town with cobbled streets, dozens of ornate churches (no photography permitted inside unfortunately) and baroque houses. The rain had followed us from Rio and the cloud came in low, usually obscuring the town.