Although it took us 7 hours to get here by bus from Ybycui, the roads, unlike SW Bolivia, were paved (most of the time). We arrived at Ciudad del Este in the afternoon tired and hungry (couldn´t find much vegetarian food at the bus stalls along the way). Luckily, the town is home to a suprisingly large East Asian community, and we ate REAL Chinese food that night for dinner, full of tofu (something no one at Chinese restaurants in Peru had heard of) and vegetables and a bottle of spicey red chili sauce on the side.
Ciudad del Este is along the Paraná River, separating it from Brazil, with Argentina just a few miles further. The main draw for us here was actually across the border, Iguazu Falls. While it spans both Brazil and Argentina, we stuck to just the Argentinian side to avoid paying Brazil´s high visa entrance fee just for a day trip. Which is fine, because the Argentinian side is supposed to be better anyway.
We actually walked to the border to leave Paraguay at the Puento de Amistad (Friendship Bridge), and caught a bus directly to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina, where we changed to another one for the falls themselves (Iguazu National Park).
Bigger than Niagra, this series of waterfalls is one of the most amazing in the world. Unlike Niagra (if my memory serves me right), it is not surrounded by concrete, and a touch of nature still remains in the national park. Walkways stretched throughout the park so we could garner some amazing views of fall after fall including the largest group, Garganta del Diablo. The pictures speak for themselves. Truly awesome and doubtlessly a highlight of our six months abroad.
On the way back, we nearly got stuck in Puerto Iguazu as no buses directly back to Ciudad del Este ran after 6p. Instead we hopped on a bus for the Brazilian border town, and kind of snuck our way through Brazilian customs to get back to Paraguay.
Back safe and sound in Ciudad del Este, we spent the following morning at the Itaipu Dam. The second largest in the world (after the recently constructed dam in China), this dam provides nearly all of Paraguay´s electricity and a quarter of Brazil´s. The Itaipu corporation gladly invites people to their site for free to see the amazing structure, learn about its creation, and hear all the propaganda about environmental and community projust Itaipu is sponsoring around the region. Quite a cool structure and feat of engineering, indeed!