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Macuco Safari is a trap

Brasília
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6 posts
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Macuco Safari is a trap

If you are planning to take the Macuco Safari tour, prepare to feel like a fool. They promise you a tour of two hours long and it takes no more than 50 minutes. They promise you to stop at three places to take pictures and stop just one time, in a nothing interesting place. They promise you to visit a water fall where you could have a "shower" and they don't go there. They promise you give plastic bags to protect your camera and it's effective only if your camera is a pocket camera. The only truth is the price: about US$ 75. It's too much money that you pay for lies and disappoinment. Skip this in your trip. save time and money!

Pennsylvania
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1. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

That doesn’t sound like the Macuco Safari we were on just last February 2007…First we went on an open wagon through a tropical trail and they stopped a few times for pictures, then we had one of two options, we could walk down a steep walkway or we could opt to take a more direct walkway down to the boat ride. The boat ride was spectacular and I would of regretted it if I wouldn’t of taken this adventure. As far as cameras, I took pictures up until we saw Devil Throat (the largest falls) then I put it in the plastic bag and put it into my fanny pack. Good thing I did because we were absolutely soaked as we road several times under one of the smaller falls. Later we purchased the video they took of OUR ride. Usually we don’t purchase pictures but again I’m really glad we did. I do agree it was a little pricey since you are in Brazil but it was worth the price not to miss it.

Salvador, BA
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2. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

I took that exciting ride a number of years ago in Iguacu. My experience was as described by 'LOVE to visit places'. Everyone in the boat had a blast and came off grinning ear to ear!

We all got thoroughly soaked (but it is so hot, it didn't matter--just went back to hotel by bus to change--you could bring a change with you to leave at the dock) It was one of the most fun things I did at the falls.

The other great thing was all the butterflies (some of which land on your skin to drink the salt sweat) as you walk or wait on the dock.

Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Prince Edward Island
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3. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

The Macuco tour was a highlight of our trip to Brazil as well. Unfortunately, some are born complainers, and I'm afraid that the critic who started this thread may fall into that category.

My experience is that the people who run the Macuco tour are helpful and professional with their guests. I ignored their warnings to leave behind articles like my sun hat, only to find it in danger of blowing away. Somehow, the guide managed to find room under his clothing to stow it for me.

I think part of "Averbuch's" problem is that somebody overcharged him for tickets. We bought at our hotel and paid about US$50-55. This includes a shuttle bus to the start of the tour. (Perhaps this is where the two-hours business started. You'll find that it takes about two hours from the time you depart your hotel until you're back in your room. If you carry a stop-watch and count only the minutes in the boat, it will be less, of course.)

Not to sound like a nit-picker, but does anyone else see "Averbach's" little inconsistency? The writer complained about not getting a "shower" but in the next sentence he gripes about not getting plastic bags to protect his camera! By the way, it's always my suggestion that whenever you travel, bring with you zip-lock plastic bags to store your toiletries. When you take the Macuco tour, the wise traveler carries the zip-lock bags for things like passports and cameras. Always be prepared yourself. Never rely solely on others to protect your things for you, anywhere!

We're Canadians from Nova Scotia (not shills for Macuco). We did NOT think Macuco too much money, and we certainly did not meet with any of the "lies and disappointment." Thank you, "Averbuch" and Trip Advisor for this opportunity to set the record straight!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

south east
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4. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

I think a middle position between the two opinions is probably more realistic. The trip is certainly overpriced ($R156) for what it is and how long it takes, and it's up to each individual to assess whether the cost is worth it. In our case the tour operator completely failed in describing the tour to us. We were told that we could only do either the walking tour, or the Safari tour. This is just nonsense, since entry to the park includes all trails and all transporation within the park (by bus). So suprisingly we were charged another $R73 for transfer and entry (R$20) into the national park even whe we opted to do just the safari. This is not a reflection on the Safari itself but on tour operators in hotels who fail to inform you properly and try to extract as much money as possible through the lack of knowledge of the customers.

I would reccommend this trip particularly if you can spare 4-5hrs, which would let you do the boat trip (including the transfer and short walk through the forest) and the full walk to the falls to see the spectacular views.

It's worth noting that you dont actually get a good view of the "devil's throat" from the boat because of mist and because the boat or cameraman at the front obscures the view. It is however quite amusing to get close to some of the waterfalls and get soaked but that's the only novelty of this safari. If you'd like to have a bit of fun and get close to the falls it's worth the money. If you'd like a leisurely and take as much time as you want to linger and look at the falls I would recommend skipping the Macuco Safari and take a long walk instead.

Lastly, I think it's worthwhile making your own way to the park (cheap public bus or private taxi) and not being exploited by some tour operators/agents who basically overcharge you. One of my friends took the walking tour only and was offered the Mucaco Safari for only $R50 by her guide, a significant saving. I cannot gurantee this offer or verify it's authenticity but it seems that if you buy your tickets yourself within the park you won't pay more than what the tour operators offer you. You can always measure the cost against the total of R$229 we paid. I hope you can get it cheaper!

One further comment is I agree with some earlier comments, our tour guides on the drive/walk and the boat were all extremely friendly, funny and informative.

Lunenburg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Prince Edward Island
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6 reviews
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5. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

Bravo to StayedIn for his reasoned and balanced reply.

What follows is not intended in any way to validate the trivial complaints you sometimes see from a few writers. Rather, it's a reminder that after all the high-blown claims of "breath-taking"-this and "spectacular"-that, found in tourist promotions world-wide, reality always wins out.

I found that in the Iguasu Falls region, all tourist operators overcharge, compared with what you'd pay for the same product in other parts of Brazil. Moreover, the inflated prices are soft, with bargaining always an option. If you have time, shop around for tour tickets and travel options. More likely than not, you'll find a discount.

Guided tours (all of them, not merely Macuco) overcharge, compared to what you'll find elsewhere in Brazil. I got nicked for a hundred dollars for a guided tour of Paraguay and the Argentine side of Iguasu. What really happened is that the guide dropped us off at the tourist sites, then vanished until the appointed time to pick us up. While we toured the Argentine falls, he went home for five hours. He told us so! (To be sure, we didn't really want him hanging around -- we're the sort who like our privacy and enjoy making the discoveries for ourselves.)

The national parks on the Brazilian side and the Argentine side are an example of places where you do not need a guide. Once you're inside the park (you must pay admission) , you can walk wherever you wish and there will not be any need for a guide. There is a free shuttle train in the Argentine park. The attractions are self-evident, from a casual look at the signage.

Naturally, you do have to pay if you'd like to go on the boat rides in either park. Whether the price is too rich is a decision each visitor must make for himself. If you choose to forego the Macuco safari ride up the Iguasu River, you're not obliged to pay for anything else once you're in the park.

If you're going to the Iguasu area, be mindful of tourist overcharges. Shop around. Try making your way on your own, with your own car or a taxi, rather than a so-called guided tour.

Happy travels, and let me know if I can help further!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

New York, New York
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6. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

I agree. I didn't think it was worth the money and would not do it again.

St. Louis, MO
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7. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

capetien, am I understanding correctly that the Macuco safari is a guided tour AND a boat ride? And we can just purchase the boatride, correct? That is all we want to do tour-wise. We can walk the paths ourselves and need to save as much $ as we can, besides. I saw a zodiac boat excursion listed in a guidebook recommended. There were actually 2, but the one called Aventura Nautica, run by a outfit called Iguazu Jungle Explorer. It seemed reasonably priced and leaves from the bottom of Circuito Inferior on the Argentine side. They have another one that does a truck trip through the forest, but we do not care about that one. (Anyone else familiar w/this tour?) I don't know which is best - the Macuco boat or this one? Also, is it wise to have advance reservations or will we likely not have a problem just showing up? Thanks for any info!

Salvador, BA
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8. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

Trips from both countries/sides go under the same falls-Garganta de Diabo.

Atlanta, GA
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9. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

I agree that this trip is a tourist trap. We took this trip in February 2009. The cost (if you pay by credit card) was more than $80 U.S. per person. In contrast, the boat ride on the Argentine side of the falls is less than $15 U.S. The safari is nothing more than a 15 minute ride through the jungle, a short hike and a 20 minute boat ride (the boat ride being the only worthwhile part). The boat ride doesn't take you under the falls, just close enough to one of the lesser falls to get really wet(which seems to be the whole point of the ride and, admittedly, was refreshing considering how blazing hot it was). The rub was that, due to all the waiting around, the trip (from the Macuco station in the park) took over 3 hours, causing us to miss entirely most of the rest of the park. Considering the time, expense and trouble to get to the Brazilian side of the falls from the Argentine side (taxi $120 Argentine pesos round trip, entry fee $20 U.S./person), it was unforgiveable--a waste of a half a day. If you want to take a boat ride to the falls, do it on the Argentine side.

Brasília
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10. Re: Macuco Safari is a trap

This is an answer to David, the Canadian guy that made judgements about me even not knowning me. I'm a very travelled guy and experienced a lot of tours in National Parks (including some in Canada). I tried to be short in my first post, but I have to be more explicit now. I got the informations about the tour (price, duration and attractions) in their website, which was changed few days after my visit (the main information just was gone) . I went to the park in a rental car and did not hire any guide. When arrived at the cashier, is was not possible to pay with Mastercard, but only with Visa (for an alleged problem with the "system") or cash. I showed my camera to the girl at the front desk and asked her if I could/shouyd carry it with me or if I sholud leave it at the lockers. She told me "Yes, no problem, we give you plastic basgs to protect it". After I stand for more then a half hour to begin the tour. We didn't walk inside the forest and didn't visit a small waterfall (as was promised in the website). When arrived at the pier I received a very small plastic bag which could not even cover my camera. I asked for one more and at that time I realized that I should protect the camera as carefully as I could. I tried to leave the camera with the people at the pier. They told me that they could not take it or be responsible for any personal belongings. In other words, I should take the camera with me during the ride. The ride began and they stoped "for pictures" in a nothing interesting point. I kept the camera inside the two small bags all the time. The tour continued for a small water fall (never close to the Devil's Gorge, as was promised) and we got soaked. When I looked at the camera there was a lot of water inside the bags and I lost equipment (US$ 900). When we returned to the starting point there was a place to change the clothes. A small (one person at time; two if you are with somebody of your family, like brothers, without any confort) and dirty place. At the and, before the tour I payed for a DVD of the tour. This DVD is a real trash. The quality is as bad as you can imagine.

I prefer don't judge you David, but I guess you work for the Macuco Safari or your demand standards are extremely low. I'm very sorry for you.