“This is actually a B&B&B,” smiles John Fernandes, owner and host of Secret Garden Iguazu. I look at him, puzzled, my brain whirring in the heat and halfway through my delicious caipirinha. He gestures toward my drink. “Bed, breakfast and booze!”
Ever the charming host, John serves Brazil’s national cocktail to guests every evening. One or two, plus hors’ d’oeuvres, are included in the rates, but John says he will not serve you a third at any price. I walk a little wobbly to dinner — and I shared the last half of my second cocktail — so I completely understand.
Iguazu Falls should be on any traveller’s must-see list. There is so much water going over so many different falls, it is almost unbelievable. Eleanor Roosevelt’s comment upon seeing them, “Poor Niagara!”, is an understatement.
However, it is not easy to get to Iguazu, and once here, not the nicest of tourist destinations. You’ll need bug spray, as there are dengue-carrying mosquitos. Except in the winter months of May to August, it is hot and humid and the South American sun extremely strong. The two towns built around the Brazilian and Argentine sides of the Falls are not so charming, full of soulless hotels and restaurants, most of which don’t care about your return business or even your referrals.
Not so Secret Garden.
The B&B has just three rooms, and they each have the feeling of a cottage. They are almost hidden behind the multiple hues of green in the garden, shaded under the tree canopy, and near a feeder very popular with the hummingbird crowd. Rooms are decorated simply, but you’ll have the basics (including strong AC) for a short stay. On the porch of the main house, you’ll enjoy breakfast and the chance to exchange stories with John and fellow guests over cocktails and beautiful glowing lights.
John likes to show visitors around town upon arrival, to situate them before they go off to the Falls for the day. He’ll even take your photo along the Parana and Iguazu rivers — one of the few places in the world where you can get three countries in one photo. John provides excellent advice on seeing both sides of the Falls, dependent upon the weather and how much time you have. He’ll arrange the best driver for your day (ideal for crossing the border to the Brazil side), or give you advice on taking the bus (easy for the Argentine side, unless you’re very pressed for time). He has great recommendations for lunch and dinner too.
The B&B is simple, and the luxury aspect focuses on your experiences. If your interests are in enrichment, Secret Garden is an ideal base for your Iguazu explorations.