We left Manaus Wednesday night (actually Thursday morning around 1 am) and flew into Rio, arriving at 6:40 am Thursday. Taking advantage of our 9 hour layover, we visited Ipanema Beach in downtown Rio, had brunch and walked around. At 3:50 pm, we left Rio and flew into Iguazu's small airport, which is in Brazil, arriving at 6 pm.
2 cars had been arranged in advance to carry us to the Hotel in Argentina, about 30 minutes away.
The cars took us to the Immigration Station at the border of Argentina. We got out of the cars and went into the Immigration office. The driver presented our passports to the young lady at the desk. I assume he vouched for us, having only known us 20 minutes or so, because the lady stamped our passports, paid little attention to us, and handed them back to the driver. While we were going through Immigration, the drivers had transferred all of our luggage to new cars that were ready to take us into Argentina.
So we resumed our journey. Since the new driver was Argentinian, he spoke Spanish, which is much closer to English for those of us lacking foreign language skills. Once again the driver handed us bottles of ice cold water. He also handed us small towels that were moist with cold water - an offering we all appreciated. Good thing he made us comfortable because we found ourselves in 6 six lanes of traffic to clear Customs. After 15 minutes or so, we arrived at the booth where an Argentinian Customs official stood. Once again, our driver handed him our passports. The officer looked over the passports, glanced at the car and motioned us through.
Keeping in mind South American time, we were already 30 minutes into our 25 minute drive. Knowing the hotel was many kilometers away, we could only have patience. After all, when in South America. . . . We had to keep in mind that we were not "in Kansas anymore".
We drove through on into the night. In 30 more minutes or so, we arrived at the Hotel Grand Melia Iguazu, having a reputation for luxury and service. Keep in mind we had spent 8 nights on a boat, that while adequate and air conditioned, was far from lavish.
Weary from 20 hours of travel, 3 airports, 2 time zones,and 1 international border, we checked into the Melia. As we handed over our passports, we were given more chilled towels and champagne flutes of a special Argentina tea cocktail. Even though it was after 9 pm when we checked in, we still made it to the dining room for a fine meal. The gourmet menu was outstanding and very reasonably priced. The offerings included a selection of world renown Argentinian beef and sea food among other choices. The wine list of excellent South American wines was vast.
One really appreciates fine linens and a rain-shower bath with hot water, after spending 8 days on a small bunk with a cotton mattress cover but no sheets. The difference in the accommodations cannot even be compared. We are not talking "apples and oranges", this was more like "apples and rocks".