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January 05, 2007

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Michael Fahy

My wife and I found The Secret Garden on the internet and we are happy to share the secret with you. It's a wonderful spot to relax at and to sample some of John's fine cocktails and jams. The company of the other guests is always entertaining and might even cause you to forget about your dinner plans!!! Happily the rooms are air conditioned and Roxy is great fun.

John is a very gracious host and will direct you and give advice on everything about the Iguazu area and neighbouring countries. We would recommend (obviously) visiting the falls but avoid Sunday's if you can. Both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides are well worth the visit but spend most of your time on the Argentinian side. If you have more than a day and a half we would recommend (this was John's suggestion) visiting Paraguay to indulge in the "very interesting" goods on offer. If you plan on buying any electrical items do a bit of research before you go to Paraguay and be prepared to bargain.

John arranged all the transportation. We were driven around by a friendly "Benny Hill" lookalike. Although he spoke no English and we spoke no Spanish we still communicated effectively. By the way the aviary on the Brazilian side is worth a visit.

A bit of friendly advice, when you get to the Brazilian side (and it happens to be a busy day) there is one queue to buy the entrance tickets and another queue to enter the park. So, have one person queue in each line to avoid frustration!

Enjoy! We certainly did.

danila franceschini

Sono veramente contenta di aver scoperto questo B&B: l'ambiente e' confortevole, l'atmosfera familiare ed il giardino che si estende dietro la casa e' veramente splendido: un piccolo paradiso, una giugla in miniatura; un luogo ideale dove rilassarsi dopo la fatica accumulata dalla visita alle cascate. Entrambe le sponde sono interessanti ed hanno scorci che lasciano senza fiato. La riva argentina e' piu' selvaggia, piu' angusta, piu' avventurosa, mentre da quella brasiliana si godono le migliori vedute panoramiche. Credo che, data la loro diversita' e complementarieta', valga veramente la pena di visitare entrambe. Un piccolo consiglio per i piu' avventurosi che desiderano avvicinarsi alle cascate in gommone: e' bene procurarsi un costume o un cambio di abito dato che l'escursione oltre al divertimento comprende un bagno completo! buona visita! danila

Ruth Tranter

I can not say enough wonderful things about the Secret Garden! I found it on line after much frustration at only coming up with the Sheraton! It is the perfect place to come back and relax after a long day at the falls. John will help you with your plans for the day and make any arrangements you might need. All of the staff is simply lovely. Roxy is so much a part of the family that you really feel right at home. Cocktail time is always a great chance to meet the other guests and exchange adventures from the day.

You really should see both sides of the falls but I agree with spending more time on the Argentine side. Keep your ticket and you can go back the next day for half price. Be prepared for the heat if you are here in Jan. as I was. If you can, visiting Paraguay for a few hours is worth it. Even if you don't plan to shop there are quite a few stories to come back home with. The shops there close at 2:30 and a lot of the people that work there will be coming back over the bridge so try and come back before that or you will be sitting in traffic for hours.

Have a great dinner at El Quincho John will direct you. There is a nice place in town called Club Bar with out door seating and if you are here over the weekend there are a few bars in that area.

Cheers and Good Luck!

Ingrid Kuebler

Hola!
The Secret Garden is one of those rare travelling experiences. What an absolutely beautiful place! Its a gorgeous b & b, a true oasis. The rooms are spotlessly clean and comfortable set in a gorgeous garden with tiny hummingbirds buzzing everywhere and the atmosphere is truly special. A delicious breakfast is served overlooking the gardens, home made breads and jams, fresh fruit, great coffee, all the things travellers crave.
John Fernandez, is an amazing host, he is so welcoming as are the lovely ladies that serve breakfast etc...John will as others have mentioned give great advice on anything..from how to maximise your stay no matter what length to great restaurants and other travel trips....

No need to plan or prebook anything as everything can be done once you are here as far as trips to the falls from both sides..Brazil and Argentina and if you have time allow another day to venture into wild Paraguay..its an experience! John has a team of private drivers that are great...they dont speak English but are friendly and safe. I was travelling alone and speak very little Spanish but its absolutely no problem...everything works out plus its only about 50 pesos, 17usd approx for the entire day.

Some tips.. I personally dont think it matters which side you see first..do zodiac boat trip ..its a must, I did it on the Argentinian side as part of a Great Adventure Package that you buy once you arrive at the Falls...make sure you end the day with drinks on the balcony of the Sheraton... overlooking the falls in the distance.

Its really hot so be prepared and you can just wear sandals or thongs/flip flops

On the Brazilian side ..I went first to the Bird Park...youve got to do this...it houses all the beautiful Sth American birds...Toucans, Macaws, Parrots ...its an open aviary, not just small pens ..toucans landed right next to where i was sitting and I held macaws etc...wow!
I also did the helicopter trip..its short, about 70 USD but worth it! Great overview of the expansiveness of the falls area.

Back at Secret Garden John hosts cocktail hour ...caprihenas and great conversations with fellow travellers...then its off to the restaurants. Besides the restaurants mentioned try Agua, its new. Amazingly friendly service and good food. We went out to the local bars a few nights..Electra and Cuba Libre for some dancing...great to just sit outside and feel part of the local scene...it all starts pretty late midnight onwards....

So...give yourself some time ...3 nights is perfect ....

This has been a highlight of my travels....muchos gracias John!

Ingrid
Melbourne , Australia

Lindsay

Thanks John for a fantastic stay. We've loved everything about it. The room is beautifully clean and modern, the garden and the humming birds are amazing, and breakfast by far the best we've had since we've been in Argentina. For us though, what's really made it has been the Caipirinha's and great company. It's been great getting to know you a little bit and thanks for helping us make the most out of our stay in Iguazu.

Lindsay and Chrissy
London, England

Estelle Pommereau

Le jardin secret - et bien cache - de John est un petit paradis que l'on a plus envie de quitter ! L'ambiance est chaleureuse, cosy et accueillante. La deco des chambres rappelle les Antilles. Gentleman John sait favoriser les echanges entre ses convives autour d'un bon cocktail tous les jours en fin d'apres-midi. Mention speciale pour les confitures home made aux fruits tropicaux.

Michael Fahy

I promised John that I would write in to his blog and note a favourite sign my wife and I saw once in Borneo, which is being devastated by logging and, not to such an extent by tourists. "Take only pictures and leave only footprints." This is a perfect saying for Argentina and indeed the park around the falls. The world is full of destruction - we should not as tourists add to that by dropping litter and polluting the rivers and lakes.

Andrew & Chloe

Our stay in Iguazu was quite short, only 2 days, but we have learned many things since arriving. We spent both days at the park on the Argentine side.
We would recommend:
- The Macuco Trail through the park (many beautiful birds and a chance to swim at the bottom of a waterfall).
- The Full Moon Walk: This is a very beautiful experience, and the falls are a very different place at night. You can choose to buy dinner at the end of the walk, but we recommend against this. It is expensive and uninspired. Many people on the walk took photographs using a flash- please consider leaving your camera at home! We found that the flashes took greatly from the atmosphere of the evening, and the photos captured surely pale in comparison to the sight itself.
- Dinner at Aqua Restaurant in town. John recommended this restaurant and we were very pleased. The atmosphere was conducive to conversation and the staff was very friendly.

And most of all we recommend staying with John at the Secret Garden. The mornings and evenings we spent having breakfast and talking with John were certainly as memorable as the falls themselves.

Safe travels,

Chloe & Andrew
Vancouver, Canada

Paul, Sandra and Tina

We had a lovely time staying at the Secret Garden here in Iguazu. The caipirinhas started the evening off extremely well! The passionfruit and guava jams for breakfast were very tasty.

We would really recommend the full moon walk - seeing the falls in the moonlight was amazing.

Aqva restaurant was excellent as well - great steaks!

Gabi Ford

We found the Secret Garden to be a heaven!! A cultured spot where everything is right...where attention has been paid to the details. The setting is beautiful, the breakfast delicious, and John and his wonderful staff make you feel so welcome that you don't want to leave. Roxy, the little dog, is a bonus!!

The garden features a constant display of wonderful sounds and sights of exotic birds. Great photo-ops for nature lovers.

Enjoyed every moment of the stay. The falls were breathtaking in the misty jungle. Did not take the tours.

Heidi & Pete

We had a lovely stay at the Secret Garden. It is clean, lovely, cool and affordable. John is very helpful and knows of all the good spots to go in Puerto Iguazu. The town is small and safe to get around, even at 4am.

It is a short walk to town and Sara the Remise (private car service) is wonderful and provides a great service to any local area.

Sara and her husband took us to see the Brazilian side of the falls, picked us up once we were done. Then drove us to the Itaipu Hydro-Electric Plant and, into then Foz. They were with us all day and even helped sort out our documents when we crossed over the border.

A note to travellers: One thing to remember is try to fly Lan Chile from BA as Aerolineas is incredibly unreliable and our flight was delayed into Iguazu for several hours.

Fortunately the flight fiasco was offset by the falls which were very rewarding and spectacular from both side. Make sure you do the long boat ride excursion - it's worth it!

Anyway, back to the B&B...Roxy is also alot of fun at the B&B and keeps you entertained. John's other helpers are really lovely as well. We'd definately recommend staying here.


Patrick and Susie Dillon

Canadians requiring a Brazilian visa to cross from Iguazu Falls, Argentina to Brazil can get a visa in the town of Iguazu Falls in one day.

The Brazilian consulate in Iguazu Falls is 300 meters east of the main Iguazu bus station on the south (right) side of the extension of Cordoba Road.

The consulate is open from about 08:00 in the morning (not sure about the afternoon hours, if they are open then at all) - go early and you will most probably get it the same morning, approximately 2 hours later.

You will need 1 x passport photo (4cms x 4 cms), your passport must be valid for at least 6 months and also you will need to show them an an onward or return ticket.

The consulate will provide you with a form which amongst other questions, will ask you where you plan to enter and exit Brazil. It is important to be aware that your stated exit point from Brazil will determine the length of the visa that will be granted to you. For example, in my case I planned to leave Brazil at Corumba on the Bolivian border. The duration of the visa I received was 30 days as they deemed that was long enough for me to travel from Foz Iguacu to this point on the Brazil/Bolivian Border.

Cost for Canadians is 144 Argentinian Pesos and you MUST have the exact amount ... who knows why??? With luck, they will ask you to return in 2 hours to pick up the visa.

Staff at the Brazilian Consulate here are friendly and helpful but do not seem to speak much English, so polish up your Spanish or Portugese!

As it can take weeks to get a Brazilian visa in Canada, and the Brazilian Embassy in Buenos Aires can take 3 working days to process your application, it might be worth considering waiting until you get to Iguazu to apply for it. But check carefully to make sure that the consulate will be open when you are here as they may close on Brazilian/Argentinian national holidays.

If you are lucky enough to stay at Secret Garden during your stay in Iguazu, you will discover the magic of your host, John Fernandes and his staff. Rarely have I ever stayed in a place that was such a combination of charm, warmth and fun. A delightful jungle garden setting, lots of hummingbirds, Roxie the resident Jack Russell terrier, and stimulating conversations with John and his other guests over evening caiparinhas on the verandah, all add up to an unforgettable stay in an unforgettable location.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we have,
Patrick and Susie Dillon

rosalba cini margutti

Sono stata ospite per qualche giorno da John e dico che la sua accoglienza e'squisita.L'ambiente e'molto confortevole e raffinato ma nello stesso momento familiare,rallegrato dalla presenza della cagnetta Roxie e dai numerosi colibri'che svolazzano nel delizioso
giardino segreto.
La casa si trova vicino alle belle,direi meravigliose "cataratas",nel centro della cittadina di Puerto Iguazu dove e'possibile gustare ottimi piatti tipici locali,tipo il pesce surubi alla griglia.

Colin and Gail Eyssen

This was the first time that we booked accomodation purely on the basis of the reviews in Trip Advisor. We must confess we were a bit sceptical that a place could have such good reviews, but they were right. John is a great host and one of the highlights of a visit is sitting on the verandah sipping John's special cocktails in delightful company.

Gerasimos and Marina

Συντήνουμε ανεπιφύλακτα αυτό το μέρος. Ήταν μια πραγματική έκπληξη για μας. Περάσαμε δύο πολύ όμορφες μέρες και η φιλοξενία του John ήταν εξαιρετική. Η σχέση τιμής - ποιότητας η υψηλότερη δυνατή! Συνεχίζουμε Αγγλικά για να τα καταλαβαίνουν περισσότεροι...

As others we booked this place on the basis of the reviews of trip advisor and we were also surprised by the fact that we were not asked to pay a deposit by credit card before our arrival.

We do not regret! We passed two wonderful days in Secret Garden. The rooms are spacious, clean, the staff is friendly and professional, John is a hospitable and very interesting person with whom is a pleasure to talk about everything. The evenings in the secret garden drinking his excellent caipirinhas and fresh watermelon juices and chatting with him and the other guests was one of the most relaxing and pleasent moments of the trip.

We do miss this stay!

Gerasimos and Marina (a Greek-Italian couple living in Athens)

Jeff Tekavcic

I consider myself very fortunate to have found the Secret Garden. John was a wonderful host and made my stay in Puerto Iguazu very rewarding. He was also extremely helpful in my travel plans. After Iguazu, I spent 4 nights in the tiny village of Colonia Carlos Pellegrini in the Esteros de Ibera. John arranged a local couple (thank you Roberto and Sara!) to undertake the 7-hour drive to this relatively inaccessible spot. I would recommend a 4x4 in future (especially if it has rained recently), but Roberto did a heroic job of keeping the car from getting stuck. I highly recommend visiting this area. Ask John to arrange the drive for you!

Thanks again, John, for the drinks, the chats, the photography lessons and for creating such a warm and welcoming environment.

Sandra Kooreman

Diana amd I stayed in the Secret Garden for two nights at the beginning of January, it is a wonderful and relaxing place with a beautiful garden.
A nice bed and the breakfast was delicious.
The Waterfalls are amazing, it is a true paradise!
Go to the Argentinian site first, you need more time there.
What can I say more you can read it all above, it is great.
I will defininately come back here with my son.
Thanks John for the wonderful stay. And the Caipirinha's give Roxy a hug.

Xxx Sandra


John Brewster & Helen Manning

If you are reading this and have stayed here then you will know what an absolute gem of a find this is, and if you are about to stay here then your visit to iguazu will be even better than you imagined.
We stayed for 5 nights at the secret garden and despite john suggesting we were either gun runners or drug barrons we could have happily stayed for 5 weeks !!..
The falls themselves surpass any pictures or documentaries you may have seen, but what made it that much better was our stay here. John and his housekeepers have created a superb environment to relax in, and his and his fellow guests recommendations for lunch etc. were spot on.
His 7.30pm happy hours are now legendary, and both myself and helen were more than merry by the time we reached our restaurant choice every evening (to be honest, we even got lost when deciding to walk back to the secret garden one night and ended up down by the river, luckily puerto iguazu is very safe and its residents very helpful !)
We are also struck up a very good rappor with "benny hill", one of johns drivers, despite our spanish being non existent as was his english, but a smile and a laugh goes a long way, and all of his drivers really couldnt do enough for you.
As you can probably tell, we cant speak highly enough of the secret garden and John, if you are reading this and if you are ever in england, then it would be a pleasure to repay the hospitality and show you round brighton.
Give roxy a hug for us.

john & helen

Sebastian

Forget the 5 star rooms. Forget the outstanding location. Forget the tranquil gardens and the humming birds outside your window. Forget the top-notch service offered. The real gem here is the local advice, expertise and random insight offered by the SG's owner, John.

Enjoy the '51' John, and keep the caipirinhas free!!

Sebastian & Laura

Betty & Steve Sullivan

Having just returned from 2 weeks in So. America I can truily say the highlight of the trip was Secret Garden and John Fernandes (and Roxy). We had a delightful stay in this oasis of peace, relaxation and beauty. John is a most interesting gentleman, a great host and a gentle man. His Caipirinha's are legendary. His suggestions regarding restaurants, side trips and anything regarding the Igausu area are right on.

We made the pilgramage to Secret Garden after I had read the glowing recommendations in Trip Advisor. We were not even scheduled to visit this area but did so because of the wonderful reports of others who had visited with him. And are we glad we did!

If you are considering a trip to Argentina by all means make a stop over at Secret Garden. You'll be pleased that you did.

Sheldon, Debby & Justin Lapidus

We stayed at the John's fabulous Secret Garden in late August 2006, and we booked 2 of the 3 rooms. Not only do we concur absolutely with all the prior posts, but you can view a much longer and comprehensive review that we posted on TripAdvisor.com shortly after we returned from our incredibly diverse South American trip.
By far the most moving and memorable time we had was our stay at the Secret Garden and our time spent with John.
John and his staff should be studied by major hotel corporations worldwide as to how to properly run a guest hotel.
John cares deeply about his B&B and the way guests are handled and treated. All that devotion really is felt positively by the guests, and we promise you that you will never forget a visit with John & the Secret garden.

We hope to return one day soon.

Eric Yendall

We can only echo and reinforce all the positive comments made here about John and his "Secret Garden". John is a wonderful host with a sly sense of humour. He will make your visit to the Falls effortless and fulfilling. You can't go wrong taking his advice on touring, transportation and local restaurants. THE place to stay in Puerto Iguazu.

Paola

My mother and I came back yesterday from the a lovely vacation at Puerto Iguazu, made even more pleasant by the warm and caring attention from John and his staff (my mother fell deadly in love with Roxy and did not want to leave!!). Secret Garden is a real pearl, quiet and authentic - as opposed to the many touristy places in the area. We enjoyed the setting, the rooms are comfortable, cozy and very clean, the caipirinhas absolutely outstanding (!) and John is fun, knowledgeable and very entertaining. Enjoy!

Jon and Neepa

Dearest John,

We just want to thank you for a truly wonderful stay at your Secret Garden. You were the perfect host, wonderful companion and more! Roxy also brought much joy and laughter to myself and even Neepa who is petrified of dogs!!!

To those of you thinking of staying here, then I couldn't recommend it anymore - John, as I have said, is the perfect host with unlimited knowledge about how best to spend your time at Iguazu and its surroundings. He can arrange safe and convenient transport for you with Sarah and Filis Burto (yes, he truly is a Benny Hill lookalike!!!) and the rooms are clean and cosy - a home away from home...

Thank you so much for making our stay so perfect..Hopefully our paths shall cross again one day!

Jon and Neepa

Karine

We stayed at the Secret garden this past January 2007. It was the best bed and breakfast I have ever stayed at anywhere. When you first get there, you are not sure if you are at the right place, (no signs, looks like a modest house), but then you are led to the back and POW! You are instantly rewarded with the most beautiful back yard oasis. You can not help but smile. The rooms are imaculate and decorated with great taste. The staff is friendly and eager to help. I had a wonderful time in Iguazu thanks to the Secret Garden.

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