Iguazu, WHICH SIDE?
I’ve experienced a few unreal waterfalls during the last couple of year’s traveling, but nothing as spectacular as Iguazu. This is one of the most beautiful natural wonders I’ve ever seen and something not to miss when in South America! It features 275 individual drops stretching for 2700m over the border between Brazil and Argentina and is accessible from both countries.
IGUAZU, WHICH SIDE?
The views from the two countries are very different and my first question was ‘which side is the best?’ .
THE ARGENTINIAN SIDE
The majority of the cascades are on the Argentine side of the river, There are five main tracks that you can walk varying between 1km and 7km, all but Sendero Macuco are paved. There is a train line that gets you to the entrance to the main circuits (Circuito Superior, Garganta del Diablo, etc.). The highlight on the Argentina side was Garganta del Diablo, a 1km walkway above the Iguazu river takes you right over the top of the falls, the pathway extends all the way to the edge of the falls.
The view is spectacular and you are really in the thick of things here. On the pathway look down, there are some big fish and many turtles swimming in the river. Walking on the pathway you will be surrounded by thousands of butterflies, with many of them often sitting on you. To hike all 5 trails takes the whole day and is more than 15km.
Getting there: The Argentinian side of the falls can be reached by bus from the town Puerto Iguazu. Buses run from the main bus terminal about every 20 minutes, the bus tickets are very expensive at 100 AR$ ($7/R112)
Hitchhiking: Since buses are so expensive we decided to hitchhike (on principle, we are Stingy Nomads), this gamble did not pay of and we almost did not go. After waiting way to long we took a taxi for the same price as a bus.
Entrance 330 AR$ ($23.50/R340)
THE BRAZILIAN SIDE
On the Brazilian side you can walk almost into the Devil’s throat, guaranteed that you will get wet! Wear waterproof clothing, some people came in boardshorts and bring protection for your camera. Most of the falls are farther away, but you can get a better panoramic overview of them making nice pictures.
In comparison, the walk along the Brazilian side is relatively shorter, even if you take your time to explore, you’ll generally need just a half-day to walk it. There are trails along the way, but they are all extra paid activities/routes.
Price: R$52 ($14.70/R230)
Getting there: The Brazilian falls are located close to Foz do Iguacu. Buses leave from the local bus terminal to the national park. It runs every half hour and it only costs R$6 ($1.70/R26).
Argentinian side – Iguazu Jungle Explorer, offers trips, including boat rides and rides on 4WD trucks through the park
Brazilian side – Macuco Safari, offers boat trips up to the base of the Iguaçu Falls in 20 person zodiac boats. Your tour starts at the roadside entrance gate where you board the truck that will take you through the jungle towards the drop-off point
Should you see both sides (Brazil and Argentina) of the falls?
Most people ‘ask should I see both?’ and ‘which side is the best?
I asked the same, entrance is quite expensive and since I already bought a plain ticket home I was low on money and time. Nobody that I asked wanted to pick a side and I am glad that I spent a day at each, but I will stick my neck out and give you my opinion.
I thought the views on the Brazil side was better, panoramic views of a network of 275 waterfalls spanning an area of 3km wide area with rainbows everywhere. Add to that walking almost into the Devil’s throat, it made for some spectacular photo opportunities.
I had a better experience on the Argentina side, I enjoyed the 15km of trails to some spectacular views. Walking right on to the waterfall at Garganta del Diablo, seeing that mass of water tumbling down right in front of you was spectacular.
Argentina: $24 (entrance) + $7 (transport) = $31
Brazil: $15 (entrance) + $2 (transport) = $17
US citizens need a visa to enter Brazil $160 and pay a reciprocity fee to enter Argentina.
South Africans and Russians – NO VISA REQUIRED! Awesome to be from such popular countries!
Tip – pack lunch and a water bottle, it is very expensive in the park!
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