I’ve experienced a few unreal waterfalls during the last couple of year’s traveling, but nothing as spectacular as Iguazu Falls (Iguaçu Falls). This is one of the most beautiful natural wonders I’ve ever seen and something not to miss when in South America!
The Iguazu falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River forming the border betweem the Misiones state in Argentina and the Brazilian state of Paraná. The 275 individual drops stretching for 2700m make up the largest waterfall system in the world. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The river flows through Brazil for most of its course but, most of the falls are on the Argentine side. Below where it joins the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil.
Visitors can reach the falls from Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil and Puerto Iguazú in the Argentina, or from Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. The Iguazu Falls are owned by the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Iguazú National Park in Argentina and the Iguaçu National Park in Brazil.
This is one of the most popular tourist sites in South America, similar to Machu Picchu there will be thousands of tourists, but it is so spectacular it did not even bother me to much, I was in awe.
Iguazu – The Devils Throat (Garganta del Diablo)
The Devil’s Throat is the largest and most impressive of the falls at Iguazu. About half the Iguazu River’s flow is forced through this 150m wide and 700m long fisure, dropping 80m with amazing power. Viewing this powerful force of nature from the Argentina and Brazil sides are two very different experiences.
Visiting Iguazu Falls – which side is the better?
Since the experience from the two countries are very different, my first question was ‘which side is the best?’ About 80 % of the falls are on the Argentina side, but does this necessarily mean it is better?
Iguazu Falls Argentina
Most people stay in Puerto Iguazu, about 20 km from the falls on the Argentinean side. With so many falls, the Argentina side definitely has more to see, with many paths to walk.
Inside the park catch the Ecological Jungle Train to the Falls Station the start of the 2 main walking trails. The train is a quiet, natural gas powered train that leaves from close to the park entrance. It is a 25 minute train ride runs along 14km of track through remote parts of the park to the station.
From here there are five main trails that you can walk varying between 1km and 7km, all but Sendero Macuco are paved. The train line gets you to the entrance of the main circuits. 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.
From Falls Station it takes about 2 to 3 hours to walk the upper and lower circuit, there are toilets and restaurants at the station.
The Lower Circuit is about a 2km walk that gets you closer to the falls, with 8 designated lookouts there are some amazing photo spots. We walked about 2 hours on this circuit.
Upper Circuit has nice panoramic views and we saw some beautiful rainbows form over the falls!
Some more trails to explore; Green Trail, Rain forest Trail, Macuco Trail and the Devil’s Throat Trail. So, after you’ve explored the two main circuits, you can walk or catch the train to the Devil’s Throat station.
The spectacular Devil’s Throat is the highlight, 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 of the Devil’s throat on this side is an areal view, the thundering roar of this mass of water tumbling over the cliff is awesome. From here it is a little over 1 km to La Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat) which is nothing short of spectacular. You can feel and hear and see the power 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.
Getting to Iguazu Falls – Argentina
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 starting at 7am, return ticket from Puerto Iguazu Bus Terminal to Argentina National Park is 170 Argentinean pesos ($2.25), 85 pesos one way. Travel time is about 40 minutes from Puerto Iguazu Bus to the Park.
Taxi – about 650 pesos ($17)
Hitchhiking: We tried to hitchhike but could not get a ride.
Iguazu Falls Price -Argentina
- You can purchase your ticket at the entrance of the Park in cash (Argentine pesos only) or credit card. Staying in the park is allowed from 08:00 am to 6:00 pm local time. Ticket sale and access are allowed until 4:30 pm.
- Price December 2018 – AR$700,00 ($17.45)
- 50% discount to enter a second day, remember to validate your ticket at the box-offices at the end of your first-day visit
Iguazu Falls Accommodation – Argentina
- On a Budget
- Rio Iguazu Hostel Great value for money, dorm beds, air con, swimming pool
- Mid Range
- Departamentos El Chileno Very nice, new apartments. Very clean, Excellent location close to bus station, supermarket. restaurants everything you need.
- Treat Yourself
- Loi Suites Iguazu Hotel 5 star luxury, beautiful hotel situated in a jungle forest, close to nature, but with all modern comforts
Iguazu Falls Brazil
The Iguazu falls in Brazil located inside the Iguaçu National Park in Brazil is most frequently visited from the nearby town Foz do Iguaçu.
Iguaçu National Park in Brazil is best known for its spectacular views, but the view of the Devils throat is about half way down the falls, not an areal view, so hear you get really up close and almost into the falls, it is an amazing experience!
There is only one trail to explore here, so half a day should be enough time. Once inside the park you have to book a bus time, which will then transport you to the trail, this can quickly be done at self-service machines. The trail takes about an hour with some amazing viewpoints.
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.
Iguazu Falls Price – Brazil
Getting to Iguazu Falls – Brazil
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$4 ($1.10).
Iguazu Falls Accommodation – Brazil
- On a Budget
- Hostel Mandala Central location, excellent value for money, dorm beds, air con, swimming pool
- Mid Range
- Pousada Rio Das Aguas Very nice, apartments. Very clean, Excellent location, nice breakfast, good coffee
- Treat Yourself
- Recanto Cataratas Thermas Resort– 5 star luxury, a beautiful resort for the whole family, in between Iguazu enjoy the water park with thermal pools, a bowling alley and a nightclub
Iguazu Falls Tours
There are plenty of amazing tours to choose from, full day tours from your hotel to both sides of the park, helicopter rides over the park and getting up close and personal with the falls in a 20 person zodiac boat, we picked some of the best tours, you can check it out and book it here!
- Experience the wonder of Iguazu Falls from both Argentina and Brazil. Walk along trails, take in spectacular views and get up close to the falls. 8 hour tour with English speaking guide, pick you up at central hotels in Foz de Iguazu.
- Iguazú Falls Boat Ride Argentina – Experience Iguazú National Park from 3 different perspectives on a full-day tour from Foz do Iguaçu. Cross the border into Argentina and then take a boat tour of The Three Musketeers cascades for a quick shower. Walk the Upper and Lower Circuit.
- Macuco Safari Speed Boat and Jungle Jeep Adventure Tour – Encounter ecological trails, canyons, wild animals, and spectacular views of Iguassu Falls on your excursion in the Iguassu National Park. Get ready for this wet adventure that you will never forget. Includes pick up and drop off, jeep jungle tour, boat ride into the falls on the Brazilian side!
- Helicopter Ride Over the Iguazu Falls – Take an unforgettable helicopter flight over one of the greatest wonders of nature, the world famous Iguazu Falls. Film and photograph the amazing natural beauty from your aerial vantage point.
Best time to visit Iguazu Falls
The falls are incredible year round! Rainfall is highest between December and February, this is when the falls are the most powerful, this is also the hottest months.
Want to avoid the crowds? visiting Iguazu falls in March/April or August/September- visitors are less.
Iguazu Argentina or Brazil?
So which side is the best Brazil or Argentina?
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.
Want to walk the whole day and see many different waterfalls and scenery do the Argentina side, shorter day, less waterfalls, less walking but awesome views and walk into the waterfall go for the Brazil side.
Iguazu Falls Price Comparison
Argentina: $17.50 (entrance) + $2.50 (transport) = $20
Brazil: $15 (entrance) + $1 (transport) = $16
US citizens need a visa to enter Brazil $160 and pay a reciprocity fee to enter Argentina.
Tip – pack lunch and a water bottle, it is very expensive in the park!
About Author – Campbell
The strong half of Stingy Nomads, a nomadic aquaman that would be happy to spend all his life in the water diving, surfing and spearfishing but often has to compromise with Alya and go hiking instead. Campbell is responsible for all our marine adventures and following them with write-ups. He loves traveling, braai (BBQ in South Africa), red wine and spending the day in a wetsuit.
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