Ultimate Guide to Iguazu Falls
Cascading down into the Iguazu River are the stunningly gorgeous Iguazu Falls between the border of Argentina and Brazil. These spectacular waterfalls are a UNESCO world heritage site and were originally inhabited by the Eldoradense people more than 10,000 years ago! Today this waterfall’s strength serves as a power source to both Argentina and Brazil. With more than 40 percent of these countries’ power coming from the cascading gusts of water.
I had the privilege of using Yampu Travels on my visit to the gorgeous country of Argentina. I had been wanting to do this trip for a very long time and Yampu Travels were the ultimate host. They took care of everything! And when I say everything, that is what I mean.
Iguazu Falls named New “7 Wonders of Nature”
The staggering depths and size of Iguazu Falls will leave you breathless and it is no wonder they have been named one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature“. Spanning out for almost 2 miles, the phenomenal strength and power behind these waterfalls make them the most beautiful falls in the world in my humble opinion. Each waterfall I have seen typically has something special about it, such as Kaieteur Falls in Guyana, Niagara Falls along the USA/Canadain border and even Havasu Falls in Arizona, USA. But this one, because of its extra special size and volume of water was spectacular.
Iguazu Falls: Made Up of Many Mini Falls
The people in the area continue to discover more than 150 mini waterfalls that descend from the different areas of the Iguazu Falls. Each of these mini waterfalls can range in length and height, some going up to almost 270 ft. high!
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Argentinian Side –Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls
Since the Iguazu Falls are situated between two countries: Argentina and Brazil, there are two international airports that will get you close to the falls. However, in order to check out the Iguazu Falls in Argentina, it is best to fly to from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls via the Cataratas del Iguazu International Airport. The most common way to get to the Argentinian falls side from the USA is by plane and then using a local driver or taxi to escort you to your hotel near the falls.
You can also fly to the Brazilian side. The international airport there is Foz do Iguaçu. So depending on where you are coming from or what the cost is, you can decide where to fly into. The Foz do Iguaçu Airport is approximately 9 miles from the Iguazu Falls.
Depending on where you are from, check what visa requirements are needed for your trip to Iguazu BEFORE you arrive.
The Argentinian Side
For Americans and Australians, they used to have a reciprocity fee, but as of July 1st, 2017, Argentina decided to suspend payment for both of these countries!
The Brazilian Side
As of June 2019, Brazil has also relaxed its visa requirement for Americans. But make sure your passport is stamped when you enter and exit the country of Brazil
Best time to visit Iguazu Falls
One of the biggest assumptions about traveling to Iguazu Falls is that summer is the best time to visit. This is totally wrong! Because Argentinian summers occur during the months of December to March, which is not summertime in the USA. However, the best time to visit Iguazu Falls is mid-spring, so near or around the month of October. During this time, the weather becomes warmer and daylight occurs for longer hours.
However, if you go in the Spring, your photographs turn out much better because there is less humidity and more flora to see. I was pleasantly pleased that while going in May, the weather turned out to be better than I had expected! But regardless of the time of year you visit, the locals are extremely welcoming year-round. I believe the local Argentinians are genuinely proud of their country and especially of this subtropical rainforest region. They like sharing this gift with the rest of the world.
Visiting the Falls
My suggestion is to try to visit both sides of the waterfalls, as each side is completely different and offers a different perspective. I would say to allow one day on each side, so two days is perfect. On the Argentine side, you can expect to spend a minimum of 6 hours, as there is a lot of walking trails that can take you to experience the full power of the rushing waters. You can get an up-close and personal view on this side of the falls. However, the Brazilian side is more of a panoramic view from the different waterfalls. This side doesn’t take as long and could easily be done in a few hours. Of course, on both sides, be sure and bring your camera (with waterproof gear!)
What to Bring With You to Iguazu Falls
Cash and Credit Cards!
Bring Argentinian cash to pay for your entry into the park on the Argentinian side.
Sunscreen and Hat:
The best way to protect yourself from sunburn is by wearing sunscreen. Even if the sun during the spring or winter does not feel hot, it can burn you. Also, wearing a hat can help with keeping you dry and provides shade for your face.
I doubt you will want to bring your most expensive shoes or heels to hike through the Amazon rainforest. A good pair of hiking shoes or comfortable tennis shoes will help you navigate through the rugged boardwalk over the Iguazu River of Argentina to see the falls.
This should be a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many people get their smartphones wet or forget to bring a waterproof camera. When you are getting up close and personal with these falls, you will want a waterproof camera to capture the moment. I can recommend bringing a ziplock baggie or dive bag to store it in if you don’t want to get it too wet. Today, some iPhones are waterproof, so I recommend using them when possible, then storing them away in your zipped coat pocket to keep them semi-dry.
Rain/ Waterproof jacket:
Regardless of the season, a waterproof jacket is the perfect thing to bring to avoid getting too wet. Most of the boardwalk over the Iguazu River will be fine until you get up close and personal with the Falls. It is here where you will need to get out your jacket and put it on!
Shorts (in the summer):
Summertime in Argentina means tropical weather and humidity. Pack shorts and other summer-appropriate weather for your trip.
Let’s not forget you are in the jungle, so bring the bug spray.
There’s An Ecological Train on the Argentinian Side
The Ecological Train is a train that runs between the main attractions. The train is free to ride on and departs from the Estacio Cataratas every 30 minutes. It is one of the easiest forms of travel through the jungle/forest area. The Macuco Trail is a trail that runs through the forest leading to the only waterfall where swimming is allowed. This trail is roughly 4.4 miles long (in total).
Iguazu Falls Tours: Argentinian Side
Devil’s Throat on the Argentinian Side
Iguazu Falls have many distinct sections in which tourists can admire the beauty of Mother Nature. Here are some of the marvelous falls that you will see in this Amazon forest. The biggest canyon through this rainforest is Devil’s Throat. It is the highest and deepest of the Falls, with a depth of 262 feet (80 m) and widths of 262 to 295 feet (80-90 m). It is also known as the Garganta Del Diablo. And this view inside this canyon can only be seen from the Argentina side. As the saying goes, you can “experience or feel” the Falls in Argentina. In Brazil, you can only look at them!
Circuito Superior and Inferior on the Argentinian Side
The Circuito Superior is considered the upper walking trail of the Iguazu Falls in Argentina. From this trail, which is a little over a mile-long, you can spot other falls including the Bossetti and the Chico falls. The Circuito Inferior is the lower walking trail that is less than one-mile long. It lies underneath the Circuito Superior but it has just as much beauty to see as the upper trail.
Argentina’s Gran Aventura into the Falls
The Iguazu Falls boat ride known as the Gran Aventura offers guests an exciting 15-minute ride up to the Iguazu Falls via the Iguazu River. Similar to the famous Maid of the Mist ride of Niagara Falls, this boat ride will have you standing on edge to catch a glimpse of the beautiful flora, fauna, and falls. You might even get wet! Actually, there is no way to avoid getting wet, so just look forward to cooling off while on this ride! They do give you a dry bag to take with you, so you can keep your valuables, your backpack, camera, and a change of clothes dry!
Cost for the Gran Adventura
The Boat Tour runs approximately USD $50. There are a lot of middle men, so you may be able to get it cheaper!
Where to Stay in Iguazu Falls on the Argentina Side
If you are looking for a place to stay near these towering falls, then take a glance at the suggestions below of lodging areas.
Argentina – Loi Suites Iguazu
Less than a 20-minute ride from the airport will put you in front of this luxury destination within itself located in the jungle. Although this hotel is in the jungle, guests are sure to enjoy room service, a fitness center, a spa, and free Wi-Fi. This hotel is surrounded by nature, wildlife, and spectacular flora.
Argentina – Mercure Hotel
This is the place to immerse yourself in a luxurious hotel but with the added beauty of the jungle. More than 100 rooms make up this harmonious hotel, complete with stunning views. There are at least 10 restaurants located within a mile, as well as many attractions.
Argentina – La Aldea de la Selva Lodge
This is a moderate lodge that offers cultural experiences with the local natives. The furniture, paintings and other artifacts of this lodge were created by the local artists of the Iguazu area. This lodge offers guests free parking, a pool, and family rooms.
Argentina – Hotel St. George
If you prefer to be in the center of the town of Iguazu, then this hotel is perfect. You can visit the Iguazu Falls within a 15-minute drive from this hotel. Near this hotel, guests will find the famously tasty meals of the Dona Maria Restaurant. Why not enjoy a unique dish from the Dona Maria Restaurant after a day at the Falls?
Iguazu Falls Tours: Brazilian Side
The Brazilian side is the side to see the views of Iguazu Falls in Argentina. From what I kept hearing, Argentina has more things to do and allow you to get up close and personal to the falls. The Brazilian side gives you panoramic views. Travelocity sells you tickets on the Brazilian side for only $32!
On the Brazil side, there is a helicopter ride that you can take from the visitor’s center! Gray Line Brazil Tours offers an amazing Iguazu Falls tour with some of the best views on the planet! You will be able to visit a viewpoint on the Brazilian side. Here, you will be able to get out and feel the massive force of the water. As well as you can do a “fly over” the majestic waterfall’s canyon that was formed by the force of the rushing water. You may have to pinch yourself, as it will be memorable! This flight takes you about 3 hours and does fly over the highest water Devil’s Throat as well as follows the awe-inspiring river canyons along the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.
Where to Stay in Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian Side
Brazil – Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
A family friendly 5-star hotel that is near the airport and near Iguazu Falls, in fact, only within a 5-minute walk to Iguazu Falls and the Iguazu National Park. It has a full-service spa, which is the reason I would stay here! Plus two restaurants and an outdoor pool. They also have an outdoor tennis court! With 187 rooms, they have everything you need for an awesome night’s stay – pillow menu, minibar, free wifi, televisions, and 24-hour room service! Oh and free bottled water!
Enjoy your trip on both sides of Iguazu Falls
Now that you have had the chance to visit one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature”, what do you think? I thought it was spectacular! The Iguazu Falls along the Argentina/Brazil border has shown the world their true beauty! People from all over the world are flocking to see it in person. The cascading falls of the Devil’s Throat and the walking trails over the Iguazu River on the Argentinian side will leave you yearning for more. The Argentina side has picturesque views, gorgeous waterfalls, and awe-inspiring flora. Visiting the Iguazu Falls should be on everyone’s bucket list, if it wasn’t there before, it should be on there now!
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Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry, I was provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purposes of review by Yampu Travel. While it has not influenced my review, PointsandTravel.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. All Photos were taken by the author/or were given permission from the photographer. Affiliate links may be located in this article.
About Dr. Cacinda Maloney
A value-luxury adventure traveler at heart, Dr. Cacinda Maloney shares her experiences as someone who has traveled every six weeks of her life for the last 20 plus years. Being a travel writer, blogger and social media influencer, she now travels more than that! She is Phoenix, Arizona based, but maintains an apartment in Santiago, Chile. She is a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA), Media Kitty and the International Food, Wine and Travelers Association (IFWTWA). Read more...