Visiting Iguazu Falls gives you the opportunity to witness a truly colossal collection of 275 separate waterfalls and is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is an amazing sight and something that should be witnessed at least once in your lifetime.
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend some time on each side of the border between Brazil and Argentina and can now honestly say that there are positives to each side – but the main event is definitely on the Argentinian side of the falls.
Visiting The Brazilian Falls
We were told by quite a few travellers that we only need a few hours on the Brazilian side during our time visiting Iguazu Falls, which was good because we only had 4 hours after a delayed plane journey and transfer to the hostel.
- Do not feed or touch the Coatis – though they may look quite cute
- Bring a coat for the walkway to save 15$ real (or just get wet!)
- Stop at the overlook near the pink hotel for a spectacular view
- Stop by the Parque des Aves on your way home
The airport is conveniently located halfway between Foz de Iguaçu and the falls. If you’re arriving by plane you have a choice of either visiting Iguazu falls straight away or going back to the main city and depositing your baggage. We decided to drop our stuff at the hostel but there are lockers at the falls if you wanted to go straight there.
There is a bus (number 120) that goes between the Airport Terminal at the airport to the Bus Terminal in the centre of town. It’s a fixed cost of $3.20 Brazilian Real and takes approximately 30 minutes to get to the terminal. If you’re catching the bus from the terminal or the center of Foz de Iguaçu then the bus will swing by the airport on its way to the falls. It’ll take about 45 minutes making it very easy to visit Iguazu Falls from Brazil.
Careful as you leave the airport to make sure you know which direction the bus is heading before you get on – just ask the driver.
What to do when Visiting Iguazu Falls: Brazil Side
Don’t get me wrong, this was the first time we had visited Iguazu Falls and it is breathtaking from the Brazilian side. You get right up close and personal to one of the larger falls and get pretty darn moist as you stand there taking pictures on the walkway. The Brazilian side has a fantastic overview of the falls, you can see lot’s of water cascading down that you just can’t quite see from Argentina.
There are a couple of viewpoints that are only a 1km trek and definitely worth checking out. The main event though is the walkway that has two separate viewpoints – be prepared to get wet (or pay 15 Real for a poncho) while you walk. It’s that fine stuff that soaks you through!
Entrance to the park is quite expensive, it is approximately $60 real each and that gets you the bus to and from the visitor centre and the access to the viewpoints and tracks. Nothing more. There are plenty of shops and other activities that you can try (such as the boats to the falls) however be prepared to pay a premium when you’re visiting Iguazu falls as a tourist.
We managed to see everything we wanted to see in approximately 3 hours with plenty of time to soak up the views (and the spray!).
After leaving the park on the Brazilian side be sure to visit the Parque des Aves (bird park). It’s quite expensive but worth it if you like your tropical birds! It’s one of the largest aviaries in the world and houses hundreds of Macaws.
Visiting The Argentinian Falls
As opposed to the Brazilian falls, we were told to spend the entire day on visiting Argentinian Iguazu falls rather than just a few hours, this is due to the multiple treks you can do and the train ride to the “Devils Throat” (Garganta Del Diablo) which has an extraordinarily long queue (if you time it wrong).
- Don’t feed the Coatis (again they’re just annoying)
- Go early / late to train station for “Devils Throat” (or queue for an hour in peak times)
- Take plenty of cash (there is one ATM and it doesn’t seem to work well)
- Take a packed-lunch (food & drink is twice as expensive in the park)
- Do the treks – they’re really easy walks with breathtaking views
How to get there
We crossed the border into Puerto Iguazu by bus, so we did not come from the airport but there are apparently similar options to the Brazilian side for around 90$ Argentinian pesos. We caught the bus from the centre of town – it was a really comfy bus and took around 40 minutes to get to the falls and cost around 100 pesos each (one-way).
What to do when visiting Iguazu Falls: Argentina Side
Entrance fee is similar to the Brazilian side – quite expensive – but I feel as though the money is more than worth what you experience on the Argentinian side. There are approximately 5 treks (though only 3 were open for us) and a train service that takes you between the centre of the park and the Garganta Del Diablo.
I would thoroughly recommend getting the train service to Garganta Del Diablo as soon as you can to avoid the queues, alternatively you can take it later in the day (approximately 4pm) when everyone is heading in the opposite direction. The walk to the Devils Throat is about 15minutes (1km give or take) and you walk across a metal walkway suspended over the enormous Iguazu river. When you reach the end you are greeted by the most impressive waterfall I have ever seen. The sheer power and size of it is hard to comprehend and pictures do not do it justice.
At the viewpoint be prepared to use your elbows to jostle for a good spot to take a picture, once happy walk back and take the train back to the central area.
From the central area, we suggest taking the red route (upper trail) first, this takes you across the upper side of the falls where you can look across and down at the torrent of water from over 50 individual falls.
Finally finish with the lower route (blue) where you can wander around the base of where you were previously, instead looking up at these waterfalls. You also get to a point (just past the boat tour area) where you can take in a stunning vista of the falls. This trek contains probably the best view from any angle that you’ll see when visiting Iguazu falls.
If you have the money and the availability definitely go to both sides when visiting Iguazu Falls, this gives you a good idea on what each side has to offer. If you do this then please try to start with the Brazilian side – otherwise you may feel disappointed after visiting the Argentinian side, which for me, has the best views, best treks and is all-in-all a better day out.