Visiting the Iguazu Falls had been dream of mine for so long. I mean who doesn’t want to see millions and millions of gallons of water just cascading off the side of a cliff? If you’re teetering back and forth and haven’t made up your mind, don’t worry I’ll do it for you. GO TO IGUAZU! See how simple that was?
Searching for information on how to visit the Igauzu falls before my trip was frustrating, to say the least. I couldn’t find enough detail in one place to really help me with trip planning and instead was forced to piece together different components from various blog posts till I finally had one semi cohesive plan. Lucky for you, I’ve put together a guide that will give you all the information you need to know. I know, how nice am I?
Getting there from Buenos Aires
I would buy your plane ticket in advance because Iguazu Falls isn’t exactly the cheapest destination to get to if you wait till the last minute. Although buses in Argentina are extremely comfortable, I do not recommend taking the bus from Buenos Aires to Iguazu unless you’re really dying to spend 17 hours stuck on a bus. We managed to snag a RT ticket for $180 and landed in Iguazu early in the morning.
Once you land, you can take a taxi or a bus to the falls. It’s pretty straightforward to figure that out once you arrive. Since the airport is close to the falls, I would recommend going straight there versus into town and then to the falls. Of course, this depends on your flight schedule. They do have luggage storage options available at both the airport and the falls if you need them.
How much time to spend at the falls
In my research, I came across some daring accounts of people doing both sides of the falls in one day. I considered it, I really did. But by the time I was done with the Argentina side, there was no way I could muster up the energy to then cross over to the Brazil side.
If you want to see both sides: The minimum time is a day and a half to two days
If you only want to see one side: One day is sufficient
What to do at the falls
Once you get to the Argentina side of the falls, head straight to Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo, if you want to test out your Spanish skills). I know, that’s like eating dessert before your meal but you want to beat the hordes of traffic so you can see the massive falls without having to elbow people in the head. There’s a cute little Jungle Train that takes you to them and the conductor will announce when you are at the stop.
After Devil’s Throat, do the upper and lower circuit. The order doesn’t really matter but we personally did the lower circuit first.
There are also additional paid tours you can do. There’s a boat tour and a jungle jeep tour as well. You can find more information about these tours at the front and throughout the park.
For only a few days a month, you have the possibility to see the falls by moonlight. I know, I know how effing cool is that? Unfortunately, we waited until we got to the park to book and they were completely sold out. So if this is something you want to see, be sure to book in advance!
Sadly, we were unable to get to the Brazil side of the falls so the following recommendations are from my research instead of personal experience.
Once you get to the park’s entrance you can buy a ticket and hop on a panoramic bus that takes you to the main mirado walkway of the falls. The bus does a few stops, if you’re interested in hiking in nature along the river. Once you reach the falls, you can follow the walkway along the canyon to enjoy stunning viewpoints. The Devil’s Throat is also a major attraction on the Brazil side of the falls and offers you a different viewpoint. After the walkthrough, you can take an elevator to the top of the viewing tower to see the Igacu River taking the thunderous plunge. You can also take a helicopter tour over the falls. This is only something you can on the Brazil side of the falls!
Getting from one side to the other
Keep in mind that you will need a visa to get to the Brazil Side of the falls. You need to drop off your passport, passport pictures, and visa first thing in the morning when the consulate opens at 9:30 am and then you can pick it back up between 11 am and 12p pm. The consulate can be found a few houses down from the bus terminal in Puerto Iguazu. You can then take a taxi from the consulate to the Brazil park entrance
What to wear to the falls
You will get wet! That Devil’s throat is no joke. I recommend wearing something that dries quickly (aka not jeans….what is worse than wet jeans, I ask you?). You’ll want comfortable shoes to walk in, sunglasses, sunscreen (that sun can be brutal), and a quarter zip in case you get chilly.
Wildlife at the falls
DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. You will see lots of cute little monkeys and coatis but no matter how precious they may look, do not feed them. They can get vicious. Coatis will literally stalk you for your food. I lost an empanada to one of them. I was devastated.
Besides coatis and monkeys, you will see a variety of different birds and lizards and, if you’re lucky, maybe even a big cat.
What to eat at the falls
There are plenty of places to get a bite to eat at the falls. You can stop at one of the many cafeterias for an empanada or a mini pizza and of course, a nice cold beer. There are also a couple of restaurants if you’re looking for something a little nicer, or even a safe haven away from the coatis.
Where to stay
Puerto Iguazu is a no frills town but it definitely has its own charm. We stayed at an airbnb in town and were too beat to check out the local spots so we instead ordered pizza in. Our airbnb had a beautiful balcony so we sat outside surrounded by stunning greenery while we ate our delicious pizza. Not a bad way to end the day. We did find some energy to walk to the point where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet which is pretty cool to do.
If you only have one day…Argentina or Brazil?
Of course, the best option is to see both but one side is better than no side. So, if you only have one day, spend it in Argentina. A majority of the falls are on the Argentina side and you can view the falls from different angles and really get a sense of how powerful they are. The Brazil side is where you will see the panoramic full view of the falls but you can’t get as up close and personal as you can in Argentina.
Hopefully this guide makes planning your trip to the Iguazu falls a breeze. Now go buy that plane ticket!
Interested in seeing more posts about South America, click here.
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