Niagara Falls in Canada and USA? Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe? Sounds familiar? Well, get ready for the biggest and most impressive of them all: Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina!
Iguazu falls is a true (New) Wonder of Nature. We spent two full days exploring the falls, both from the Brazilian as well as from the Argentinian side. The Iguazu falls are definitely worth the stop when you are traveling in Brazil. The views and the experience of millions of liters of water plunging down the mountains is unbelievable.
The border between Brazil and Argentina actually splits Iguazu falls in two. Our first stop was the Brazilian side. After buying the entrance ticket, all visitors hop on a bus that will bring you from the entrance of the park to the actual falls. It feels a bit like entering an amusement park; you can feel the excitement and eagerness of everyone in the bus. All are waiting for a first glimpse of the falls.
Once you get out of the bus you immediately are treated to a first view of some large waterfalls. It looks beautiful but later on we realized that this was only a modest start. A modest start to what turned out to be an encounter with one of the most impressive forces of nature.
You just follow the trail which provides you with a variety of views (and photo opportunities!) on dozens of waterfalls (from the Brazilian side you are watching the falls that are actually in Argentina). The best thing awaits for you at the end of the Brazilian trail. Here you are treated with mind-blowing views of what is actually the core of Iguazu falls. Put on your raincoat or poncho and follow the boardwalk until the viewpoint. There are waterfalls all around you and the sound of water falling into the deep is almost mesmerizing.
We have been treated well by Iguazu Falls. The weather was fantastic and water was plenty. At the end of the day we decided to go on a RIB (Rigged Inflatable Boat) experience. Upon asking whether we would prefer the ‘Wet’ or ‘Dry’ tour we of course picked the wet one! And we were not disappointed. This was by far the wildest, most extreme shower ever! The boat brings you right beneath one of the (many) falls, no escape from the water possible. Totally soaked, but with an enormous smile on our face we returned back to the city.
Mind the coatis. They look cute but they steal your food whenever they have a chance. Their population has grown expansively and feeding is now strictly forbidden. When you eat out in the open, be aware. Coatis (also known as quatis) approach you from behind and grab whatever is on your plate. Not fun I can tell you…because they can bite.
We really recommend to visit both sides of the falls as they offer completely different experiences. On the Argentinian side you walk an elevated path that is actually crossing water and the tops of some of the waterfalls. You look down on the water and literally watch it falling over the edge. The hypnotic view of thousands of liters of water falling down every second is addictive, I can tell you.
We felt the Argentinian side to be way more busy, probably because here you can watch the ‘Devils Throat.’ Not kidding. And that name is definitely not exaggerating.
You catch a little train that brings you all the way to the end of the falls. From there you walk an 800m boardwalk to finally end up at the Devils Throat. Really, this is the most extreme part of Iguazu Falls. No way you can see the bottom. The sound is terrifying; the Devil’s Throat is the perfect name for this extreme place.
I liked the walking paths crossing waterfalls and passing forest area. The paths were not that busy, it almost seemed that the majority of visitors only came to hop on the train to see Devils Throat. Anyway, take your time. You need at least 5 hours but if you want to enjoy all the available walk ways (Upper Path, Lower Path, and Devil’s Throat) just reserve a full day.
How did we travel?
We spent two full days exploring the Iguazu Falls. We were based in Brazil, in Foz do Iguazu. From there you can easily take a bus (Line 120) to the Falls. It’s a local bus and it will cost you no more than a couple of Reals. The main bus station (Urban Transport Terminal Pedro Antonio de Nada) is situated in the north of town and also has a tourist information service center.
Going to the Argentinian side from Brazil takes a bit more effort. You can again take a local bus but you have to change busses at the border. We connected with a taxi driver a day earlier at the bus station and decided to hire him for the day. He took us to the Argentinian side in one straight line including an easy border crossing.
Where did we stay?
We were traveling with the family (6p) and booked rooms at the Nadai Confort hotel. It’s not the most exciting part of town but the hotel has some great benefits. First of all, it’s walking distance (10-15 mins) to the bus station and large supermarkets. The hotel offers family rooms, a swimming pool and in the evening a well-priced dinner buffet.
How much does it cost?
There is no other reason to fly to Iguazu than visiting the falls but I think it’s definitely worth the trip. To give you an idea about costs, your paying 63 BRL (Brazilian Reals) for entrance to the Brazilian side where in Argentina you will be charged 500 ARS (Argentinian Peso). Forget about the need for cash on the Argentinian side, you can pay with cards and ATM’s are available.
The RIB boat trip in Brazil doesn’t come cheap so check the website if you plan to go.
Restaurants and coffee bars are all over the park and decently priced. Of course you can bring your own lunch but again, beware of the coatis. They are already waiting for you to arrive…. #yummi
What makes Iguazu special?
When traveling to Brazil or Argentina the Iguazu Falls always means a detour. But I think it’s worth it, especially if you are a big fan of Mother Nature! Iguazu offers two completely different experiences. On the Argentinian side you can pass the top of waterfalls and literally walk into the deep core of the falls at Devil’s Throat. The Brazilian side offers better panoramic views of the falls. Both are equally impressive, as you can see on the big smile on our faces.
Text and photography by: Emiel van den Boomen