A visit to the Iguaçu Falls is a must on many travellers’ itinerary of South America. And for good reason – they are incredible. You can view the falls from both Brazil and Argentina, and each side provides quite a different experience.
Brazil: getting there
The border crossing between Argentina and Brazil was very straightforward. We decided to use the hostel-organised transfer instead of going independently, which would have meant three buses and a lot of time-wasting. So we crossed by car and didn’t even have to get out – we passed our passports to our driver Susanna, who gave them to the border guards. They were stamped and we were in – possibly the easiest border crossing ever, although the Brazilian stamps are incredibly boring.
Brazil: Pros and cons
When we arrived, we realised that we didn’t have any real, and apparently none of our credit cards were suitable for use. We withdrew cash at the ATM with no problems though. It cost R$37, which seemed a fair price to us.
There’s a bus that takes you through the park to all the attractions, and there are a lot of additional activities you can do if it takes your fancy. We caught the bus all the way to the end of the line, where we bought coffee and started the walk back. There was a great view from the top of the falls, and we were walking against the not-very-heavy traffic. One good thing about this was that we were given ponchos for free by people who didn’t need them anymore. That said, they weren’t too expensive to buy. We caught the lift down and walked out under the falls to get drenched, it was awesome, and on the walk back to the second bus stop we saw some wild coatis.
- Organise currency before you arrive if you can. If not, there’s an ATM there which doesn’t charge a fee on this end.
- Take the bus to the end and walk backwards – you won’t get stuck behind tour groups.
- There are plenty of places to buy tasty food and coffee, don’t pack a picnic unless you want to.
- Visit the bird park, it’s awesome.
- Take a waterproof camera if possible. If it’s not possible, be careful!
Argentina: getting there
There’s a bus which leaves regularly for about four pesos each way, but most hostels have a transfer for 15, which we opted for. It was about a 20-minute van ride from our hostel, leaving at 9am and returning from the falls at 5pm, which was the perfect amount of time.
Argentina: Pros and cons
The Argentinian side has a lot more to offer in terms of views and walking paths, but it was also packed with tourists, many times more than we saw on the Brazilian side. The entry cost of A$85 made it a similar price to Brazil as well.
We walked the green path to the Waterfall Station instead of catching the train, and caught the train to the last stop. We then joined several hundred of our closest friends to walk the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) walk, a walkway over the river to the top of the falls. It was a great view but often obscured by people. We decided to skip the train trip back, and walked to the Waterfall Station where the other paths begin. The Upper Circuit has the best views, and the Lower Circuit offers a chance to get wet if you want to. We finished our day with the mosquitoes in the Sendero Macuco Walk, where we saw a lot of wildlife.
- Bring your own poncho, but you can avoid getting wet if you don’t want to.
- Bring your own lunch, all the cafes had the same boring expensive selection.
- Visit the Upper and Lower Circuits first and then go on to the Devil’s Throat walk. You might just be able to avoid the hoards of tourists.
- Don’t take the train for the first part of the journey, do the Green Path instead.
- If you want to see wildlife like monkeys and coatis, don’t miss the Sendero Macuco Walk. You’ll also see coatis around the tables at the cafe at the start of the Lower Circuit.
A visit to the Iguacu Falls is a must if you’re in South America, and we recommend you see them from both countries if you can. Have a great trip!
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