In 2000 the campaign was started to pick the New 7 Wonders of the World. 7 years later, in 2007, the same group decided to choose the New 7 Wonders of Nature. When the winners were announced, one of them were Iguazu Waterfalls. They are not the tallest waterfalls in the world; they’re not the largest. But they do have that special place in people’s hearts, and we also decided to visit them on our trip to South America.
Iguazu Falls are accessible from two countries – Brazil and Argentina. Actually, Iguazu river also flows in Paraguay, so you can find a border between three countries. However, the part with the waterfalls does not reach Paraguay. There are 3 cities close to the waterfalls – Ciudad de Este (Paraguay), Foz do Iguacu (Brazil) and Puerto Iguazu (Argentina). For staying overnight in Iguazu you’ll probably have to choose between Foz do Iguacu and Puerto Iguazu. There are also limited accommodation options available in the park, but they’re rather expensive.
Which side is better?
Well, of course, there’s no single answer to that. Brazilian side is smaller than Argentinian, but it offers spectacular views to the Devil’s Throat. Argentinian part of Devil’s Throat might not be that breathtaking, but the park is bigger. You can also do several walks around to see other parts of waterfalls from different angles. There’s upper walk and lower walk, as well as couple other walks that were unfortunately closed due to muddiness when we visited.
Ticket to Brazilian side costs 62 R$, ticket to Argentinian side – 500 pesos (in Argentina you’ll have to pay cash, but there is an ATM on the park territory). Iguazu falls are very majestic and walking around them on Argentinian side was quite a special experience. Besides the waterfalls, you see a lot of coatis (be careful, they might scratch/bite/steal) and beautiful butterflies that just sit on you whenever they want. We also saw a crocodile!
Visit Flight of the Educator for an example of Argentina budget.
In both parks there are paid activities you can do – tours, boat or helicopter rides, kayaking and more. If you decide not to do any and you start early, you could see both parks in one day. However, since the border crossing is involved, I would recommend to take it easy and do it in two days. One thing I wish was different is for them to have just one park that you could explore for a whole day without having to spend time on transport and crossing; I do also wish there were more hikes available around the area. Iguazu Falls used to have clear water, but now they wash off so much of the soil due to erosion that the color is brown. It’s often a problem for wildlife, like fish who cannot find each other in the water (seriously). But even today it’s a beautiful experience, definitely worth visiting.
For more, check out this detailed guide to visiting Iguazu Falls at the Wildlife Diaries.
Both cities have airports in case you prefer flying, but you can also arrive by bus – many places are connected to this location. We took bus all the way from Sao Paulo and we arrived to the bus station in Foz do Iguacu.
Getting to Iguacu Falls (Brazilian side) from Foz do Iguacu Bus Station
You’ll have to take a bus that brings you to another terminal. The ticket costs is around 3.50-3.75 BRL. After that, you change to another bus number 120, which brings you right to the National Park Iguacu – you don’t have to pay extra as these two buses are connected.
Getting to Iguazu Falls (Argentinian side) from Puerto Iguazu
Go to Puerto Iguazu bus station, and take one of the Rio Uruguay busses to the National Park. Ticket price is 75 pesos per person one way.
Getting from Brazil to Argentina
While numerous busses/taxis/shuttles are available, we did something else instead – we walked (surprise, surprise!). We do NOT recommend it for people with suitcases, only for backpackers, and only if you can walk distances with your pack on. From Brazilian National Park Iguacu we took a bus to Hotel Carima. And from there we just walked ourselves to the border. It’s quite fun, because that’s something you rarely do nowadays. From hotel to Brazilian border it’s probably around 200-300 meters; if you wish to continue walking to Argentinian side, it’s about 30 minutes walk. We walked all the way to our hostel in Puerto Iguazu. It’s not a super scenic or very interesting walk, but that’s a little special experience.
All in all, we recommend visiting Iguazu falls. True, we did expect to spend more time in the park than we ended up spending, but nevertheless, it’s a remarkable place that you won’t forget.