Iguazu Falls, or Foz Do Iguacu, are known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and for good reason. Situated on the border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, the collection of 270 plus waterfalls is said to have inspired Eleanor Roosevelt to utter “Poor Niagara” at the sight of them. You can visit Iguazu from Argentina or Brazil, or both, but we just did the Brazilian side. Here’s how:
- Getting to Iguazu is a pain, as it is miles from anywhere. It is served by Brazil’s very comfortable coaches, but these do take a very long time. It also has its own airport with daily flights from Rio, Sao Paolo and a few other cities, but the flights are quite pricey. Your choice.
- If you do arrive at the airport, don’t take a taxi or tourist coach into the town, the green local buses are frequent and cost less than BR$3. It takes about half an hour to the bus station.
- There are thousands of places to stay in Iguazu as the entire town is built on tourism. We stayed at the El Shaddai Hostel which was very reasonable and threw in breakfast for good measure.
- There are also hundreds of restaurants in the town, vastly disproportionate for a town its size. Obviously this means they aren’t all very good, so use TripAdvisor wisely. We enjoyed a cheap but tasty per-kilo meal at Marias e Maria.
- Of course the town is not why you are in this part of the world. You are there to see the Falls. On the Brazilian side, entry is BR$62 and this includes the bus in the park. The bus takes you to the head of a trail, about a mile and a half long. From here you walk up the valley towards the falls, taking one million photos as you go. As you would expect, there are thousands of other people doing the same as you, so try and get there early – the park opens at 9am.
- The trail takes you eventually to the famous Devil’s Throat part of the falls, where the path becomes a boardwalk out in to the middle of the river. Here is the most spectacular view, but a warning – YOU WILL GET SOAKED. If you want to take photos you need a waterproof camera/phone. If you don’t want your bag and all your things to get soaked, you need a dry bag. Ponchos are also handy, they sell them in the Park for about BR$10. The view is absolutely worth it but don’t underestimate how wet you will get.
- The entire trail doesn’t take long. Even allowing lots of time to take photos and admire the views we got to the end in about 2 hours. You won’t feel short changed though, it is truly amazing.
- There is a food court at the end of the trail but it is very expensive. It’s worth taking a packed lunch or snacks with you.
- There are loads of optional extras in the park. You can do something called a Macuco Safari, where you trek through the jungle for a few km, then take a boat right up into the falls. It costs BR$215 and of course, you get soaked. You can also do helicopter rides over the falls, but I honestly can’t imagine you get the same sensation as being right in the middle of them getting drenched.
- If you do want to go to the Argentine side, the border crossing doesn’t cost anything but you need your passport and standard visa rules apply. You also have to pay the park entry fee in Argentine Pesos, which is a very similar equivalent price to the one you pay in Brazil. Many people with more than one day in Iguazu spend one day on the Brazilian side and another on the Argentine. The Argentine side involves more of a walk through the jungle.
- Next to the entry to the Park is a bird sanctuary called Parque das Aves. I am always sceptical about these places, seemingly cashing in on their proximity to a natural wonder, but it was brilliant. Home to thousands of birds of paradise, most of them rescued from illegal animal smugglers, it is one of the biggest sanctuaries of its kind in the world. The birds there, toucans, macaws, ibis and many others are absolutely beautiful and fly very free inside aviaries. It’s BR$40 for entry and worth every cent.
P.S While you are here: Take a look at our newly opened store! We personalise and print beautiful collages for you to remember your travels in a really unique way. Check it out 🙂 More details can be found here.