Iguazu Falls is at the top of the list for any traveller to Brazil or Argentina, or indeed, South America. This thundering collection of waterfalls is twice the size of Niagara, and being surrounded by lush tropical rainforest makes it quite a sight to behold and no surprise it was named one of the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature.
Argentinean side versus Brazilian side
There is a lot of debate as to which side of the falls provides the best view. From my research, the consensus is: Brazilian side for the big picture; Argentina for close-up action.
How I did it
I was travelling up from Buenos Aires so I visited from the Argentinean side, waiting to see whether I felt I needed to go to Brazil, too. As it was, I was more than happy with what I saw and experienced, and being on a tight budget, skipped Brazil. In Argentina, you stay in a town that has grown up by the falls – Puerto Iguazu – which has plenty of good quality hotels, restaurants and tour operators.
What to expect at the Argentinean side of the falls
It’s very well organised – you pick up one of the regular buses that leave from Puerto Iguazu’s bus terminal to the entrance to the site, a journey of around 18km. Once you’re through the ticket offices, stop in the visitors’ centre for useful background knowledge and an introduction to the falls and their position in the rainforest.
Next, head to the railway station and hop on this green-powered miniature train to the first stop where you can walk the Circuito Inferior (Lower Circuit) and the Circuito Superior (Upper Cicuit). These boardwalks traverse through the jungle with ever-increasing spectacular views through the trees over the falls.
At different points, you get to stand so close to some of the falls that you will get drenched! From the Lower Circuit you can also access San Martin Island for even more trails and different views of the falls. Access depends on the water and weather conditions.
The piece de resistance of any visit to Iguazu is to stand at the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Mouth), which is the last stop on the jungle train. You walk along a precarious 1km of boardwalk stretching over the River Iguazu as it heads there, the tallest and biggest point of the falls. Then be prepared for your breath to be taken away as you peer over the railings at 1750 cubic metres of water a second crashing down to 2470 metres below.
Rachel has travelled extensively throughout South America including Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile and Peru, where she now lives. She has written and edited travel websites for over ten years, and wrote this article for South American Vacations, specialists in packaged and personalized tours to South America including destinations such as Iguazu Falls and much more.