Visiting Iguazu Falls is a must on everyone’s South American itinerary. The sheer size and immense power of these falls are just some of the reasons why this natural wonder is one of the planet’s most awe-inspiring sights!
What is so special about this waterfall? Well for starters, there are approximately 275 individual waterfalls stretching an impressive 3km wide and standing 82m at its highest point.
Iguazu Falls are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it was also selected as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature. So yes, you are going to want to put this place on your bucket list as it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I spent two days exploring Iguazu Falls National Park, on both the Argentinian side and the Brazilian side, and have put together this easy guide to visiting including how to get there, the best time to visit, how much it costs and what to expect!
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WHERE IS IGUAZU FALLS?
Iguazu Falls (also known as Iguaçu Falls) lies split between the border of Argentina and Brazil in South America.
HOW TO GET HERE
From Buenos Aires to the falls it’s approximately a two-hour flight or a sixteen-hour drive.
From Rio de Janeiro, the flight time is around two hours and fifteen minutes or an eighteen-hour drive.
Fortunately, there are two international airports, one on the Argentinian side (Cataratas Del Iguazu International Airport) and one on the Brazilian side (Foz do Iguacu International Airport), making it conveniently easy to reach this incredible chain of waterfalls in South America.
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DO I NEED A VISA FOR ARGENTINA & BRASIL?
Depending on which country you are a passport holder of, you may or may not need a visa to enter Argentina and Brazil. To find out more information and get your visa online in advance, see the links below for both Argentina and Brasil visa requirements.
The falls from above
BEST TIME TO VISIT IGUAZU FALLS
This destination can be visited all year round, however, the best time to visit Iguazu Falls is in the cooler winter months between May and September, which is also mid-season with fewer tourists.
High-season is generally in the summer months between December and February, so you can expect very hot days and a lot of tourists during this time.
Iguazu Falls National Park is open 7 days a week from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm on the Argentina side and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on the Brazil side.
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IGUAZU FALLS ENTRANCE FEE
The Iguazu Falls entrance fee on the Argentina side is $800 Argentine Pesos (USD $18) for adults and $200 Argentine Pesos (USD $5) for kids up to the age of 12.
The Iguazu Falls entrance fee on the Brazilan side is $70 Brazilian Reals (USD $18) for adults and $11 Brazilian Reals (USD $3) for kids up to the age of 11.
ATM machines can be found at the entrance if you wish to withdraw money, otherwise paying by debit or credit card is also an option.
ARGENTINA SIDE VS BRAZIL SIDE
Both sides of the falls offer a different perspective of this natural wonder of the world and that’s why I recommend allowing at least two days to make the most of your experience when visiting Iguazu Falls.
The Argentina side offers several walking trails to different viewpoints, a boat ride along the Iguazu River to the base of the falls and a train ride to the top of the falls, all of which will take you one full day to do.
Whereas on the Brazilian side, there is a shuttle bus service from the entrance gate that will drop you much closer to the falls and there is only one walking trail that takes no more than two hours to complete, including stops to take pictures.
Scenic helicopter flights also operate on the Brazil side that will set you back USD $120 for a fifteen-minute flight over the falls.
The veil of the falls
View of Devil’s Throat
IGUAZU FALLS TOURS
Booking a tour of Iguazu Falls is more expensive but it does come with its benefits. The majority of Iguazu Falls tours include pick-up and drop-off from your hotel or the airport and an experienced tour guide, making your adventure a stress-free and enjoyable one.
If you are looking for one or two-day tours you can book online in advance to avoid the hassle of having to organize a trip once you have arrived.
I recommend finding a tour that best suits you on the Get Your Guide website. They have thousands of travel deals worldwide that are affordable and reliable!
Click Here to search for all Iguazu Falls Tours and book online ahead of time.
VISITING IGUAZU FALLS – ARGENTINA SIDE
Visiting Iguazu Falls is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I guarantee you will never forget! It doesn’t matter how many photos or videos you have seen from these falls, they don’t do it any justice and to see it with your own eyes is 100% worth it.
One of the best things to do on the Argentina side is taking the speed boat ride up the Iguazu River to the very base of the falls, soaking you head to toe!
A speed boat ride is USD $60 and the adventure takes around 1.5 hours.
You can purchase your boat tickets at the same time as paying for your entrance ticket. Once you have your ticket, head to the pick-up point, just five minutes walk from the main entrance, and a 4WD people carrier will pick you up and drive down through the jungle to where the boats are located.
Before jumping on the boat, each person is given a dry bag to put all non-waterproof valuables in and a lifejacket.
Once everyone is on board and seated, the boat then shoots up the rapids and the skipper will give everyone some time to take pictures of the falls before dunking the boat several times right under the tremendous spray that emits from the falls.
Tip: Bring a poncho and a change of clothes if you are planning on experiencing the speed boat ride at Iguazu Falls. You will get wet! There are change rooms down by the river to get changed out of your wet clothes and into some dry ones.
Once you’ve had your fun getting soaked under the falls, spend the rest of the day walking along the circuit trails to several different viewpoints overlooking the waterfall.
You’ll be given a map of Iguazu Falls when you enter the park and it’s really easy to navigate your way around. I have also attached a map below for your perusal.
There is a lower circuit trail that leads through dense rainforest, offering many different viewpoints of Iguaçu and other smaller waterfalls along the way.
And the upper circuit trail takes you across suspended walkways right over the top of the waterfall, getting you as close to the edge as possible.
About to jump on the speed boat
The walkway on top of the falls
Right on top of the falls
Iguazu Falls Map – Sourced from iguazuargentina.com
ARGENTINA SIDE – CONTINUED
I am guessing you may be getting hungry by this point, so there a number of snack bars and restaurants that can be found in central park to grab some food and take a rest.
Alternatively, it is advisable to bring a packed lunch as the restaurants can be a bit overpriced.
Once you’ve had a feed, jump in the queue at the central station to ride the ecological train ride to the topmost section of the falls. Trains depart from the central station every half an hour and it is free of charge.
The train will arrive at the top train station and from here it’s a fifteen-minute walk across the Iguazu River on the suspended walkway until you reach the most epic viewing platform above the falls.
Hold on to your hats as the spray from Iguazu will be sure to soak your face from this viewpoint and you may want to throw your poncho back on to keep you dry.
This part of the falls is the very neck of what is called the Devil’s Throat, boasting immense power and mass water flow that is absolutely phenomenal to witness!
To get back to the main entrance of Iguazu National Park, jump back on the ecological train for the twenty-minute return journey which will conclude your visit on the Argentina side.
Search All → Hotels & Resorts at Iguazu
The walkway across Iguazu River
Devil’s Throat viewpoint
Sunset at the falls
IGUAZU FALLS BRASIL SIDE
The Brasil side is a much more cruisy adventure than the Argentinian side. Basically, less walking is involved as there is only one trail in and out.
Once inside the entrance gate, there are big green shuttle buses waiting to transport passengers to and from the waterfall.
The bus drops everyone off at a bus station located across the road from a large pink hotel and this is where the trail begins, you won’t miss it.
Follow the trail along the edge of the falls and take the time to stop for pictures along the way as this is where you’ll get your best shots of the falls.
At the end of the trail, there are some nice restaurants that are perched right on top of the waterfall, making for an unbelievable lunch setting. Again, the restaurant prices are generally high so bring a packed lunch if you prefer.
And that’s it for the Brasil side. You can find the bus station next to the restaurants and make the return journey back to the entrance gate.
Iguazu Falls Brasil side
The crowded walkway into the Devil’s Throat
The view on the Brasil side
Iguazu Falls Brasil Map – Source: cataratasdoiguacu.com.br
WHERE TO STAY
There are two major cities located close to the falls and they are Puerto Iguazu, on the Argentina side, and Foz do Iguaçu on the Brasil side, both of which have hundreds of accommodations to choose from.
I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Places to stay in Puerto Iguazu (Argentina)
Luxury: Mecure Iguazu Hotel Iru
Mid Range: Hotel Jardin de Iguazu
Budget: El Uru Suite Hotel
For all other accommodation in Puerto Iguazu, Click Here to search on booking.com
Places to stay in Foz do Iguazu (Brasil)
Luxury: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
Mid Range: Vivaz Cataratas Hotel Resort
Budget: Hotel Dany
For all other accommodation in Foz do Iguaçu, Click Here to search on booking.com
MORE CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA TRAVEL GUIDES
If you are planning a trip to Central and South America, be sure to check out my other travel guides below that you might find useful while crafting together your itinerary:
- Mexico: 4 Week Mexico Itinerary
- Guatemala: 2 Week Guatemala Itinerary
- Cuba: 10 Day Cuba Itinerary
- Peru: Backpacking Peru – 3 Week Itinerary
- Bolivia: Things To Do In Bolivia
- Brazil: 2 Day Rio De Janeiro Itinerary
- Argentina: Things To Do In Argentina
- Chile: Things To Do In Chile
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