You’ve heard of Niagara Falls and probably Victoria Falls too. If you haven’t heard of Iguazu Falls, though, you wouldn’t be alone. Although it may be less well-known, in many ways it is more impressive. In fact, Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed “my poor Niagara” when she saw the enormity of Iguazu Falls.
Both taller and wider than Niagara Falls, Iguazu Falls is located on the Iguazu River between Argentina and Brazil. It is actually comprised of 275 waterfalls that are smaller or larger depending on the season and the amount of water at the time. The highlight of Iguazu Falls is the Devil’s Throat, a horseshoe-shaped series of falls that is so large and powerful it creates a cloud of mist visible from miles away.
Iguazu Falls is accessible from Brazil or from Argentina. If you have time, try to see the falls from both countries. The majority of the falls are in Argentina, which means that you will get the best panoramic view from the Brazil side. However, viewing them from Argentina is more of an immersive, close-up experience. You can also see them by boat, which gives you a very “immersive” experience.
In Argentina, there are a series of catwalks that go across the river and enable you to get very close to the falls. You will experience them with all of your senses, not only seeing them, but also hearing their deafening roar and feeling the mist. In Argentina, there is an upper walkway that often gives you the view of the calm water before it begins its massive descent down the falls. There is also a lower walkway that offers a different perspective, seeing the falls themselves more closely and getting a better sense of their power. These two walking paths offer two different ways to experience the falls in Argentina.
One of the great features of Iguazu is that, on both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides, the falls are in national parks. This is nature at its finest. No neon signs, high-rise buildings, or tacky tourist traps here. Just the falls, the jungle, native animals (monkeys and coatis), and fresh air. There are plenty of human comforts: convenience shops for buying snacks, souvenir shops at the entrance to the parks, etc. But Mother Nature truly is the star of the show here, and she does not disappoint!
Details and Recommendations
Getting There: Because of its remote location, flying is the best way to get to Iguazu Falls. There are airports on both the Brazil and the Argentina sides. You’ll need to fly from a major city, such as Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro, to an Iguazu airport. It is most economical to fly domestically; for example, if you want to stay primarily on the Argentina side, you would fly from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina.
Staying There: The only hotel actually in Argentina’s national park, the Gran Melia Iguazu has falls-view rooms that are absolutely spectacular. The 5-star hotel also has a gorgeous infinity pool with views of the falls and a friendly troop of monkeys that often hang around. Best of all, you are within walking distance of all of the falls on the Argentine side.
Don’t Miss: Wild jaguars. Just kidding! While there are jaguars in the jungle there, as one person told me, “It’s not good for you if you see one!”
How Long: This is a great place to spend a long weekend. You can see the highlights in one day, but you can get off the beaten path and explore more of the parks and beyond with more time.
Contact: Call us at 434-296-0171 to discuss adding some time at Iguazu Falls to your South American vacation.