Wow. Astounding. Awesome. Breathtaking.
Words or pictures simply cannot do justice to this stunning and amazing natural wonder. One of the seven natural wonders of the world!
At every turn and every corner I repeated the word WOW!
Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.Gustav Flaubert
A very apt quote. It’s such an awesome waterfall, and does make you realise how strong Mother Nature – Pachamama – is, and how small we are!
Iguazu means big water. Iguazu Falls are jaw-dropping, you don’t just see it, you feel it. The power and the noise of the cascades, the remarkable scenery. A memory to be cherished forever. There are hundreds of waterfalls, circa 275, stretching 3km. The falls are easily accessed from Brazil and Argentina, and you can also access them from nearby Paraguay.
From Paraty we took a 5 hour bus ride to São Paulo airport, then just short of a two hour plane journey. From here we drove directly to the Brazilian side of the falls to enjoy the park for the afternoon.
Iguazu town has a population of 250,000 people.
The local economy is all tourism related. A lot of the restaurants are family run.
There has long been some conflict between Brazil and Argentina due to falls and who it belongs to. Paraguay no longer has any part of the falls for some 50 years and currently has a poor economy.
I stayed in the Del Rey hotel which was lovely with good facilities and about a 30 minute drive from the Brazilian side of the park. A shorter ride to the Argentinian border, but with the border crossing then getting to the park the other side the whole journey and process takes around one hour.
Brazilian Side – Foz do Iguaçu
It takes around 1 hour and a half to walk the most popular route which has stunning views at every turn!
The infrastructure is pretty good on the Brazilian side with a reasonably decent restaurant for such an attraction and a couple of decent gift shops.
The Brazilian side gives you a better view and Argentina puts on the show, and allows you to get closer to the falls.
Argentinian Side – Puerto Iguazu
Get there early to avoid the coach loads of tourists! It takes some time to get through the border but was relatively efficient. Our bus driver took all our passports and we were able to remain on the bus. This is obviously the details of my route from the Brazilian side to do one day trip to the Argentinian side.
You then pass through ‘No mans land’ and the bridge is green and yellow, then switching to blue and white as you get to the Argentinian side. You can see Paraguay in the distance as you pass.
The park opens at 8am and ideally you want to be in the queue earlier than this. Once the park opens I recommend getting the first train two stops to Devils Throat, the best view looking down over the falls. It’s then a 15 minute walk and you definitely want to get there early before it’s too busy! Be prepared to get wet which on a hot day is completely refreshing!
I can’t put the view into words. It’s simply amazing how strong and powerful nature is. You can watch the falls mesmerised for quite some time. The water drops 80m and you can’t see the bottom for the blur of mist it creates. Stunning.
In the park you can pay in US dollars or Brazilian real. It’s not recommended to change or withdraw Argentinian currency if you are just visiting the park. They currently charge around 30% tax if you withdraw from an ATM and apply a similar fee on money exchange. There are restaurants and a gift shop here too but the infrastructure on the Brazilian side is a little better.
I also can’t recommend highly enough the boat trip on the Argentinian side. You get stunning views of the falls from the water, a different perspective. And prepare to get drenched as you enter the falls! If you scream they usually give you more goes under the waterfall too!
The price was around 250 Real for the tour. You get a trip through some of the park in a big open jeep type bus, stopping to look at wildlife. Though as it was so hot when we were there we mainly saw spiders, and the odd toucan.
Then you board the boat – go on in your swimwear. You get a life jacket and a wet bag to put all your belongings in.
You will get totally soaked! It’s great fun and amazing to be inside the waterfalls!
If you want to purchase the video and photos one of the guys takes using a go pro it’s 25 US dollars. They’ll send you a link, though only to one email address. But 3 of us split it and forwarded the link to each other.
There are a couple of trails you can walk too but after the views on the Brazilian side and seeing Devils Throat in Argentina they don’t seem as impressive. You do still see some good wildlife though.
I’m glad I saw the Brazilian side first, it gives you the impressive all round view. Then Argentina is impressive in a different way allowing you to get up close to the falls.
Here’s a couple I tried on Foz do Iguaçu – the Brazilian side of the falls.
Churrasqueria – an all you can eat buffet for 55 real. The buffet is average but if you like freshly cooked delicious Latin American meat this is your place. It was plentiful and so much choice. The waiters come around offering you different types and choices of meat and you can take it as you wish. If you like meat it’s heaven! Otherwise the next one is a better option.
Before I move on they do the best pineapple caipirinhas, and they actually come in a pineapple!
Raffain Shopp is a Sports music bar, with massive portions, great food and good value, and an excellent choice of cocktails! I had the house special ‘Big Caipirinha’, with pineapple honey and cinnamon – delicious!
I’m a little bit behind now with the blog as I’m currently in Sucre in Bolivia, but next Brazilian chapter, Bonito and Pantanal!