Seeing the Iguazú Falls is an incomparable natural spectacle. Renowned among the most beautiful in the world, they are located at the confluence of the two Brazilian and Argentine borders. Do not miss going there if you make a trip to Argentina or Brazil. Based on our experience, here are all our tips for seeing the Iguazú Falls and making the most of it.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, the Iguazú Falls was discovered in the 16th century by Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. It is not a waterfall but a set of 275 waterfalls over three kilometers. The highest culminates at 80 m. National parks have been created on either side of the falls: Iguaçu National Park in Brazil and Iguazú National Park in Argentina. Most falls (80%) are located in Argentine territory.
How to Visit Iguazu Falls
Our advice: see the Brazilian side first (half a day), then the Argentinian side (a full day), even more, spectacular than the first.
See the Iguazú Falls on the Brazilian side
On the Brazilian side, you have to go to Iguaçu National Park, easily accessible by bus from the city of Foz do Iguaçu or from Foz airport. You can book an entrance ticket with pick up and return from your hotel. Once in the park, shuttle buses bring visitors to the start of the scenic trail as close to the falls as possible. 1.2 km long, this path (accessible to wheelchairs) offers many breathtaking viewpoints! You will be copiously watered several times! Allow around two hours for the walk, with breaks to take photos and enjoy the view. The best time of day is to come in the morning, with the sun at your back.
Also to do on the Brazilian side: if you want to spend more time on the Brazilian side, you can take a boat trip, a helicopter flight or visit the ornithological park.
See the Iguazú Falls from the Argentinian side
On the Argentinian side, Iguazú National Park is much larger. Ideally, it takes a whole day to enjoy it and discover all the viewpoints fully. You have the choice between a small train or on foot. For my part, I preferred the second option (provide good shoes, ideally hiking sandals).
The Paseo Garganta del Diablo offers the most spectacular view of the falls. What noise and what power! The force of the water is amazing. Take advantage of going to the foot of the Salto Bossetti waterfall: a good shower is guaranteed!
It is necessary to take the boat tour, which will take you to the foot of the falls! I have never had so many downpours on my head in all my life! Take care to protect your electronic equipment. Know that you will be completely soaked when you arrive.
Equipment advice: protect your electronic equipment, which could be damaged by splashing water. The ideal is to have a waterproof bag to protect your equipment. Your clothes will get wet, but since it’s hot all year round, you’ll find it pleasant and refreshing. Remember mosquito repellent, sunscreen, and a hat.
The Iguazú Falls are located in a border area, so keep your passport when traveling. You might need it in case of control. It is imperative when crossing borders. Make sure you have enough free pages in your passport. Input/output buffers quickly take up a lot of space. If crossing borders by bus, don’t forget to get off to have your passport stamped. South Americans are exempt because it is a free movement zone for them, but Europeans are not!
Ideally, it takes two days to visit Iguazu Falls. If you only have one day, choose the Argentinian side.
Where to sleep near Iguazu Falls
The two access cities to see the Iguazú Falls are Foz do Iguazú in Brazil and Puerto Iguazú in Argentina. The second is much smaller than the first. Whether on one side or the other, you can easily access both national parks by bus. We, therefore, advise you to stay on the side of the country where you are traveling.
Selection of accommodation on the Brazilian side in Foz do Iguaçu:
- For small budgets (and solo travelers who want to meet people), we recommend the Tetris Container Hostel, a great hostel born from a stack of containers. Caipirinha offered on arrival many tips for organizing a visit to the falls.
- For average budgets: look at the offers of the Pousada Sonho Meu Foz, a friendly family hotel with top-notch decor and hospitality! Foz do Iguaçu does not have many charming accommodations. Otherwise, you will mainly find large, modern, and somewhat industrial hotels.
- An exceptional stay at the foot of the falls. For an unforgettable stay in a room overlooking the falls, spend a night at the Belmond das Cataratas hotel. This is the only hotel near the falls, inside the national park on the Brazilian side. The establishment is exceptional from all points of view, be it comfort, design, welcome… Ideal for enjoying the falls before and after the park’s closing hours.
Selection of accommodation on the Argentinian side in Puerto Iguazú:
- The Hostel Iguazu Falls is an excellent choice for small and medium budgets. Dorm options or private rooms. Very good atmosphere with a swimming pool and barbecue. Another similar establishment is right next door: Hostel Park Iguazu.
- For more comfortable budgets, treat yourself to a stay at the Iguazu Jungle Lodge, a 4-star establishment surrounded by nature.