“You can’t go wrong” is an overused phrase when talking about Iguazú Falls as well as a must see and a natural wonder.
People go there for one reason; to see the thousands of gallons of roaring water drop from a great heigh, or in layman’s terms the waterfalls.
Some of you may have seen the Bond film Moonraker where James is chased by another boat along the Iguazú river. Conveniently, his boat came equipped with a hang glider which he activated just before plummeting over the edge of a gigantic waterfall. Well this is the Iguazú falls in all it’s glory – I guess you can always rely on Bond to find the best locations!
Iguazú falls lie on the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay and as we needed to cross a land border somewhere in Argentina to start our last leg in Brazil we thought it only right to pass through these infamous falls.
With just three weeks left before this big adventure comes to an end and with a list as long as our arm of things we still want to do we wasted no time and jumped on a bus to Puerto Iguazú.
16 hours later we had made it from Buenos Aires to the little town of Puerto Iguazú where we would stay while visiting the waterfalls. It didn’t really feel as if we were still in Argentina anymore, the weather had turned hot and humid and everywhere was very green – we had made it to the tropics!
I’m surprised I have never heard much about the falls prior to our South American trip. The natural wonder attracts people from all over the world and you can see why, stretching 1.7 miles long and varying in height between 60m and 80m it makes Iguazú Falls taller than it’s more famous counterpart Niagara Falls and twice as wide!
It seems nowadays there are few places where you are able to feel the raw power of nature. But that outrageous roar that you can hear before you even catch a glimpse off the 275 waterfalls creates such a buzz of excitement that you can’t help but have a smile like a Cheshire Cat while walking around the park.
Not content with gazing upon Iguazú’s fury from afar we decided to move in for a closer look. We took advantage of the series of trails, boardwalks and platforms which provide different vantage points for up close and personal views. We opted for the lower boardwalk today and this gave us stunning views of the gallons of water thundering down from above us. There’s no escaping the spray that engulfs you and leaves you a little more sodden but a lot cooler – we appreciated it a lot!
Once we were done ogling the waterfalls we decided to pay the hefty 270 peso (£20) fee for a boat ride that takes you right up to the waterfalls – we couldn’t say no!
Once everyone was aboard and had taken a few snaps the boat captain kicked it into high gear and hurtled us towards the falls. Thank god for Fran’s underwater camera as it captured all the golden moments as we went directly under one of the worlds biggest torrents of water. We emerged like giggling children, wetter than if we’d swam under the damn thing. It was crazy, hilarious and complete must do!
Our second day on the Argentinean side was spent on the higher walkways so we thought rather that getting soaking wet from the spray below we would be able to enjoy the falls from above and stay dry! Well it turns out that the heavens opened for the entire time we were there so we were equally as wet as yesterday – not the plan!
However this is no way took away from the majesty of our surroundings – if anything it completely added to it!
It felt like the waterfalls were exploding underneath our feet, the extra water made the power seem tenfold. The spray from the falling water rose back up above the waterfall, this just proved to us how powerfully that water was falling!
Our last evening in Argentina was spent in the town of Puerto Iguazú, chilling out and trying to stay cool in the new tropical temperatures – Argentina really has it all!
We knew that a trip to the falls wasn’t complete until we had seen it from both sides, Argentina and Brazil. So with that in mind we jumped on a bus heading to the border and braced ourselves for our final country.
The border crossing was straight forward for us Brits, if your American than it’s another story with visas etc but lucky for us we were through with ease. That was until we got to the Brazilian border and the bus drove off into the distance leaving us and all our bags behind!! Panic set in for all of two seconds until another tourist told us this was normal procedure and once border formalities were complete we were to wait at the bus stop for the next one – phew!
The public buses roll through the border pretty regularly so we jumped on the next one and headed towards the town of Foz de Iguaçu. The town here is very different to Puerto Iguazú, it’s very built up and runs like a working town rather than just built purely for tourism – back to reality for us.
We stayed at a great place called Iguassu Guest House, with a buffet style breakfast included and a pool we were sold from the start! We actually ended up spending our first day in Brazil by the pool soaking up the sunshine – if it stays like this I think were going to enjoy our last three weeks away!
The next day we jumped on a local bus and headed to the falls. A quick trip through town and past the airport brought us to our stop, Iguaçu National Park. The entrance to the park is $57 Brazilian Real (£14) and includes a shuttle through the park to the main attraction. The bus stops many times along the way to allow those who would like to hike through the jungle the opportunity to do so, they also offer white water rafting and repelling but unfortunately way out of our budget, so we just opted for the short 1.5km walk to the falls!
My expectations were high and I thought what we had seen and experienced in Argentina was going to be impossible to beat! Well that first view of the falls absolutely took our breath away. Brazil offers a more panoramic view of the falls which allows you to see them in their full glory – it’s just utterly beautiful!
From that moment on it just got better and better, the more we walked the closure to the falls we became. The pathway runs parallel to the Iquazu river and of course more waterfalls so for our entire walk we were blown away with epic view after epic view! One moment you could be staring in bewilderment at the beautiful falls and the next in terror at a spider the size of your hand. Iguazu is set in a lush, jungle environment, lots of tropical plants, flowers, insects, and animals surround the falls and just add to enjoyment of it all!
The walk leads you towards a section called ‘Devils Throat’ or ‘La Garganta del Diablo’ in Spanish. This is a seriously impressive section of the falls, where 50% of the entire falls’ flow runs into a narrow section, letting out a deep roar and a huge amount of mist. You are able to get much closer on the Argentinean side but unfortunately it was closed while we were there so the only opportunity we got to witness it’s power was from the Brazilian side!
It didn’t disappoint, Brazil have built a walk way in between two waterfalls that takes you out to a viewing platform where you are able to see the devil himself! Again we got absolutely drenched, my camera had his waterproof jacket on, me on the other hand – absolutely soaked! It’s fantastic 🙂
I’d heard many times that your not able to get as close to the falls on the Brazilian side compared to the Argentinean side. Well that’s not the case at all and at one point we were so close to a huge part of the falls we were able to see birds darting in and out from behind the waterfall!
We got the opportunity to take a glass elevator to the upper deck. For 45 seconds we were skirting up the sides of a huge waterfall looking out over what can only be described as tremendous views! Once we reached the top the views were even more phenomenal. As far as you could see it was just waterfalls, from up here we really started to believe maybe there are actually 275 waterfalls, isn’t that bonkers!!
Yes we did the boat ride in Argentina that made us giggle like little children but for me the Brazilian side is my favourite. I felt mesmerised for the entire time in Brazi, one incredible view after the next, and then to be able to get as close to the falls as we did was an added bonus!
If you have the opportunity you must visit both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides, maybe I would have a different perspective if the walkway to devils throat was open but for me – Brazil wins!