Whether you stay on Argentina’s side of the cascades, or Brazil’s, you’ll fall for its selection of waterside and jungle-hidden hotels.
In Tupí-Guaraní legend, beautiful Naipí flees with her human lover rather than marry a deity. In anger, the deity cleaves the Iguazú River between Brazil and Argentina in two, creating the country-straddling cascades that now form one of the world’s mightiest waterfalls. The tumultuous, tumbling waters here certainly look otherworldly, and with numerous activities on offer in the water and the surrounding rainforest, visitors are frequently waylaid for days. The area’s places to stay are also legendary – read on for our picks of hotels in Iguazú Falls’ vicinity, bookable on Culture Trip.
The Argentine side’s Gran Meliá Iguazú gets as up close and personal to Iguazú Falls as you can. You’ll hear the thunder of plunging water from your room in this upscale residence (and see it if you’re lucky). Argentina’s only lodging within waterfall-viewing distance maximises the plunging vistas: whether that’s the spotless, light, pared-down rooms or cocktail-sipping on the rooftop terrace. Even the infinity pool seems to be merging straight into (can you guess?) those amazing cascades.
The Little Village in the Forest goes for the classic luxury, Amazon-style lodge. The loving workmanship of the log construction makes this Argentine side accommodation stand out – from the cool, chunky handmade furniture to the Jacuzzi bath edging. There’s a library where you can browse a diverse selection of forest-themed volumes and the finishing touch is a foliage-fringed two-level outdoor pool, connected by its own waterfall: perfect for enjoying downtime between activities at those bigger cascades nearby.
This upscale Awasi retreat does a lot of things right. Its location near a bend of the Iguazú River is idyllic and concentrates hard on aesthetics with its luxury take on the painted clapboard style of many houses hereabouts. But perhaps the most innovative element here is that each of the 14 villas are assigned a separate private guide and vehicle – a hallmark of the Awasi group, whose South American hotels span from Patagonia all the way up to the Atacama – meaning each guest can experience the waterfalls and surrounding scenery in the way that they really want.
This offering in the city centre of Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazilian side of the waterfalls hardly shouts world-class waterfalls or jungle, but the quality in this towering, white, glass-ended edifice is high and the location next to the bus station for transport to the falls is useful. There’s a games room, small pool, gym and a varied selection of tours, including nighttime reconnaissance of the falls.
On the aptly named Avenida de Cataratas in Brazil’s fall-side city Foz do Iguaçu, the 170-room Vivaz Cataratas Hotel impresses with its grounds spread out around a striking circular pool and broad tree-studded terrace. Rooms and suites are contemporary and vibrantly jungle-decorated, many of which have floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and facilities elsewhere include a spa, tennis court, mini golf course and even its own mini eco-trails.
This distinctive option on the Argentine side offers rooms decked in smart beige and mustard tones, plus intriguingly unusual wooden sinks in the bathrooms. But Selvaje Lodge’s biggest asset is its long, lovely rectangular pool, backed by uncomplicated but aesthetically pleasing dining and common areas. Smaller touches, such as bath products concocted with yerba-maté, the Argentine hot beverage, do not go unnoticed, either. A short walk away is a bird observation area.
For a chic riverside getaway, few addresses on the Argentine side rival dashing Los Suites Iguazú, from the company who pioneered the apartment hotel concept in Argentina. Even entry-level rooms are large with seating areas, fridges, bathrooms with tubs and, often, 4.5m (15ft) jungle terraces. Public areas are just divine: jungle ferns press around the spa area and the forest-dappled quartet of outdoor pools is a soothing antidote to frenetic fall activities.
A charming, character-rich alternative to the bigger hotels is this tranquil spot in central Puerto Iguazú on the Argentine side of the falls. Bedazzling green jungle foliage bristles around the property, created by an experimental photographer and plant-and-animal behavior specialist, whose dedication to preserving the area’s fantastic nature shines through. Peaceful wood-floored rooms lead onto dreamy terraces. Guests gather on the open-sided deck at tables hewn from rainforest trunks for mealtimes and attentive staff prettify the package.
Hotels in Iguazú Falls’ immediate range are ideal, but you needn’t stay too close. Although this hotel is one of the farthest from the falls and river on the Argentine side, it makes for great pre- and post-falls visits, with a triumvirate of outdoor pools, a spa and lush gardens running into a private area of rainforest, which yields some good bird and animal sightings. Rooms are all over 30sqm (323sqft) too, with jacuzzi tubs and minibars.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.