10 Things to Know Before Visiting the Parque Nacional Iguazú in Argentina

Iguazú Falls
Iguazú Falls | © Deni Williams / Flickr
Photo of Harry Stewart
21 January 2018

Visiting the Iguazú Falls should be simple enough, right? While the endeavour may indeed not seem that complicated, here are a few things you should know before paying a visit to the gorgeous falls located on Argentina’s border with Brazil.

They can be visited from two countries

Seeing as the falls divide Argentina and Brazil, both countries have taken advantage of the tourism opportunity and built their own infrastructure, each with unique pros and cons. While the Argentine side has more walkways, the Brazilian side has a better overhead view.

Iguazú Falls in Misiones, Argentina | © Marissa Strniste/Flickr

The Argentine side requires some hiking

To get the most out of the falls, be sure to do the 1.7-kilometre (1.05-mile) Lower Circuit, the 1.75-kilometre (1.08-mile) Upper Circuit and the 2.2-kilometre (1.4-mile) Garganta del Diablo Trail. There’s also a fun Ecological Rainforest Train that hauls passengers between the visitor’s centre and the trailheads.

Rainforest surrounding Iguazú | © Aleksandra H. Kossowska / Shutterstock

Visa requirements are not entirely straightforward

Argentina allows citizens from most OECD countries to have entry without a visa while Brazil requires Australians, Americans and various other nationalities to obtain one before entering the park. Border guards have been known to sometimes grant entry to visitors without a proper visa into Brazil to view the falls on the condition that they return on the same day. However, such leeway can never be guaranteed.

Triple border | © Marissa Strniste/Flickr

It won’t break the bank

Gringos typically pay 500 ARS (£19 GBP, $26 US) to enter the falls on the Argentine side and 64 BRL (£15 GBP, $20 US) on the Brazilian side, with discounts available for children and South American residents. Expect to pay around £5 GBP ($7 US) for return transport on both sides of the border.

Ticket booths | © Deni Williams/Flickr

It gets hot

Given that Iguazú Falls are located in the tropics, it should come as no surprise that the park has a sweltering hot climate. If possible, try to avoid visiting during South America’s summer (from December to February) when the falls are hot, humid, rainy and crowded.

Iguazú Falls | © Deni Williams / Flickr

You’ll get wet

Spray from the falls travels far enough to give tourists a decent covering of mist, which can be a welcome respite from the overbearing heat. Just be sure to keep your phone or camera in a waterproof bag and wear appropriate footwear.

Argentina’s unforgettable Iguazú experience | © sharptoyou / Shutterstock

You can visit in a helicopter

What better way to see the falls than from above? Ten-minute joy rides are available from both countries and offer the best of the falls from a unique bird’s-eye view perspective.

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Bird’s-eye view | © Martin St-Amant/Wikimedia Commons

There’s an adrenaline-pumping boat ride

Both sides of the border offer daredevil speedboat rides that take you flying through the falls at breakneck speed, an adrenaline-pumping experience that guarantees to leave you completely soaked with a grin from ear to ear. The rides costs around £22 GBP ($30 US).

Boat ride | © Mike/Flickr

There’s an island between the falls

Known as San Martín, this idyllic island can be visited from the Argentine side via a free ferry transfer from the Lower Circuit between approximately 10 am and 1 pm. You’ll need to climb some 200 steps to reach the island’s lookout but the superb panoramic views make it entirely worthwhile.

Iguazú Falls | © JDubya59 / Pixabay

It’s not all about the waterfalls

Okay, it kind of is. But there are a number of fun additional activities on both sides of the border such as jungle hikes, wildlife-spotting excursions, off-road 4WD trips, white-water rafting and kayaking.

Iguazú wildlife | © Deni Williams/Flickr

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