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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.