Perhaps the most famous quote passed around about Iguazu Falls is one said by the United States First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt upon seeing the falls, who reportedly exclaimed, “Poor Niagara!”
The falls are an absolute must-see when visiting Argentina, and the lengthy walkways, gorgeous views, and nature reserve means there’s a little something for everyone to appreciate while at the park. Navigating the famed Iguazu Falls can seem a bit daunting – after all, it’s the world’s largest waterfall! With an edge of 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers), and numerous falls that vary anywhere from 197 to 269 feet high, it’s easy to see why. Join us as we make our way through the trails through one of the world’s most impressive waterfalls.
Know Before You Go
- Currency: Argentine Peso (ARS). The USD to ARS rate is currently about $1 USD – $18.65 ARS, and inflation is fairly regular occurrence in Argentina, so be sure to check local prices before you visit.
- Getting there – There are numerous ways to arrive at Iguazu Falls
- Fly: On the Argentinian side, you’ll fly into Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR), but if you’re arriving on the Brazilian side, you’ll land at Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU). Both airports are not terribly far from the falls, however, keep in mind that Americans require a visa to enter Brazil (and the Brazilian side of the falls). Flights between Buenos Aires and the Iguazu area are just under 2 hours, and will cost anywhere from $300-$500 USD round trip depending on the season and how far in advance you book.
- Bus: In Argentina, long-distance buses are not an unusual way to travel, and you can find many companies that will take you between Buenos Aires and Puerto Iguazu, the city that borders Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side. Buses typically compe equipped with TV, wifi, with a meal served on board, plus, if you book a “cama” or “supercama” seat, you’ll have one that reclines flat (or well, just about). While not terribly expensive (flatbed tickets will run you around $160-250 USD round trip), travel time is around 16-18 hours, so this isn’t the best option for those without much time.
- Language: On the Argentinian side, you’ll find the signs are written in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
- To/From the Airport:
- Taxi: A taxi to and from the Falls from the Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR) will cost you $500 ARS ($27 USD). If paying by credit card, pay at the taxi office before getting in a cab.
- Credit Cards vs Cash: On the Argetina side, cash is more readily accepted. While restaurants in the park take credit card, you you’ll have to pay cash for the park admission ticket, payable in local currency.
- ATMs: While you’ll find an ATM at IGR, it is not unusual for it to be out of cash (there’s only one ATM terminal). You’ll find plenty of ATMs at the Iguazu Park Visitor Center.
- Park Admission Fees:
- Argentina: $500 ARS ($28 USD) – those visiting two days in a row can receive a 50% discount on the second day ticket if you have your ticket stamped before leaving the park on day one. Cash only, ATMs available at park entrance. Park hours – 8 AM to 6 PM.
- Brazil: R$63 BRL ($24 USD). Credit cards accepted at park entrance. Park hours – 9 AM to 5 PM.
Note: If you are entering leaving one country’s park and entering another – ie, leaving the Brazil side to enter Argentina. – you will have to pay the second park fee, as the parks are operated and maintained separately.
- What to Pack:
- Shoes: You won’t need special shoes to explore the park (assuming you stay on the walkways), but we recommend packing comfortable walking shoes.
- Clothes: Expect to get at least a little bit wet on your visit, so wearing sweat-wicking clothes will be your best bet (though anything comfortable will do, really). Don’t be surprised to see swimsuit-clad visitors in the park – in the warm months it warms up.
- Sunscreen: It’s not a bad idea to keep a bottle on you while you’re in the park
- Time: Since the falls are located right between Argentina and Brazil (which are in different timezones), you’ll want turn off your phone’s auto clock function. Manually set it to the country that you’re in, otherwise you’ll risk your phone changing back and forth by an hour as your phone pings different towers.
See & Do
- Lower Circuit – This 1600 meter (just under a mile) walkway on the Argentina side offers panoramic views of the fall. One of the walkway paths take you right up to the base of the falls – perfect if you’re looking to get misted (or drenched, depending on the weather). San Martin Island can be acceussed on a through a dock located on the Lower Circuit, and those looking to go on boat tours that drive right up to the falls will find a tour desk where you can sign up for speedboat tours of the falls. There are a number of tours offered, the most popular being the Aventura Nautica, a 12 minute ride on a speedboat that gets you right up to the base of the falls (expect to leave the boat soaked) for $550 ARS, and the Gran Avetura, ride on a 4×4 through the jungly, plus the speedboat for $950 ARS.
L-R: Entrance to the Lower Circuit, Walkway on the Lower Circuit, View of the falls, Up close to the falls on the Lower Circuit
- Upper Circuit – If you’re looking to get up close to the edge of the waterfalls, be sure to make the 1750 meter trek through the upper walkways. You’ll get some pretty great views of the falls, but keep in mind, you’re standing at the top of the falls, so you won’t get quite the same panoramic view as you might get from the lower circuit, but the views from the top are breathtaking nonetheless.
L-R: View of Iguazu Falls from the Upper Circuit
While you’re on the Upper Circuit, you’ll get to approach a number of the individually named (and marked) waterfalls. The views over the edge are astounding (or terrifying!)
L-R: Waterfalls at Iguazu Falls – Salto Bossetti, Salto Eva, Salta San Martin, Salto Guardaparque Bernabe Mendez
- San Martin Island – Located in the Iguazu River, right in the midst of the falls, this tiny island offers some pretty amazing views. When the tide is low (which, according to our cab driver, is not often), you can take a free boat ride to the island right in the middle of the falls. First boat to the island leaves at 9:30 AM, last boat from the island returns at 4:30 PM.
- Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo) – The highest and deepest point of the falls can be accessed on the Argentinian side by taking a train from one of the other stations in the park up to Garganta del Diablo station – it’s the last stop on the train, so it’s tough to miss. Make the 1 km walk (0.6 miles) on the metal walkways built over the river (don’t forget to admire the numerous animals you’ll see along the way), and you’ll find yourself with an impressive view of the edge of the falls.
L-R: Entrance to walkway to the Garganta del Diablo, Walkway across the Iguazu River, Views of the Devil’s Throat
- Don’t expect to find world class meals at the park, but you’ll find plenty of places to pop into to grab a bite.
- El Fortin Restaurant – Buffet style restaurant located near the Old Visitor Center Cataratas Hotel.
- La Selva Restauran – Another buffet option, located in the Visitor Center section of the park, near the main entrance.
- Food Court- Located near the lighthouse and at the starting point of the Lower Circuit, you can grab a quick bite from a fast-food style restaurant at the park, offering food like hamburgers, sandwiches, and fries. Be sure to avoid feeding the animals – they can be vicious about food!
L-R: Food court and prices
On both sides, you’ll find a hotel within the park grounds. For those with limited time, this is the best way to see the park, ensuring you can visit right when the park “opens” (so to speak),
- Argentina Side: Melia Iguazu (formerly the Sheraton Iguazu). Room rates range from $200-350 USD. See our review here.
- Brazil Side: Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas. Room Rates range from $300-500 USD