Iguazu Falls, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, is a must-see attraction for any visitor to South America. Straddling Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, these tropical cascades extend for almost two miles and require at least a full day to explore.
The easiest access point (and the part that doesn’t require visas for most visitors) is the Argentinean side. The simple town of Puerto Iguazu is full of affordable hotels and hostels. A swimming pool and air conditioned rooms are much sort after additions in the intense heat and humidity.
A popular trip from Buenos Aires and a highlight in many backpackers’ itineraries, these awe-inspiring waterfalls are always packed with visitors. Take the local bus to get into the park first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Having paid the entrance fee and ambled through the turnstiles, visitors are directed to a little train that takes them to the first viewing point. Along the wooden walkways, the views are already spectacular, but turning a corner reveals the tipping point of The Devil’s Throat, a heart stopping drop that sees thousands of gallons of water spill out over the edges of the earth. Visitors fight through the spray to snap photos and grin at the drama of it all.
Another fantastic way to see the falls is from below. A speed boat takes you almost underneath them, fighting the spray and bouncing along the waves. Everyone gets soaked through, which is a total scream as well as a break from the tropical heat.
Climbing up through various viewing points of the many different parts of the falls, every platform holds a new discovery. Toucans fly overhead and there are hundreds of different butterflies and lizards to spot among the flowers and plants.
At the top section of the Falls called Circuito Superior, rainbows cluster in the spray and line the sky for a picture perfect paradise. This place really needs to be seen to be believed.
Flights from Buenos Aires take under two hours. Visit Aerolineas for more information. Buses take much longer but are comfortable – some even offer beds.
Bring water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellant, a swimsuit/ trunks and a towel. Water-tight bags are provided for particularly wet activities.
Basic entrance to the Argentinean side of the park is 100AR$. Buy your additional speedboat pass before you enter. During full moon, there are special tours available at night. Book in advance.
Take a second day to see the Brazilian side, where you can’t get as close to the water but there are more panoramic views of the falls. You’ll need to go through immigration and get a stamp on both sides of the border.
Next time: Plan Your Perfect St Paddy’s Day…