Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, Iguazu Waterfalls (Cataratus Iguazú), the largest waterfall in the world.
The Falls are located in Northern Argentina on the border with Brasil. In fact, you can view the falls from either country.
- 1. How to get there: bus, plane or private car. Bus is the most economical, but, from Buenos Aires, it is about 17 hours. Plane tickets will cost approximately $350-$550.
- 2. Where to stay: Puerto Iguazu is the town associated with the Falls. Your choices range from the Sheraton (which is actually inside the Park) to hostels, prices accordingly. Many of the hotels are located on Hwy 12 (the road to Iguazu Falls). This is about a 10 minute bus ride into town and about 25 minute bus ride to the Falls. I suggest a room in Puerto Iguazu making it easier to eat and shop.
- 3. Where to eat: Finding food is easy in Puerto Iguazu. There is everything from fast food to nice restaurants. Nothing is cheap, but everything is delicious. You don’t need a list. If you see a restaurant that looks appealing, go for it.
- 4. Tour companies: I didn’t use a tour company to book my trip to the Falls. There is no magic to getting the most out of the Falls. You get on the bus, arrive, get off the bus, buy a ticket. The Falls are divided into three main areas: Garganta Diablo (the big one – use the train at the park to get there), Upper and Lower Falls. I used Hunt & Fish Safaris in Argentina to book my fishing trip. Susana Mendoza is attentive and pays attention to details. I highly recommend her. Whatever you want to do, she will help you reach your goal.
- 5. Best time to go: The summer months (Dec, Jan, Feb) are high season. The crowds are tremendous. I went in July. Certainly there were an ample supply of people, but no long waiting in line. The weather is in the 70’s. Couldn’t get more perfect than this!
- 6. Getting the most out of the park:
- Coati: these are fun little animals (similar to the racoon) who love to steal your food. They hang-out by the train and provide an infinite amount of entertainment.
- Tour groups: the park opens at 8:00 a.m. The tour groups arrive around 9:00. You want to be there ahead of them or after them (most are gone by noon). The park stays open until 6:00 p.m. Plan on spending about six hours at the park. There really is that much to see.
- Train: the narrow gauge train is part of the cost of admission ($660 Argentina pesos – $45 USD). It goes to Garganta Diablo (Big Devil), the largest of the waterfalls. Do not miss this!
- Park Fee: entrance fee is $330 Argentine Pesos ($22.00 USD). They ONLY accept cash so make sure you arrive with cash in hand. They tell you there are ATM’s, but they rarely have money in them. This could really spoil your trip. When I was there three young men arrived without enough cash and the ATM had no cash. They had to return to Puerto Iguazu and get money. If you plan to spend two days at the Falls, have your ticket stamped before you leave the park the first day. This will entitle you to a 50% discount on the second day.
- Brasil side of the Falls: seeing the Brasil side of the Falls is easy. You can take a bus. Immigration into Brasil is easy. Because of the Rio Olympics, Brasil has suspended the $160.00 reciprocal entrance fee for all nations. The difference in the two sides is the perspective of the Falls. You get more of a panorama on the Brasil side. The Argentina side is up-close and personal.
- Rain gear: Either bring a rain poncho or plan to buy an inexpensive one at the park. You will get
wet. There are several activities, such as the boat that goes under one of the falls, where even a poncho won’t help keep you dry.
- Museum at entrance of Park: to the right of the park entrance is a history of the park presented in
easy to follow panels. Take about 30 minutes to learn about the flora and fauna, the indigenous peoples and the magnitude of the forest.
If you have a “bucket list” or simply looking for some place to visit…besides Paris, I highly recommend Cataratus Iguazu. In all my travels, I’ve never encountered anything with the majesty and beauty of these falls.
When Eleanor Roosevelt saw Iguazu Falls, she commented: “Poor Niagara!”
About the Author:
Annie Coburn currently lives in Santiago, Chile and travels throughout South America. She created Fab Placez in 2010, but the name never really defined her target audience – mature travelers. In 2014, she changed the name to FAB Senior Travel, and with the help of some very talented people, redesigned the website. She publishes travel articles from other writers to provide diversity of locations to match the breadth of our travelers’ interests.