The Iguazu Falls are magnificent. With completely different experiences from Argentina and Brazil.
Iguazu Falls it was a priority on our bucket list after all the positive comments we‘d received. Initially we planned to take the bus from Buenos Aires but later decided to take a flight to Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport in Argentina.
The trip to Iguazu Falls was another of the highlights of our round the world trip. This unforgettable experience is well worth the cost.
The attractive Andes Lineas Aeros prices prompted our change of mind. Andes is a a new low cost airline operating in Argentina. I was impressed - although the check-in was quite hectic we managed to get to the front of the line - the flight went very well - and a trouble free arrival. Being served a small snack box was an unexpected benefit on a low cost airline … so all round no complaints.
In Chile, Argentina and Brazil there's a proliferation of low cost airlines (SKY, FlyBondi, Austral, GOL, Azul) which offer very competitive fares. We were travelling out of season so possibly the fares may not be so competitive in season. Although with increasing competition there are always likely to be bargains.
Transport and Accommodation
We had booked to stay in Foz de Iguazu which is on the Brazil side of the falls. We had assumed we would get picked up. But it is very expensive for Brazilian companies to make collections at the Argentinian airport (another airport taxi monopoly scam!) … so we eventually took a taxi which cost ARS 950 (about USD31).
Seeing the Iguazu Falls is the main reason to visit this area with a worthwhile secondary reason a visit to the Itaipu Dam. The views and experience from each country is completely different and so it’s recommended to see them from both sides. We used a private transport service from our posada (inn) for our visits … it was indulgent, but convenient and we were well looked after.
The transport cost to visit the Argentine side was Rs260 (US$68) and the Brazil side Rs220 (US$57). The Brazil cost included the transport to Itaipu which is the second largest hydroelectric power station in the world. The entry fees for the Falls were about US$21 (Argentina) and $17 (Brazil) with Itaipu about US$10 per person.
Someone said from the Argentine side you “feel the falls” and from the Brazil side you “see the falls”. The views From the Brazil side are breath-taking but you also get the feel when you go out onto the platform below the falls … very wet!
Iguazu Falls from Argentina
On the first day we visited from this side. One gets an excellent perspective of the magnificence and magnitude of many of the different waterfalls when walking the three routes – Garganta del Diablo, then the Lower Trail (Circuito Inferior) and finally the Upper Trail (Paseo Superior). Finally we walked the Green Trail from the Cataratas station back to the Central Station.
Our total visit was about 5 hours.
Tip: Start by walking the Green Trail to the Cataratas Station – this will save you the delay of waiting at 2 stations for the next trains!
Iguazu Falls from Brazil
The next day we visited the Brazil side. The walk is much shorter but was much more crowded. From the Brazil side you get a greater view of the 275 different individual falls. The experience of being under the falls in the spray was unforgettable.
This trip took us about 2 hours.
After the falls we experienced the magnificence of the Itaipu Dam and its gigantic wall. It has the second largest hydroelectric scheme in the world after the Three Gorges Dam in China and is immense and impressive.
The dam wall spans the Parana River between Bolivia and Brazil. The power generation is shared 50%/50% between each country - Brazil uses most of theirs whereas Paraguay sells most of theirs.
Although it's somewhat out of the way this is a trip well worth doing. The sheer size, the number of individual waterfalls with the completely different views from Argentina and Brazil make it an unforgettable experience.