Iguazu falls is one of the seven wonders of the natural world – although it seems that everything we see in South America is claimed to be one of the 7 world wonders of something!
The falls themselves are pretty spectacular but there is plenty more to see and do besides them. They are 2 km wide and can be viewed from both Argentina and Brazil. We spent two days exploring them and, thanks to some great advice from Gianluca and Fabio, the very welcoming owners of the beautiful and very relaxing Guest House Puerto Iguazu , we enjoyed this great 2 day itinerary:-
Day 1: Explore the Argentina Side of the Fall
This was a full day for us starting at about 7.30am and ending about 4.00pm. Take plenty of sunscreen and water
Tip 1: Start early with the lower walks
We took Gianluca’s advice and started early with the three lower walks in the park. To do this we took the second bus from Iguazu bus station at 07:40 (30 pesos per person each way) to arrive at the falls just after the opening time of 08:00. This was nice and quiet because many people head straight for the ‘Devil’s Throat’ which is the spectacular view at the top of the falls.
We recommend starting with the lower walk and the island (this was a highlight for us) followed by the upper walk. This is also the bulk of the walking and it is nice to do it early. There is a train (yes a train!) in the park which takes you to the start of the walks.
The walks were spectacular and offer some great views of the falls. Also because the sun is behind you in the morning it is easy to take pictures and we could see lots of rainbows in the spray – we also found the end of one rainbow and sadly no pot of gold to be seen.
Tip 2: Take a packed lunch
A packed lunch is much cheaper and the food at the falls which is expensive and very average. After our morning walks we took the train to the top of the park where you access the Devil’s Throat. By this time the lower walks were filling up with people and we found a much quieter spot at the top location to eat our tasty ham and cheese rolls.
Tip 3: Walk to the Devi’s Throat after noon
This was another gem from Gianluca. The sun comes across the top of the top of the falls so in the morning it is shining straight at you making photos difficult.
It was pretty busy at the top but we waited a little while and soon found a nice spot for some photos. You will have to dodge around lots of men standing unusually on ladders – don’t be concerned it is not a bizarre mass suicide ritual. Instead these men will take a picture of you from there heightened position with the falls in the background. This seemed like a waste of time to us but there you go.
Day 2: Take a car to Brasil to see the Falls, bird park (optional) and Itaipu power station and town
Tip 4: Hire a taxi for the day
This is a cheap option if there are 2 or more of you and particularly if you want to see the power station and town. Our taxi cost just 280 pesos (£35) for the day. It is cheap because while we were in each attraction he was able to go off and do other work, coming back to meet us at pre-agreed times.
Tip 5: Start early and do the falls and bird park first
The bird park took us about 90 minutes and the falls about 2 hours
We started with the bird park which was a little expensive (about 250 pesos for 2). The bird park was nice once you get past the first group of cages which are a little cramped. The bigger cages are actually pretty spacious and the birds seem to be well cared for. It also turned out the Em’s mum’s friend painted many of the signed in the bird park – weird coincidence. It is a good place to see a toucan which are hard to see in the park itself.
It is a much quicker walk on the Brazilian side because there is just one major route. It is however no less spectacular. For us it was also much less busy and there are nice free buses which take you to the main bits of the park.
Tip 6: Take lunch in Foz Iguazu – the town on the Brazilian side
We stayed on the Argentina side and we have not travelled on to Brazil so we wanted to take some time to eat some food here and have a quick look around. We took lunch at a rodizio – you pay a fixed price and there is a buffet of salads and cold food. We were excited to find aubergine, brocolli and cauliflower here having spent quite a few days eating predominantly ham and cheese based meals. The best bit is that every few minutes someone appears at your table with a different skewer of meat and cuts you off a bit. That is until you turn over the little sign on the table from green to red and signal no more. We took a recommendation and ate at Churrascaria do Gaucho which is about 60 pesos (21 Brazilian Real) per person.
If you have time have a look around the town – we didn’t.
Tip 7: Take the special tour at Itaipu power station
Itaipu is a huge hydroelectric power station – at the time of building the biggest in the world. The tour is 2.5 hours long but shorter ones are available if you are not so excited by such things. I love major engineering projects and the great thing about the special tour is they take you inside. The tours are expensive in local terms (ours was about 150 Argentine pesos, 50 Brazilian real, £20 per person) but the setup is very good and the tours can be booked in advance on the website or by phone.
The dam wall of the power station is a whopping 200m high and when you go inside you stand on a platform near the top with a massive 140m drop at your feet (a bit nerve racking seen through the metal walkway the you stand on). I fully recommend this but then I do love power stations (don’t judge me, I am a physics graduate).