Iguazu Falls are one of the most famous falls in the world and one of the most beautiful places in South America. And who wouldn’t like to see one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature? The Iguazu waterfalls are not just any falls. Exactly here, mother nature blends the power of water with exotic jungle vibes.
Located on the borders of Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu Falls are making the biggest waterfall system in the world. There are in total of 275 waterfalls that make up this massive compound of waterfalls. And trust me! They will take your breath away. So if you are a waterfall lover, be ready to be spoiled for the rest of your life.
We visited Iguazu Falls in Argentina as we had only one day and couldn’t make it to the Brazilian side.
If you have only one day in Iguazu Falls, don’t worry. This guide will tell you all the things you need to know before your visit to the Iguazu Falls and all the beautiful spots you can see on the Argentinian side.
If you wonder what Iguazu means, there is no surprise coming, really. It means big water. Makes sense right? Iguazu Falls were performed due to volcanic eruption leaving it a big hole in between Argentina and Brazil. Also, Iguazu Falls were announced as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984.
10 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT IGUAZU FALLS
- Iguazu has 275 waterfalls, so if you are into waterfalls, I guess you could spend the whole year exploring them all.
- It is the largest waterfall in the world in regard to an annual flow.
- Iguazu Falls are taller and two times wider than Niagara Falls.
- It is the largest waterfall system in the world and stretching for 1.7 miles
- The Brazilian side of Iguazu has only one-fifth of the Iguazu waterfalls
- Approximately 80% of the falls in Iguazu lie in Argentina
- At the Devils’ throat, 1 million liters of water per second flow down
- Spanish Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541 was the first Europian who discovered Iguazu.
- Iguazu Falls were even featured in one of my favorite movies: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull (2008).
- Iguazu has over 2000 plant species in the rain forests
IS IGUAZU FALLS BETTER FROM BRAZIL OR ARGENTINA
The question, of all questions. The biggest dilemma for all travelers. What side is better? To see Iguazu Falls in Argentina or Iguazu Falls in Brazil?
We really hate that question because everyone is different. It is like asking me: “what is my favorite country?” I can’t answer that question because every country is somewhat different and unique.
The same thing goes for Iguazu Falls. There many discussions about which side is better to see falls. It really depends on you. However, the Brazilian and Argentinian sides differ quite a lot from each other.
Some people say that the Brazilian side is better as you can see Iguazu from the best angle. Some argue that the Argentinian side is better, as you can explore Argentina’s Iguazu national park and have a feeling like you are in the falls.
Well, it’s hard to tell. Many people have different tastes. But here are facts to help you to make a decision:
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
On the Argentinian side, you can see more waterfalls as on the Brazilian side. Also, the Argentian side offers more walking trails. You can choose from lower or upper trails and see Iguazu waterfalls from many angles. Also, the Argentinian Iguazu national park is much bigger than the Brazilian one, so you can also do more activities and hiking on the Argentinian side.
However many argue that the best panoramic view on Iguazu you can get from the Brazilian side. Remember? 80% of the Iguazu falls lies in Argentina. So what is the best side to see them? yes, Brazil.
Overall, probably the best thing to do is to see them both and find out what country you prefer the most. I am sure you will like them both as they are worthy in their own way.
HOW TO GET TO IGUAZU FALLS?
If you have one day in Iguazu Falls, you need to decide first if you would like to see them from Brazil or Argentina. Or from where you are traveling from?
If you would you like to see Iguazu Falls from Argentina you can fly from Buenos Aires to the airport Puerto Iguazú. The flight to Puerto Iguazu from Buenos Aires is around 1 hour and 45 minutes. There are two main airlines that you can use: LATAM and Aerolineas Argentina.
If you feel like taking a day tour from Buenos Aires you can also do that. It will be a long day and probably expensive, but you will manage to see the most important things.
If you would like to visit Iguazu waterfalls from the Brazilian side and traveling from Argentina, you can take a bus which departs from Puerto Iguazu to Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil.
There are also many connections going to Foz do Iguaçu from Rio and other major cities in Brazil such as Sao Paolo, Salvador, Brasilia and more.
WHAT YOU NEED KNOW BEFORE YOU TRAVEL TO IGUAZU FALLS IN ARGENTINA
If you would like to have the best day in Iguazu falls, then make sure to read all the important things you need to know before your visit.
HOW MUCH IS THE ENTRANCE TICKET TO IGUAZU?
There are different entrance fees for foreigners and domestic visitors. At the time of our visit (July 2018), the entrance ticket for foreigners was 800 Argentian pesos. The prices for entrance tickets are raised every year. (Please inform us if the price has changed so we can update for other travelers). For more info check their official site.
EXTRA TIP: If you validate your ticket at the ticket windows at the end of your stay, you will receive a 50% off on your second visit, which must be the next consecutive day.
OPENING TIMES: 08:00 AM to 6:00 PM, 7 days a week, last access to the park is at 4:30 PM
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE TICKET?
Apart from the entrance ticket, there are a few things included:
- El Diablo’s viewpoint
- Boat to San Martin Island
- Usage of Jungle train (the Tren de la Selva)
- Green Trail
- Upper Circuit
- Lower Circuit
- Macuco Trail & Arrechea Waterfall
- Nature Interpretation Center
BE READY TO QUEUE
Even in non-holiday times, you will need to queue for entrance tickets. However, during the holiday season, the queue is so long that the expected waiting time is around 1 hour. Luckily there are many ticket windows where they sell tickets.
Yet, as this can take some time, make sure to come here early in the morning. During our visit, the waiting line was so long that it reached the parking lot with all the buses.
There can be also a lot of queuing to get through the bridges in the National park or even for the train to main attractions Diablo. You might very likely wait in small restaurants to order or pay for food and drinks etc. But it won’t as crazy as in holiday seasons.
RESTAURANT AND MINI SUPERMARKET ARE EXPENSIVE
If you would like to get a bottle of water or a small snack, be prepared to be overcharged. So make sure to bring enough water and lunch. We stopped at the bakery at Puerto Iguazu and got our snacks for a day. You will not only save money but also time with queuing.
BRING YOUR ID WITH YOU
If you are visiting Iguazu Falls, make sure to bring your ID in order to buy a ticket. You don’t have to carry your passport with you, but a photocopy will do as well. Basically, it is just to prove that you are either a domestic or foreign traveler.
YOU CAN PAY WITH CREDIT CARD
Luckily you can pay for your entrance tickets to Iguazu Falls with a credit card. We don’t like to carry a lot of cash with us, that is why we are happy to have this option.
DO YOU WONDER HOW CAN YOU SAVE MONEY ON CREDIT CARD FEES? CHECK OUT OUR TRAVEL HACKS
AVOID BUSY HOLIDAY SEASONS
This is very important information, guys! If you can avoid visiting falls during holiday seasons, please do it. We visited Iguazu waterfalls during the winter holidays and it was hell. We couldn’t really enjoy it due to the massive number of people and families with kids. So if you can choose, I highly recommend avoiding these dates.
IGUAZU NATIONAL PARK
In Iguazu National park you won’t be allowed to walk and hike wherever you like. There are specific trails that you can do and you need to stick to the designated paths.
The paths are also a bit narrow and many times you need to wait in line to pass by waterfalls, especially in high season.
THERE IS A SMALL TRAIN STATION
The Iguazu national park has few train tracks connecting the entrance with the famous Garganta el Diablo viewpoint. And even though you are not a hiker, you can still see this spectacular view. There are in total of 3 stops:
- 1st one at the entrance
- 2nd one at the food court
- and the last one at the Diablo viewpoint.
The train comes every 15 minutes.
DO NOT FEED WILD ANIMALS
Located at the heart of the Paranaense Rainforest, Iguazu National Park is home to several types of animals. Depending on how many people are around and how loud it is, you can also spot some wild animals too. But you can guess how many animals we saw. Not many, as kids and masses of laughing people scared them away.
However, we saw a little cayman, angry raccoons and monkeys.
This area is well known for its jaguars (mostly in January). You won’t see them even in quiet times, don’t worry. But if you do, we got some tips that we found in a Lonely Planet guide: Don’t run. Stay still, make yourself big by raising your arms in the air.
Honestly, I don’t know if that works as I have never faced jaguar, but try it, and let us know how it went.
Also, Iguazu jungle is home to great dusky swifts, and many colorful birds, including toucans and the yellow-eyed bluebird.
As mentioned, raccoons can be found all around the park, especially around the trash cans. They might look cute, but do not approach them. They have very sharp teeth and many accidents have been reported. And they seem very aggressive animals.
I guess they are always hangry/angry…
IS ONE DAY IN IGUAZU FALLS ENOUGH?
If you have one day in Iguazu Falls, don’t worry, you can see it all. Of course, it is challenging to see them from both sides. But if you like, there is a tour which can take you to the both sides in one day. Find out more, here.
We spent the whole day walking around and managed to see almost everything. But, because of many people, we spent our valuable time in queues and we couldn’t manage to go to San Martin Island. That is why we highly recommend to come off-season and spend 2 days in Iguazu Falls, one day in Argentina and one day in Brazil.
IGUAZU WALKING TRAILS
The Iguazu National park is not that big, but you can still spend the entire day walking around. Once you get your tickets, you can either walk through the food court and start with your first trail.
You also have an option to take a train but I wouldn’t miss the green jungle. In total, there are two main walking trails in Iguazu national park (Argentinian side): UPPER TRAIL and LOWER TRAIL. You can’t miss them as they are many signs in the park. Both trails are wonderful and give you a slightly different perspective on Iguazu falls. Let’s see what they have to offer. Ready?
Book your full-day guided tour with a boat trip to be close as possible to Iguazu falls
UPPER IGUAZU TRAIL
We started our day with the upper trail. This trail is 1700 meters long and leads to a couple of different waterfalls.
This trail will take you to the standing platform where you admire the falls from above.
On the map, it says that the trail takes around 2 hours. In busy times, it took us around 90 minutes. So you can definitely do it in a shorter time during low season. The track is easy, and manageable for everyone as most of the path is straight. However there is not much shade, so make sure you have your hat on.
LOWER IGUAZU TRAIL
Our favorite trail was definitely the lower circuit. We loved the views and you have a feeling like you walking closer to the falls.
At the end of the trail, you will come all the way to the xxx waterfall. The Lower Circuit can take 2-3 hours to explore. Also, on this path, you can take the free ferry to San Martin Island.
I loved the walk through the lush jungle area. The air was hazy and you could see the mist in the air. With wind, you will get a little bit wet, which is very refreshing in the heat. It was a bit difficult to take photos due to many people walking here, but somehow we made it. What do you think?
We believe that in nonholidays season is much better and you have more peaceful times.
There are a couple of stairs that lead to the lower parts of the falls for more view on Iguazu falls. So feel free to explore as much as you like.
GARGANTA DEL DIABLO
The grand finale of Iguazu waterfalls is definitely The Garganta del Diablo viewing point. Most of the people come here as their first stop, but we left it as the last thing. Basically it’s the cherry on top.
You can either walk here which should take you around 2 hours or take a train. Not sure if the walk is really spectacular as you have to walk next to the train tracks. The train takes about 15 minutes.
If you decide to take a train during busy times, you might wait for the train for around 1 hour. Also, for the first time visitor, it is absolutely confusing where to queue for the train.
First, you need to get a ticket with a number of trains from a small booth located in the food court. There was no sign on the booth (you would expect something like GET TRAIN TICKETS HERE) so we had to ask around.
It is very important that you get that ticket, as it will show you what train you need to take. According to that, your number will be called.
But often, some people won’t show up and then if there is some space left, they let people in. So when you are in rush just wait around a train staff and maybe you can get in earlier. From the train station, it will take you around 15 minutes to get to the viewpoint.
EXTRA TIP: If the park is busy, make sure to get your return ticket once you arrive at Diablo. Normally the waiting time is again for 1 hour. This gives you enough time to walk to the viewpoint of Diablo and come back on time. We actually did that and this saved us a lot of time. If you miss the train, just act like a tourist, meaning, confused, do not speak any Spanish and they will let you join the next one with a little luck.
GARGANTA DEL DIABLO (THE DEVIL’S THROAT)
The Devil’s Throat is 82 meters high and 150 meters wide. The cascading falls fall down the 700 meters long.
And here, you will have a great view of the walls looking down, which is absolutely majestic. We were pretty amazed. Despite the huge mass of people we still could take photos to share it with you.
See Argentina & Brazil Sides of Iguazu Falls in one day from Puerto Iguazu
WHEN TO VISIT IGUAZU FALLS?
There is not really the best time to visit Iguazu Falls either in Argentina or Brazil. You can choose to come either in the dry or wet season. Each season has its pros and cons. The wet season starts from December to March, and you will experience higher temperatures but also a lot of rain. In this time, Iguazu Falls has the most water flowing through. The dry season starts from May and lasts till August with many travelers coming to visit. Also, the prices for accommodation rise up as well.
WHAT TO PACK FOR DAY TRIP TO IGUAZU
- Hat & Sunglasses
- Fast-drying towel or poncho: if you are doing a boat tour of course.
- Binoculars to spot wildlife
- Comfortable walking shoes: Especially when you walk the whole day you need good and steady shoes, so if you are thinking flip flops, just don’t do it.
- Snacks and enough water: It will get hot and humid, and if you want to save money bring your own water and avoid overpaying in the restaurant in the NP.
- Breathable clothes
- Mosquito repellent
- Camera with the great zoom-in option to get your close up of all birds and other wildlife
- If you would like to take that beautiful dreamy waterfall pictures, do not forget your tripod
IGUAZU BORDER CROSSING TO BRAZIL
Once you are staying in Puerto Iguazu you can also easily get to Brazil by bus. The bus should take around 1.5 hours.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR A “FUNNY” STORY?
As with every border crossing you need to get a stamp. One stamp coming out of Argentina and the other once you arrive in Brazil.
Well, guess what.
We were the only non-Brazilians or Argentinians on the bus. And our bus driver only stopped once, at the Argentinian border for us to emigrate.
Brazilians do not need a stamp to get to Brazil.
So the bus driver didn’t give a damn as he didn’t want to wait for us at the border for us to immigrate to Brazil.
After half an hour we realized that something is off and that we already passed the migration office in Brazil. Oops.
So yeah! We ended in Brazil illegally for a couple of hours.
It was a “lovely” evening running around in Brazil without stamps and especially at night. We managed to get to our hotel (getting miraculously free wifi from a dodgy bus station) where no one spoke English nor Spanish. We convinced our Uber driver (who spoke a bit of Spanish) to take us to the border so we could get our stamps back. He is our hero.
If you are travelling in South America, make sure to use UBER, in this article you can read all about what to expect when using Uber in South America.
WHERE TO STAY IN PUERTO IGUAZU
Puerto Iguazu is a tourist hub so they are several options to choose from. We stayed one night at Departamento Centrico en Iguazu, which was very close to the bus station and we had the entire apartment for ourselves.
CHECK ALL HOTELS IN PUERTO IGUAZU
WHERE TO EAT IN PUERTO IGUAZU
There is a really nice restaurant called La Mamma Pastas and Salsas. We had a lovely dinner there, food was amazing and service too. If you would like to try a typical Argentinian cousin go to Restaurante Naipi, Aqva Restaurant.
If you interested in learning more about Argentinian cuisine, there is an awesome 4-hour experience for you: Puerto Iguazu by Night with BBQ Dinner
QUESTIONS ABOUT IGUAZU
IS IGUAZU FALLS BIGGER THAN NIAGARA FALLS?
The Iguazu falls are larger than Niagara and even wider as it has a span of falls throughout the area.
IS IGUAZU FALLS WORTH THE TRIP?
Despite the masses of people, it is absolutely worth to visit Iguazu Falls. Even the First Lady of the USA was very impressed. So if you hesitate just read this:
US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt words when she saw Iguazu Falls: “Poor Niagara.”
I think this should tell you everything.
CAN YOU SWIM IN IGUAZU FALLS?
Surprisingly you can swim in Iguazu falls and you would need to walk around 4 kilometers to a small waterfall where you can swim. In all areas of Iguazu, swimming is forbidden as it is dangerous due to the drawth of the falls.
SUMMARY OF OUR EXPERIENCE
We loved the Iguazu waterfalls, walking in the jungle and admiring nature. Listing to the sounds of the jungle is what we love. We were just unlucky as we visited Iguazu National park in the winter holidays, and we couldn’t enjoy it as much as we wanted to do.
It was a huge struggle to walk and try to enjoy the views without people sticking their selfie sticks in front of your eyes, pushing you, stepping on your feet. You get the picture right? However, we had no choice and to be honest I didn’t expect this. We felt worse than in an amusement park.
So please, again, I can’t stress that enough. AVOID ANY SCHOOL HOLIDAYS.
I hope you can enjoy the Iguazu falls better than us, and we will take many magnificent photos. Even though you only have one day in Iguazu falls.
Also let us know, which side did you like the most: Iguazu falls in Argentina or seeing Iguazu falls in Brazil. Tough question right?
If we missed something, please let us know.
Are you planning to visit the Iguazu waterfalls? If so, PIN IT for later.
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