Guide to Iguazu Falls

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Guide to Iguazu Falls

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With more than 250 cascades, Iguazu Falls has rightly been named one of the New Natural Seven Wonders of the World. At 1.7 miles wide and a height ranging from 200 feet to 269 feet, it is taller than Niagara Falls and twice a wide. A visit here means enjoying both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides and their blend of cultures. Here are the answers to your most pressing questions about visiting these massive, mesmerizing falls and how to best enjoy them.

Iguazu Falls FAQ

 

Where Is Iguazu Falls?

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These impressive, world-renowned falls are shared by Argentina and Brazil in South America. The closest city on the Argentinean side is Puerto Iguazu; on the Brazil side, it is Foz de Iguazu. The closest major airports are of the same names. The falls are a 15- to 20-minute drive on the Argentinean side and less than 10 minutes by car on the Brazilian side.

 

When Is the Best Time to Visit Iguazu Falls?

Aim for spring or fall for your Iguazu Falls trip. The summer is just too hot and humid to be enjoyable and winter is wet. However, if you can only go then, you’ll see an incredible amount of water flowing over the falls – 450,000 cubic feet per second, which is about 800 times the average flow rate.

 

What Language Do They Speak Around Iguazu Falls?

The people living on both sides of the falls – Argentina and Brazil – speak Portuguese.

 

How Do I Get Around at Iguazu Falls?

From the Cataratas International Airport, you can ride the Four Tourist Travel Shuttle for about $1.60 per person or a remis (taxi) for about $5. You may also take the public bus from the main terminal at Puerto Iguazu for about $6 (runs every 20 minutes or so). On the Brazil side, the public bus runs every 22 minutes or so from the main terminal of Foz de Iguazu and costs $1 per person.

 

Should I Visit the Brazil or Argentina Side of Iguazu Falls?

Generally speaking, from the Brazil side of the falls, you’ll enjoy the best panoramic views, but won’t have access to as many walking paths. On the Argentina side, you’ll be able to walk into the falls along extensive walkways.

Benefits of Argentina Side of Cataratas del Iguazú:

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Argentina “owns” more than two-thirds of the falls, so it’s on this side that you’ll be able to do the most exploring. Be sure to walk the Devil’s Throat boardwalks to see the horseshoe-shaped veil of 14 cascades. Pack a waterproof jacket and visit the incredible viewpoint of the Garganta del Diablo, where you can stand right at the mouth of the torrent of water. And, don’t miss the a speedboat ride right under the falls, followed by a wildlife safari.

 

Benefits of Brazilian Side of Foz do Iguacu:

 While the Brazilian side of the falls isn’t as large as the Argentinian side, the views more than make up for it. Take the glass elevator from the top viewing deck to the boardwalk for the best panoramas. (The water spray is minimal, so there’s less chance of damaging your camera.) On this side, too, you have the chance to take a helicopter ride. And, on the Brazilian side, you’ll see plenty of wildlife, largely birds. The Parques das Aves is home to 150 species of birds, including toucans, flamingos and eagles. 

What Can I Do at Iguazu Falls?

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Expect to spend two full days visiting Iguazu Falls and the surrounding area. This includes seeing the spectacular falls, as well as shopping for local goods and crafts and enjoying the regional cuisine. Highlights include:

 

  • Bela Visa Biological Refuge (Foz do Iguacu): Take a two-hour guided tour to visit the 50 resident animals, including monkeys, anteaters and jaguars.
  • Jardin de los Picaflores (Puerto Iguazu): Stop here for hundreds of hummingbirds.
  • Iguazu National Park: Explore the subtropical forest of National Iguacu Park (you visit areas of both Argentina and Brazil), walk to the base of Salta Floriano, take the elevator to the top of the falls or walk out over them at Salto Union. Don a protective rain suit on the Argentinean side and walk along the catwalks over Devil’s Gorge. There are a few swimmable areas in this section, as well.
  • Take a Boat Ride: While you can zip line or take a “train” ride through the jungle, one of the can’t-miss activities at Iguazu Falls is taking a jet boat ride. Again, be sure to put on your rain gear because you’re sure to get wet as you cruise your way from the Circuito Inferior and Puerto Macuco to San Martin.
  • Take a Helicopter Ride: Get a bird’s-eye view of the mighty falls on a 10-minute helicopter ride. For many of the tours, you get picked up right at your hotel.

 

Is Iguazu Falls Expensive?

Brazil is one of the most expensive South American countries, but if you do your research, you’ll be able to save on accommodations and tours. Consider these money-saving tips:

  • Travel by bus instead of private taxi or guided tour. See above for frequency and typical fares.
  • Choose restaurants/street food in town and not within the national park. Pack food for your day of sightseeing so you don’t fall prey to inflated park prices.
  • When you’re in Argentina, exchange US dollars for pesos at a currency exchange instead of taking money out of an ATM.
  • As with food, purchase handicrafts and souvenirs at a town market instead of at a stand in the park.

 

What Can I Eat Near Iguazu Falls?

Speaking of local cuisine, you’ll want to bring a hearty appetite on your Iguazu Falls adventure. Argentinean and Brazilian food is some of the best in South America, so get your fill. Favorites include:

 

Empanadas: Lucious pockets of sweet and savory fillings

 

Choripan: A street-food favorite made with pork and beef chorizo

 

Dulche de Leche: Indulgent, sweet dessert

 

Chipa Guazu: Salty corn pie

 

Sopa Paraguaya: Savory sponge cake

 

Seafood: Particularly the fish of the Iguazu River

 

Churassco: Brazilian-style barbecue

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