When we think about waterfalls, the picture of Niagara comes to our mind. (Though for me, it is Jog falls as it is my native place!!) But Iguazu waterfall in Argentina Brazil border surpasses Niagara in many aspects. Iguazu falls is one of the largest waterfall system in the world. It is 2.7 kms wide and height varies between 197 and 269 feet. While Jog falls has 4 falls (Raja, Roarer, rocket and lady), Iguazu has 275 falls!! I am giving this information just to give a view on how massive the waterfall is. The photos here cannot show the grandeur of the falls.
Traveling to Iguazu
Iguazu is located in a remote corner of Argentina Brazil border. The nearest town in Argentina is Puerto Iguazu which is about 20km from falls. The two ways to reach that place from Buenos is by bus or flight. Bus is the cheapest mode of transport but the journey time is about 20 hours. Flight is expensive, especially for foreign nationals. As I had restrictions on time, I had to fly from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu. The journey time was 1.5 hours.
As we were about to land in Puerto Iguazu, the captain announced that they have been asked to “hold” for few minutes before landing. He flew the flight on top of Iguazu falls!! That was a huge bonus for making the journey by flight. I usually take Aisle seat but that day I was sitting next to the window. Pilot said that he will ensure that both sides will get a chance to look at the falls. That was an amazing 10 minutes of flight. The flight was also flying at low altitude providing some stunning views.
Reaching Iguazu falls from Airport
I had kept my luggage in Buenos Aires and had come with only handbag. That saved the time of waiting for the luggage. My stay was in Puerto Iguazu but since it was 20 km away, I decided to visit falls and then go to the town. But there was no public transport from airport to Iguazu falls. The taxis charged 700 pesos for waterfall.
Nearly 80% of falls is in Argentina and rest in Brazil. Naturally, Argentina side has lot of trails and also provides a very close look of the falls. Brazil side provides a complete view of the falls, the scene which is not possible from Argentina side!! But it is not possible to just cross over to Brazil unless you have a visa. The three main trails on Argentina side are Devil’s throat, upper circuit trail and lower circuit trail. All trails provide different experiences. It is a large area and it is required to walk a lot. The weather is usually hot and humid!!
I decided to visit the most dramatic part of Iguazu falls, Devils’ throat. It is on the other end from the entrance and is connected by a 6km ecological jungle train. The slow train gave a view of the forest in the area. From the final stop, I had to walk for 1.2 km over bridges on the river to reach the “mouth” of the falls.
The sound was deafening, the mist rising from the sheer amount of water and the drop and it was impossible to remain there without getting wet!! What an experience!! You can put your head down and see the “Devil’s throat” but the base of the falls will not be seen!! Taking photos was difficult as I had to take care of camera from getting wet.
Lower circuit (Circuito Inferior)
Having seen the “must see” Devil’s throat, it was time to walk on the circuits. I reached the entrance of circuits by taking the train back. It was hot and humid and hence I purchased water and light snacks from a small shop so that I could endure the long walk on the circuits. I started with lower circuit and the trail was well marked.
Lower circuit goes along the middle and lower section of the waterfalls providing some nice panoramic views. Some viewpoints provide very close view of the falls. One has to be prepared to get wet!!
There are short detours that take to some “individual waterfalls”.
Upper circuit (Circuito Superior)
As the name suggest, this trail passes through the upper part of the waterfalls providing some stunning views.
Beware of Coati
I need to mention about this mammal native to South and Central America. I was very happy when I saw them in the wild while walking on the trails in Iguazu waterfall. But they are notorious and are very similar to the monkeys in behaviour. At one of the resting place, I kept my bag down and was resting. Few Coatis came nearby but I was not worried as they were used to human beings. But they smelled food and were opening the zip of the bag!! I did not realise at the start but then I was shocked to see that were in control of my bag. I shouted and pulled by bag back. More than the food, I was worried about my passport in the bag. Coatis did not seem responsible enough to manage passports!!
Their bite can also be dangerous as they carry virus. Better to keep healthy distance from them!!
- It requires a day to explore the waterfalls in Argentina side.
- It is possible to get Brazil visa in a day by providing documents and visa fee.
- Argentina side requires lot of walking which includes few steep incline and decline on steps. A moderate level of fitness is needed.
- It is a hot and humid area. Carry enough water and food. While the food is available inside the National park, it is expensive.
- If you are travelling by air and do not plan to cross to Brazil, it is better to make it as a day trip from Buenos Aires. Take the early morning flight from Buenos Aires. Spend the full day in Waterfalls and take take back the evening flight. In this way, you can avoid staying at Puerto Iguazu. There is nothing much to see in the town except the confluence of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
- Public transport is available between Puerto Iguazu and waterfalls. There is no public transport between Airport and falls. Shared vehicles are available between Puerto Iguazu and airport but it needs to be booked ahead.
- There are no “vegetarian restaurants” in Puerto Iguazu. But it is not difficult to get vegetarian food in the restaurants. I managed to get vegan food from a restaurant where the waiter did not know a single word of English!!
- The taxi rates are standardised between locations and drivers do not put meters.
- The park opens at 8AM and closes at 6PM.