When traveling in South America, considering to add Iguazu on the list of places is just common sense. The falls at Iguazu are twice as large as the Niagara falls, and the parks surrounding them host a variety of animals.
The falls are located on the border between Argentina and Brazil. The border with Paraguay is in the same area. The passport stamp collectors amongst you will have a field day when going around the falls.
I took an Aerolinas Argentinas (SkyTeam) flight from Buenos Aires (EZE) to Iguazu (IGR). The flight cost was about $260 all included. Flight time is about 2 hours. See the weather in Iguazu can be pretty bad, you might find this route having delays. On the day I flew there, it was pouring rain, so we left and arrived a bit later than announced.
Consider yourself warned
Wherever you go in the parks of Iguazu falls, on both sides of the border, you will meet Coati (Quatis). These little animals look uber cute. Many tourists found out the hard way that they can bite pretty hard when they’re seeking food. Keeping distance, despite their cuteness, is how to behave.
Tourists are constantly taking pictures of these guys. But they are pretty agressive, and do bite! Ignorance can ruin a visit to Iguazu Falls
Visiting Iguazu Falls: the Argentina side and the Brazil Side
I went to both sides of the falls. I visited the Argentina side first, and the Brazil side another day. The Argentina side of the Iguazu falls has access to the top, middle and bottom of the falls. There are boats that bring you close. You will need the best of a day to see all the angles and falls at this side.
The Brazil side has way less walking paths, but it’s the best place to get an overall view of all the falls at once.
Stay in Iguazu Brazil or Iguazu Argentina?
The village on the Argentinean side is a rather small, and considerable safe town. The Brazilian place, Foz do Iguaçu, is a large city. The criminality in the Brazilian side turned out to be much more present than in the Argentian Puerto Iguazú. The border with Uruguay seems to attract a lot of (drugs) trafficking between Paraguay and Brazil. So, I choose to find me a hotel at the Argentian side, in Puerto Iguazu. You can view my review of Hotel Tupa in Puerto Iguazu.
Puerto Iguazu, Argentina
Puerto Iguazú is a frontier city in the province of Misiones, Argentina. The village of Puerto Iguazu is pretty small. The tourism industry, serving the demand for accomodation to see the falls, has taken over this town. When you enter from the Argentina side, you’ll notice several small super markets. Coming in from Buenos Aires, the prices are about the same.
When you stay in Puerto Iguazu, you can take the bus to the falls. There is a bus every 30 minutes. The bus stop in front of super market “eos”, across the street. The “collectivo” will get you to the falls for 50 pesos. At the bus station, you’ll be approached by taxi drivers, offering to bring you to the falls. At my first trip there, if found 3 other people willing to go there. We offered the cab driver 50 pesos each, and he agreed to bring us to the falls. That saved us some time, at the same cost if we would have been on the bus.
Iguazu Falls admission rates are not cheap. It’s ARS170 / $34 entrance and another ARS150 / US$30 to ride the boat that brings you to the falls, if you like going that close.
Foz do Iguaçu – State of Paraná, Brazil
The Brazilian side of the border is a different story. When talking to people here, it seemed this part of the border had way more crimes than the Argentina side. The city is many times bigger than the Argentina side (80,000 people on the Argentina side, compared to 260,000 at the Brazilian side), and its border with Paraguay attracts more criminality.
When you are traveling and in need of cash: There is a HSBC here, that seemed to be the only ATM in the three border cities that took my US Debet Card.
You’ll be out another $22 to enter the Brazilian side of the falls.
Ciudad del Este, Paraguay
If you heard the stories about the counterfeit business in China, you should see what happens in Ciudad del Este. Stores and shops, as well as mobile street vendors sell all types of counterfeit items, fire arms, etc… in the streets. Nothing hidden. The border with Brazil is 300 meter away from these shops, and there is close to no checks.
Three borders, eight stamps
I of courses wanted to see the Paraguay side, so went there one morning. When you are willing to do the same, make sure you have 2 pages in the passport free, and this will add 8 stamps: