Visiting Iguazu Falls is something I highly recommend everyone put on their bucket list. It was an experience I will not soon forget, and a natural wonder that has to be seen in person to fully appreciate. This is not one of those hyped up sights that will leave you underwhelmed -- on the contrary, I believe. This is nature at it's finest.
You have a couple choices when you visit, and I’d like to help you navigate your options to make sure you experience the falls to their fullest potential.
Should you visit both sides?
If you have the opportunity to visit both sides, I say do it. There is a specialness to each side, and a view that allows you take it in uniquely from the perspective of that side. The Argentina side of Iguazu Falls is actually where 90% of the falls are located.
What does that mean?
It means that you are getting up close and personal with the falls on that side and can really appreciate the depth of them. The falls are literally all around you as you walk down the paths. Devils Throat is the tallest of these waterfalls at 80 meters, and gives you a nice soaking as you get close. This water curtain is actually 14 waterfalls side by side.
On the Brazilian side you get a better view of the falls in my opinion, because most of your viewpoints are looking at them from across the river. You can far better appreciate the scope of Iguassu Falls from the Brazilian side and appreciate the grandeur of them. These panoramic views are a sight to take in. (Pro Tip: U.S. citizens need a Brazilian Visa to visit Brazil, and it can not be done on arrival. For all info on how to obtain your Brazilian visa read THIS blog.)
Take a look at these video comparisons I made to give you a better idea of each side!
IGUAZU FALLS, ARGENTINA SIDE
IGUASSU FALLS, BRAZIL SIDE
Where should you stay?
Staying inside of the park is a no brainer. This affords you the best experience at Iguazu Falls you will ever have. If you stay inside the park you have the opportunity to visit either before the park opens or after it closes, without the masses of people and the plethora of selfie sticks. It truly allows you to appreciate what you are viewing so much better — and allows for better pictures.
There is only one hotel on each side. On the Argentina side, there is the Melia hotel (it used to be the Sheraton), and on the Brazil side there is the Belmond das Cataratas. I had the opportunity to spend two nights at the Belmond on the Brazil side, and I can assure you that hands down, no questions asked, this is the best option if you are able.
For starters, this hotel is beautiful. Not only do you get to be inside the park, and enjoy those perks, you also get the opportunity to stay at a top luxury boutique hotel. I appreciated the opportunity to enjoy some time relaxing by the pool, and enjoying cocktails at sunset out on the patio that overlooks the falls. It added a fabulous touch to my overall experience.
(Note: Getting to Iguazu in the first place is going to require a flight. From Buenos Aires, it's a 90-minute flight to Puerto Iguazu in the Argentinean side. From Rio de Janeiro, it takes two hours to fly to the Brazilian town of Foz de Iguacu.)
Any additional activities at Iguazu Falls?
There are a couple of additional activities I would highly recommend if you have the time on your visit to Iguazu Falls. To truly appreciate the size and scope of the falls, there is no better way than by helicopter ride. This 35 min adventure gives you have a birds eye view of this magnificent place.
If you want to experience the most impressive shower of your life, I highly suggest taking a boat ride into and under the falls. This experience can be done from either side through a company called Macau Safaris. You ride along the river in a pontoon speed boat, and you actually have the option of choosing the dry boat or the wet boat. Choose the wet boat — that’s what you came for! You are driven up to and then into the falls, and it’s an adventure like nothing else. Where a poncho if you’d like, or just be like me and rough it!
I'd love to help you plan the perfect South American trip that includes this once in a lifetime experience. Let's chat about what you have in mind, and get started bringing it to life!