After a whirlwind few days in Rio and a couple of soggy ones in Salvador, we were off to explore Iguazu Falls. We’d heard both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides were worth a visit, so we planned a couple of days on each as we made our way towards Buenos Aires.
Having now experienced Iguazu for ourselves, I can say that each side has its own unforgettable aspects, with Brazil offering a glimpse of the sheer magnitude of the Falls, as you can see them from afar, while Argentina shows off the Falls’ amazing power as the water rushes past you. Both national parks cleverly let you get up close to the water so you can experience it for yourself.
On the Brazilian side, we could watch the river as it travelled through Argentina before pitching over the edge and far down into the water below. Brazil’s secret weapon is the Devil’s Throat with walkways into the heart of the waterfall, encircling you in the rushing water as it plummets meters below.
The national park has much shorter trails so we could cover most of it in just a few hours, taking plenty of time to enjoy the Falls from many different angles and trying to make friends with the coatis who call the Falls home.
After a long day exploring our first side of Iguazu, we headed towards the nearest churrascaria to tick off another Brazilian must-do. For 15 Aussie dollars, we stuffed ourselves on every kind of meat you could imagine (kidneys and hearts included, if you’re so inclined), getting slightly too excited at the sight of waiters approaching with their signature skewers of delicious meats fresh off the grill. After finishing off our meat-fest, we rolled back to our hostel for some much needed rest ahead of what would be a big day getting across the border into Argentina and checking out the other side of this amazing waterfalls.
On day two, we had to get ourselves across the border and into Argentina. I think it’s universally acknowledged by anyone who has done it; this is not a fun few hours. To start, we had to get a bus to the Brazilian exit point, where we got left behind while taking a whole 60 seconds to get the stamp that proved we had left the country. Half an hour later another bus came along, but our tickets weren’t valid. We threw our last remaining Real at the driver and scrambled thankfully aboard, not knowing when our actual bus might turn up. Then it was on to Argentinian immigration where everyone had to clamber out and line up for their stamp. Another half an hour and we were all back on board, finally headed to Puerto Iguazu, the town closest to Iguazu Falls.
The morning’s fun left us with only half a day to explore the Argentinian side, which we knew wasn’t enough time. We had to pick which trails we’d devote our five hours to and set off quickly to try to cover as much as possible.
The lower routes offer views of the waterfalls from below (as the name suggests) and was the perfect starting point. We got to explore our jungle surroundings and caught glimpses of monkeys playing in the trees along the route. The Argentinian side was MUCH busier than the Brazilian side so we struggled to escape the crowds all pushing to try and get that perfect shot or selfie.
Instead, we opted for a boat ride which we had heard was ‘unmissable’. The trail to the boats immediately gave us some awesome views right below the Falls that were, thankfully free of too many other snap-happy visitors. Our boat ride itself was definitely an experience, taking us right up close to the Falls to feel the spray in our faces.
It then went one step further and took us completely under the waterfalls, not emerging until each and every one of us was completely drenched (and probably half of us wishing we’d brought a change of clothes). It was something I don’t think either of us will ever forget, but probably more from the shock of being completely submerged within the Falls.
After we’d attempted to wring out our clothes, we headed off to explore the upper trails. The sun and spectacular views from along the top of the Falls helping to reinvigorate us and giving us another perspective on one of South America’s most incredible sites.
Our second day at the Falls finally over, it was time for some much needed sleep before we flew to Buenos Aires early the next morning.