A topic of much debate when visiting Iguazu Falls is from which side you should visit, Brazil, Argentina or both? Many argue the views are better from the Brazil side, whilst the Argentina side covers a greater space allowing more opportunity to walk around the falls and to do so in a less crowded environment.
These falls have many iterations of the name, Iguazu Falls, Iguazú Falls, Iguassu Falls, or Iguaçu Falls, but they are all waterfalls from the Iguazu River that lies on the border of the Argentine province Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná. The falls are the largest waterfalls system in the world and as such you want to see as much as possible!
Depending on how much time you have available or which country you are in, you may have to choose between the two locations or if you have a little more time I would highly recommend visiting from both sides. I was fortunate to have the luxury of time and was able to spend three full days at the falls, two on the Argentine side, and one on the Brazil side. Whilst no matter which side you view from the falls are spectacular, in this post I share the pro’s and con’s of each option to help you decide which to visit from.
There are more than 8, 1hr 50minutes flights per day from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu, which is the easiest and fastest way to get there or alternatively you can take a bus. In Argentina the buses are comfy, booked online or at the bus station and offer reserved seating. It’s worth noting that whilst the bus may appear the cheaper option, this is not always the case in South America, so be sure to check the prices of both.
We decided to take two days to visit the falls from Puerto Iguazu. With a myriad of walkways and trails you can easily spend more than one day wandering around, heading up to Devils Throat to get a shot above the falls, taking the boat over onto San Martin Island and exploring the falls from many angles.
- 80% of the falls are viewed from the Argentine side
- You can view the falls right from their very heart at Devils Throat / Garganta Del Diablo, where you are wowed with views of the crashing water tumbling over the edge
- Iguazu National Park is much bigger than over on Brazil side and offers more close encounters with various parts of the falls
- The sheer size of park means that you will find yourself with stretches of trail all to yourself allowing you to enjoy and photograph
- You can take a boat over to San Martin Island, where you can see another unique view of the falls and see vultures nesting
- Lots of animals, you will likely see many species of birds, butterflies, plenty of coatis, and even cayman
- You need at least one day (or two) to see it all and walk all of the different trails. If you don’t have much time, then this may be seen as a negative.
- The town of Puerto Iguazu, where you will likely spend a couple of nights is smaller and offers fewer accommodation and restaurant options than Foz Do Iguacu over on the Brazilian side. However, whilst many complain about this, we found there was enough to satisfy you for a few days. We stayed at a charming guesthouse Garden Stone Hostel which I would recommend if you are looking for an affordable option.
Depending on where you are arriving from, you can fly into Foz Do Iguacu and take taxis from the airport that will cost around US $40. We crossed the border from the Argentine side, which was relatively easy. I would suggest organising a taxi to take you across the border, our driver was then able to direct us to the right area, although its a pretty straightforward process anyway (make sure you have the correct visas to enter the country obtained in advance). More information on travel into Brazil and Argentina can be found here.
Since the park is smaller than over in Argentina, we just spent one day here which is plenty of time to explore and you will likely only need half a day on this side as it represents a much smaller percentage of the falls. After visiting the falls, leave yourself time to explore the Parque Das Aves.
- If you are not interested in a full day of walking to get to and see the falls then the 1.2 km / 0.75 mile walkway on the Brazil side may be for you. The Brazil side can easily be accomplished in half day.
- Get ready to get wet! Once you reach the end of the trail you will can walk out onto a large platform where spray from the falls will soak you and make for some great photos!
- Rainbows, Rainbows, Rainbows! You will see some on Argentina side too, but we saw much bigger brighter ones on the Brazil side – but maybe we just got lucky with the weather that day
- You can end your day at Parque Das Aves, a privately owned zoo located opposite the entrance to the falls. There are many species of birds and monkeys here and it can be explored in a couple of hours.
- Being on a smaller site means there is far less space to accommodate all the visitors! You may find yourself vying for a space at the fences and look out points along the trail and waiting in line whilst people take their selfies!
- Less wildlife. You will definitely see alot of coatis here, but we saw fewer birds and other animals on this side compared with Argentina.
ON BOTH SIDES!
Helicopter Rides – if your budget permits, see the falls from the air by helicopter. This is very expensive, around $200+ per person, so not something we were able to do, but I imagine its spectacular!
Boat Rides – Boat rides into the falls operate on both sides of Iguazu and I would definitely recommend taking one. The boat takes you right into the falls, so be prepared to get very wet! I suggest bringing a dry bag with you store all of your camera equipment and any dry clothes / towels if you plan on going on the boat.
Wildlife – You will see tonnes of wildlife on both sides, albeit we saw more on the Argentina side, with river cayman, more monkeys and birds, large catfish, butterflies and of course the coatis.
The Weather – On both sides you need some luck on your side. The weather is tropical and it can be misty and rainy. We had two overcast days in Argentina and full sunshine in Brazil, but good and bad weather can happen on both sides and in fact made for variation in our photos.
Rainbows – The combination of water spray and sunlight creates some stunning rainbows over the falls making your images that much prettier.
Overall, both sides are spectacular and you will not be disappointed with either. If possible, I would encourage you to take the time to see these natural wonders from both Brazil and Argentina!
I hope that you found this post useful in planning your own trip to see Iguazu Falls. If you have any other tips or questions, please share them in the comments below!
It seriously looks so stunning. I think the best thing for me would be to visit both! I think it will be worth it to see such amazing wonder of nature.
Becky van Dijk says
Thanks for reading Naomi! Absolutely, I think its worth seeing from both sides, I am so pleased that we did because it is quite different from each side. Happy New Year!
Vanessa Rivers says
Great post Becky! Love your photos!
Becky van Dijk says
Thank you Vanessa!
Loved this post Becky! You needed a visa for the Brazil side though, right?
Becky van Dijk says
Thanks for reading Aubrie! Depending on where you are from, I didn’t need one as I am British but my boyfriend who is American did. You also need to leave plenty of time to obtain the visa as there can be significant delays with this one apparently. But I think once you have it its good for 5 years, so you can go more than once!
Such breathtaking waterfalls and being a border point of two countries makes the site even more fascinating. Adding this to my travel bucket list!
Becky van Dijk says
Thank you so much reading and commenting Therie! Iguazu is a beautiful place, I hope you go there soon!