Visiting Iguazu Falls is a once in a lifetime experience.
It is unmissable and unforgettable.
I have compiled some tips to help you get the most out of your visit whether you are visiting from Argentina or Brazil.
Visit the Falls from both sides; you will not regret it. The Brazilian side offers expansive, panoramic views from a single, long walkway that hugs the valley for around 2 kilometres. Each bend of the path provides jaw dropping views, culminating in a remarkable feat of engineering – a walkway out into the valley along the base of one enormous fall and across the top of another plunging fall. In Brazil we saw giant millipedes, toucans and coatis.
The Argentinian side has the thundering, powerful Garganta del diablo – The Devils Throat – at the head of the magnificent Iguazu cataratas.
Walkways allow you to get close up to the deafening, roaring water as well as allowing you to walk over the top of other cascading falls. The walkways wind through the forest offering great opportunities for wildlife spotting – we saw lizards, butterflies, turtles and monkeys. You will definitely NOT see ‘the same thing twice.’
Allocate an extra day in your schedule to allow for bad weather; it would be hugely disappointing if the one day you have allocated for Iguazu is rainy and misty. Iguazu is all about the views and you need good weather to see them!
Bring more water than you think you will ever be able to drink. It is very hot and essential to keep hydrated.
Wear a hat and consider covering up; there is little shade on the pathways.
Wear sun cream and insect repellent – and bring it with you to reapply after you get wet (and you will get wet)!
Go early. The Falls are a tourist magnet and are always busy. To avoid the worst of the crowds, try to get there for when the park opens. Once inside, head to the most popular locations first, such as the Devils Throat. Seeing a breath taking natural wonder when getting repeatedly hit on the head with selfie sticks in amongst a jostling crowd of tourists can affect the enjoyment of the experience! (And if you are a selfie stick waver, please be considerate and don’t rest it on other peoples’ shoulders or heads)!
Wear sensible shoes. Flip flops may be cool in hot weather but your feet will thank you for wearing supportive, comfortable shoes. Paths can be stony and uneven and metal grill walkways are uncomfortable and slippery in flip flops. With the incredible views, it is easy to forget to watch your feet and we saw several people trip up and down steps.
Take your time exploring the parks. Sit, soak up the view (sometimes literally), don’t follow the crowds. This is a once in a lifetime place to visit; don’t rush it. It was a shame to see many people running around trying to fit to a schedule.
Seek out less visited parts of the park. Walking to the Devils Throat rather than using the provided transport was extremely hot and tiring but there were no other tourists on the path at the time we were there. It was blissfully quiet and, as a result, we saw lots of wildlife, particularly many beautiful, inquisitive butterflies. (But because it took so long to walk, The Devils Throat was very busy when we got there)!
Public transport links to the park are very good in each country. Cheap, punctual public buses run direct routes from local towns, plus they start early allowing you to arrive for opening time. Travelling by public transport will allow you to set your own schedule for visiting the park. We used public buses from Puerto Iguazu, Argentina to visit the Argentina AND Brazil side.
If you wear khaki, outdoorsy style, multi pocketed clothing you will stick out like a sore thumb. We did! Wear loose, cotton clothes that keep you cool yet cover you up.
Be prepared to get wet from the spray. But don’t bother with a change of clothes; it is so hot you will welcome the water and dry off quickly. Don’t wear clothes if their colours might run and avoid white t shirts…
Use the toilets at the entrance and make it a ‘good’ visit! There are very few toilets in the park.14. Keep all food packed away and bags closed. Despite the warning signs not to, visitors continue to feed the wild animals, particularly the coatis, who now know a tourist means potential food. They will try to get into your bag or get at the food you are carrying. Do not feed the animals or attempt to stroke them – they bite and scratch.
And finally – obvious but easily forgotten – make sure you charge your camera equipment and bring extra batteries. You will never forgive yourself otherwise! Wrap your camera in a plastic bag to protect it from the spray and bring a lens wipe.
VisitingIguazu Falls with children
Children will not be bored at Iguazu because there are ‘no playgrounds’ or ‘child friendly’ facilities. Our children were enraptured by both parks and recall it as a highlight of our trip to Argentina. Apart from the thrill of the falls and the fun of getting wet over and over again, they loved animal spotting and examining plants.
Paths and walkways can be narrow, slippery, very busy and with sparse barriers; keep children close at all times. Be aware of steps and large gaps between railings. The walks are not challenging in length of difficulty but our children struggled with the heat and in some places, the crowds.
If possible, use a carrier rather than a buggy for ease and mobility.
Bring plenty of snacks and water as catering facilities are thankfully sparse. Remind children to not feed the animals or get too close to them.
Set a meeting point in case you get separated.
Binoculars are fun for children to use and gave us an excuse to rest often and pace our day. Children find it hard to regulate their body temperature so make sure you move slowly, rest often and keep hydrated.
Young children are not allowed on the speedboat trips but after watching how bumpy the boats were, we were glad!
Please add any comments or other tips you have learned from visiting this incredible place – we would love to hear them.