Iguazú Falls, Argentina and Brazil – Impressions

On the border of Argentina and Brazil are the mighty Iguazú Falls.  One of the seven new wonders of the world, the falls connect a national park in each country. The falls are among the seven largest waterfalls in the world, a third larger than Niagara Falls.

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From the Argentinian township of Puerto Iguazú it’s easy to see both sides of the falls.  The Argentinian side has many wide cascades of water at several levels while the Brazilian side has the Devil’s Throat, a U-shaped section of the falls. Here are details of both with prices correct as at June 2013:

Argentina – Cataratas del Iguazú

The trip from Puerto Iguazú by bus takes about 15 minutes. The Argentinian side is the more expensive of the two parks at $170 pesos (about US$34), but it has the larger tourist area. There are several different walks in the park and a boat tour that takes you up close to the cascades. The boat tour – the Gran Adventura – is fairly expensive at $350 pesos (US$70) but I booked it anyway. Near the booking area I came across some South American Coatí scavenging for food.

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It was raining on the day of my visit, so I bought a cheap rain poncho. After booking the Gran Adventura, I had an hour to kill so went for a walk around the park along a trail creatively named, ‘The Lower Trail’. Because of the rain and an excess of water going over the falls The Upper Trail was closed, which was a shame as it leads across a series of bridges to a platform above the Devil’s Throat.

The lower trail leads down the bank, past many smaller waterfalls to several lookouts with different views of the flatter side of the falls. At one point, the trail gets very close to the cascades where the spray is thick in the air.  Thankfully for the poncho I stayed mainly dry.

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The Gran Adventura begins with a 30 minute safari through the rainforest where a guide introduces several different native trees and I got to see my first ever monkeys in the wild.

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Then we were strapped into the boat and shot off at full force along the river.

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With so much of the thick dirty brown water coming over the falls, the water eddies like crazy and even the big jet boat was thrown around. With the amount of spray coming off the falls it was difficult to get close to the churning water coming down the Devil’s Throat…

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…so we spent more time getting close to and drenched by the cascades section.

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Then it was a crazy ride back along with the river, back into the safari trucks and out of the park.

Brazil – Cataratas do Iguaçu

The trip to the brazilian side of the falls takes about 30 minutes, including a short stop at customs. Because it’s considered a tour, no fees or visas are required.

Brazil’s park is larger overall but with a smaller tourist area. It’s cheaper at $41 Reals ($US21). To get to the viewing platforms, you need to take an internal bus which can drop you off along the way depending on what tour you want to do. They also have  boat tours similar to the Argentinian side.

The park’s main path is slightly shorter than the Argentinian side but has better views, beginning with a view across the river to the cascades section of the falls…

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As you get closer to the Devil’s Throat, the trail zigzags up the wall to a viewing platform right at its side, which provides awesome views of the upper river pouring right down the Devil’s Throat.

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While there was a section also closed because of the height of the water, the views were still amazing.

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With no rain today there were plentiful moths and butterflies about. They will land on everything at a moments notice.  If they weren’t so colourful, they’d be considered pests.

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Overall, the falls are a definite must see. While you can be happy seeing just one side, it’s not hard to see both and well worth the money spent.

Next I’m off to see the wonders of Brazil and Rio De Janeiro.

The Lone Trail Wanderer

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