Top 10 Things to Know About Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls are an incredible sight to see right on the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Watch as 450,000 cubic feet of water rush over the edge every second, and hundreds of rainbows arch amongst the falls. One of the most impressive sets of waterfalls in the world, it’s no question that Iguazu Falls should be part of any traveler’s trip to South America.
Our list of what to know about Iguazu Falls before you go:
1. You can visit from Brazil or Argentina (or both!).
The international border runs directly through the falls, so half of the falls in Argentina and half are in Brazil (and the water comes from Paraguay). This means the two national parks that they fall within, although very similarly named (Iguazú National Park in Argentina, and Iguaçu National Park in Brazil), are totally separate, as are the tickets, rules, tours, prices, and everything else within them.
2. The different sides have different views.
From the Brazil side, you’ll get a panoramic view of all of the falls on both the Brazilian and Argentine sides. You can get close, but on the Argentine side you can get closer to more of them (but then you lose the panoramic view). For this reason, the discussion over which side is better is an endless one, and visitors who want the full experience should visit both. If you can only visit one, you can’t go wrong. Neither is better, they’re just different!
3. You need visas for whichever side you want to visit.
Because the border runs through the falls and the parks are separate, you cannot simply hop from one side to the other unfortunately. If you are traveling to Iguazu Falls from within Brazil, you will already have the visa for the Brazilian side, but you will have to get any required visas for visiting Argentina to see the Argentine side (and vice versa). For some nationalities, this won’t be an issue. For Canadians and Australians, for example, Argentina requires a reciprocity fee to enter, paid online (here) in advance and US, Canada and Australia citizens require a visa for Brazil approved in advance (this could take a few weeks before your trip). There are no exceptions even if you are only entering the country to see the falls.
4. You need a couple days to see both sides.
Since the parks are separate, you will need to exit one park and then cross the international border to enter the other country in order to see the other side of the falls. This ends up taking quite some time, and it can be hard to anticipate lines at the border. If you plan to visit both sides of Iguazu Falls, you should allow at least one day for each side.
5. You can do much more than just look!
Within both expansive parks, tours run that offer a range of activities! From hiking to bird watching to animal sanctuaries to soaking wet boat tours at the base of the waterfalls, there is no shortage of ways to experience Iguazu Falls.
6. The rainy season offers the most spectacular falls.
There is no bad time to visit Iguazu Falls, but those coming during the rainy season (South American summer, December through February) will see the maximum amount of water rushing over (some claim it doubles).
7. But the dry season offers more rainbows!
If you come during the dry season (South America’s winter, April-June), then the bright sun against the waterfalls is sure to create plenty of the famous rainbows (and you can count on sunny skies!).
8. Iguazu Falls is also home to a ton of incredible wildlife.
In both parks, you can find some incredible flora and fauna, including several rare and threatened animal species: the jaguar, ocelot, anteater, harpy eagle and yacare caiman included. You will also be able to see magnificent birds like the great dusky swift and large toucans, and a rich variety of butterflies.
9. …And some overly friendly wildlife.
In addition to the more exotic species, the coati is a well-known Iguazu resident. For visitors from other countries, it may seem exotic just the same, but the coati is a common creature in these parts playing a similar role to the raccoon in North America. You won’t be able to miss them, as they aren’t afraid of anyone and will stand around idly for tourists to snap photos of. Be careful if you have any snacks in your bag though- they also aren’t afraid to climb on up and jump right into your purse or backpack to get that bag of chips or half a sandwich you were saving!
10. Iguazu Falls is easiest to reach from Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Brazil or Buenos Aires, Argentina.
If you’ll be visiting a few destinations, you’ll find it easiest to combine your trip to Iguazu Falls with one of these stops. Due to the smaller airport in Iguazu, you’ll have to connect through one anyway, so why not make a trip out of it? Flights are most regular (and the cheapest) between Iguazu Falls and Rio de Janeiro, but all of these cities are popular jumping off points. You can also travel by land, but anticipate bus rides of about 24 hours.
Now that you are ready to visit the world's most spectacular waterfall system, combine the two destinations with our Rio de Janeiro & Iguazu Falls Tour. Contact Us for more information about the falls, or how to combine an Iguazu tour with an Amazon cruise.