travel

Iguacu Falls: The Best of Both Sides

Stunning. Breath-taking. Jaw-dropping. Awe-inspiring. Just a few words that came out of our mouths on the 2 days we spent exploring the Iguacu and Iguazu Falls.

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The Falls split the border between Brazil and Argentina and this is why there are a fair few spellings. From what I have figured out it’s Iguacu for the Brazilian side and Iguazu for the Argentinian side. Iguacu actually means ‘Big Waters’ and that’s a pretty good description! They were voted to be in the top 7 Natural Wonders of the World in 2011 and they definitely deserve it.

Brazilian Side
As we were staying in Foz Du Iguacu we took an adventure to the Brazilian side first. I must admit the Iguacu National Park is pretty impressive. We were approached on arrival by a lady who spoke fantastic English, we were given two maps (one in English) and given full explanation of what was on offer. You can do extra activities at a cost such as a boat ride, bird watching and safaris but we opted for good old walking (and the included bus to begin). For general entrance to the park it cost 63 BR each (approx £15) and locals do get a cheaper rate.

Iguacu Falls

You begin with the bus ride to the third bus stop, the first two stops are for paid tours. You then can follow the trail through the forest, stopping at each viewing point along the way. This leads you up close to the most famous of the waterfalls, the Devil’s Throat. We saw people changing into their ponchos, so I followed suit and jumped into mine, that was a gift in my survival kit! This came in handy as I ended up carrying both bags underneath it while Duncan quickly snapped pictures in the waterproof case we had.

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Once you are soaked and feel like you have had a mindful moment taking in the enormity of the falls, you can go up the elevator to the higher viewing point. Or, you can walk this, which we enjoyed doing. Here you will find a restaurant, snack bars, souvenir shops and even more coaties!

Be warned the coaties (we called them Racoons) are everywhere and want your food. There are so many signs explaining not to feed or pet them, yet people think they know best. We did see them steal a pastie from an unsuspecting woman so they do have an evil side!



This is another fantastic viewing point of the falls, a little higher up! There isn’t as much walking as we anticipated on the Brazilian side so we were tempted to do the whole trail again in reverse. In the end, we caught the bus back and spent some time sunbathing!

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Argentinian Side
Well this was an experience to say the least and I think I am still confused about how an earth we even got to the Iguazu National Park. We were told you needed Argentinian Peso’s for the buses, this wasn’t the case for us as they were happy to accept Brazilian Reals. The bus got us to the Border where everyone has to get off, go through border control and jump back on the same bus the other side. I was rudely told ‘one person, one passport’ when we approached together!

So, I didn’t initially remember the passports, we had set off and thank goodness Duncan said ‘you do have the passports don’t you!?’. After a quick turn around, we were back on track. So remember the passports, it’s pretty important.
Then we were approached by the bus driver and asked if we wanted to share a taxi to the National Park with another couple. This was translated to English by this couple. So for a saving of 5 BR we went with the flow and accepted the offer (while inside bricking it that this could be a big mistake!). Luckily, we arrived safe and sound for 35 BR. We believe this was a quicker and slightly cheaper option. Our advice is to just stay on the bus to the station and get another one paying the extra 20 BR each to get to the Iguazu National Park, Cataratas.

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The entrance fee is 600 ARG PESOS each (approx £18) and there is a cheaper rate for the locals. This side offers many more trail walks and circuits to see many more falls from different angles. We jumped on the train (included in entrance), then walked across bridge like infrastructure, up to the Argentinian side of the Devils Throat. We were speechless! As we stood at the balcony we took in the immensity of the falls, the sound of the water and the height we were at… just incredible! We could even see where were stood on the previous day.

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Then we completed the Upper and Lower Circuits both offer wide panoramic views of the Iguazu Falls for differing heights. We didn’t get wet throughout the whole day, so the ponchos weren’t necessary for this side. These routes were the red and blue routes, worthwhile doing both in our opinion.

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At the time of visiting, the San Martins Island was closed. You are able to take the green trail back rather than the train again. This was an enjoyable walk to end our day at the falls.

I recommend doing the two days in this order with the Brazilian side first and then the Argentinian. This is because I wouldn’t want you to be underwhelmed by the Brazil side after Argentina. Our time just got better and better which I loved.

Where we Stayed: Atalaia Adventure Hostel for 72 BR pn

Pros: Cheap private double room, great kitchen, TV in room, lovely to sit by the pool in the day time and great location for getting to the Falls

Cons: Expensive laundry costs, super basic breakfast with no fruit.



Go the Distance at Iguazu Falls.

Chloe

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