WEEKEND TRIP TO IGUAZÚ FALLS
Unlike Anything Else in the World
No trip to Argentina is complete without a visit to Iguazu Falls, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and 2011 was named one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World.
There are few sights more awe inspiring as Iguazu Falls. Stretching almost three kilometers and straddling both Argentina and Brazil their scale, power and beauty will not soon be forgotten.
Getting to Iguazu Falls from Buenos Aires City (Capital Federal)
Argentina is a massive country and you may think there is not enough time to include it on your trip. Not so! I recently made the trip over a long weekend.
As I only had the weekend, I wanted to maximize my time at the Falls, so I flew after my Spanish class in Buenos Aires. There are two airlines flying from Buenos Aires City to the Iguazu falls:
- Latam Airlines Argentina
- Aerolineas Argentinas
Both offer direct flights from Buenos Aires to Iguazu that take just under two hours. Most of these flights will leave from the domestic airport Jorge Newbery, but a word to the wise from the voice of experience… occasionally the flight may leave from the International Airport (Ezeiza). An easy mistake which happened to a friend recently… ok, it was me!
If you are short on time, this will certainly be the quickest way to travel, but be warned, air travel throughout Argentina could be expensive depending on the season, so make sure to buy in advance and before buying compare ticket prices on sites like:
- Despegar.com or
However, if you have time on your side or your budget does not allow for flights, the bus is an excellent alternative. Leaving from Retiro station, and taking about 18 hours you will travel through areas so different to the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires. Unless you’re happy to sit up for the entire journey, spend the few extra dollars and purchase the Cama ticket, which means your seat will recline completely so you have a bed. A Semi Cama or Cama Ejecutivo will recline, but not into a flat bed. In both of these classes you will be served a meal and refreshments.
What to do in the Iguazu Falls (Cataratas del Iguazu)
You will typically stay in Puerto Iguazu, about 20 km from the falls on the Argentinean side. Buses run regularly (every 15-30 minutes) from the town to the Visitor Centre, where you can buy your entrance ticket for Parque Iguazú or you can buy it at the gate once you arrive at the park. You can also purchase tickets for the paseos en gamón (the boat ride under the Falls) at the Visitor Centre. I recommend you book this ticket at the same time as your entrance tickets, rather than waiting until you get to the park, as these tours fill quickly, especially during the high season. Alternatively book your paseo tickets online.
Once inside the park area you can hire an English speaking guide, but I didn’t bother and I don’t think I missed out on anything crucial. There are different walking trails which allow you to get up close to the Falls. For more information check the Parque Nacional Iguazu Website
Once in the park, catch the Jungle Train to the Falls Station, which marks the beginning of 2 main walking trails:
- The Lower Circuit – which stretches for a little under 2 km offers possibly the best views with 8 designated lookouts. I spent a little over 2 hours on this circuit.
- Upper Circuit – once again offering spectacular views. Apparently if you go early in the morning or later in the afternoon you have a better chance of seeing rainbows over the Falls.
You can also explore the alternative Iguazu trails:
So, after you’ve explored the two main circuits, you can walk or catch the train to the Devil’s Throat station. From here it is a little over 1 km to La Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat) which is nothing short of spectacular. You can feel and hear and see the power of the falls.
Keep in mind that the Iguazu Park or Parque Nacional entrance fees includes unlimited rides on the jungle train.
I covered every inch of the park on day one. I must have taken thousands of photos from the various viewing platforms and I am no photographer but they are all spectacular. That comes down to the stunning beauty of the area, not my photographic skills.
I returned on day 2 and this time took a boat trip (which I had purchased in advance) to really get up close to the so called “ Garganta del Diablo ” or The Devil’s Throat . It was absolutely exhilarating! Make sure you take a change of clothes with you as you will be drenched but thankfully it is much warmer at the Falls than in Buenos Aires, even in winter, so you won’t freeze.
After lunch I crossed into Brazil to see the Falls from another perspective. The view from this side is full frontal and perfect for those panoramic shots. This is where you get the best photos of the Devil’s Throat. There are great trails to follow and maps are available at the Visitor’s Centre.
The highlight of my weekend was without doubt the helicopter flight over the Falls on the Brazilian side, which I did after a couple more hours exploring. A 10 minute flight will cost about USD 120, but it was money well spent. The view was spectacular and a completely different perspective. The volume of water was mind blowing.
If you are intending to cross to Brazil, make sure you check if you need a visa. If you don’t have a visa, check out this blog to give you the lowdown on how to organize one in Argentina. I’m Australian and would normally require a visa to enter Brazil, but the Brazilian government has relaxed this requirement for the Olympics. Check the visa requirements for your own country.
Also ensure you have your printed confirmation of the Reciprocity Fee for crossing back to Argentina. At the time of writing, it is only Australians and Canadians who have to pay this fee, but just to be on the safe side, check the requirements for your country.
Where to stay in Iguazu
If you’ve got the money, splurge and stay in the park of the Argentinean side. We met a few people who had stayed at the Sheraton and they all said they could hear and see the Falls from their room. Envious? Oh, yes! If your budget does not extend to the Sheraton as ours didn’t, there are plenty of hotels and hostel to choose from in Puerto Iguazu, about 20 km from the Falls on the Argentinean side.
Here are some other affordable Hostel alternatives in the National Park and Puerto Iguazu in Argentina:
- Tupa Hotel
- El Pueblito Iguazú
- La Aldea de la Selva Lodge
- Boutique Hotel de la Fonte
- Hostel Noelia (Hostel – USD 20 per night)
Heading to the Falls is a great mini break and even better you get to practice some of your Spanish that you’ll no doubt pick up on your travels or have learned formally at Spanish school.
Have you visited Iguazu Falls?
What did you think?