Some things look better on the pictures and some things are just too big, too impressive and too beautiful for a photo to do it justice. That`s definitively the case when it comes to Iguazu falls. This is one of biggest and most impressive natural wonders of the world. With an average of 1500 cubic meters flowing per second, spanning over 2.7 kilometers and containing 275 waterfalls all wrapped up in a picturesque rainforest, you will not be disappointed. By now you must understand; Iguazu is truly something that touches the soul.
We can only dream about the feeling that discoverer Alvar nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer, must have felt the moment he laid eyes on this masterpiece of mother earth in the year 1542. Nowadays the national park receives thousands and thousands of visitors every day from all around the world.
Which side? Brazil or Argentina?
The national park is shared between two countries: The Brazilian side and the Argentinian side. Even though most people say the falls in Argentinian are more beautiful in comparison to the Brazilian side; it`s best to summarize it as following:
Dramatic, breathtaking views, the thundering sound of the waterfalls, a big splash of water here and there and a dozen selfie stick loving Japanese; this is the Brazilian side of the falls.
Once you get to the entrance of the park, it`s all very easy and very well organized. Buy your ticket at one of the counters for 57 reales (pay only in reales or with your card) and ask for a free map. If you want to get soaking wet you can book an optional boat trip which will take you up close to some of the falls. Once you enter the park, you`ll be given a ticket with a time on it. This indicates the time you can get the bus to the beginning of the trails (it`s as easy as Disneyland and just as commercial). The bus will pass along several optional activities (which come at an additional cost) and after about 15 minutes of winding through the hills you will be dropped you off in front of a massive hotel *insert hotel name*. This is the start of the trail. The trail takes about 2 to 3 hours, depending on the condition of your selfie stick hand and/or your patience waiting for other selfie stick addicts. If you want to make the most out of your experience, walk the route twice: one for the pictures and one just to enjoy the moment and suck it all in.
Complete the day with a visit to the bird park
Just a 300 meter walk from the entrance of the falls is the bird park `Parque das Aves`. The park has more than 800 birds and lots of interesting information about the nature and general wildlife in the area. In the old part of the park the cages are quite small, but the big aviaries at the end and the amount of conservational activities definitely up the anty. Whether you`re a fanatic birdwatcher or just looking for a relaxing afternoon activity, this place is definitely worth a visit.
How to get to Foz de Iguazu (Brazil):
The bus #120 passes through town, past the airport and after that drops you off at the entrance of the park. Ask your host or receptionist where the nearest stop is. The bus cost 25 reales one way and takes about 20 to 30 minutes to get to the falls.
How to get there from Puerto de Iguazu (Argentina):
The bus to the Brazilian falls leaves every hour from the terminal and costs 20 Argentinian pesos or 5 reales.
Whether you want to see the falls from the bottom, up front or from above, the Argentinian side gives you the perfect close-up experience. Get your waterproof gear ready! This is the Argentinian side.
Welcome to Disneyland. This enormous park has kilometers of trails, a train that brings you from one side of the park to the other and a ferry (only when the level of the water is low enough) bringing you to the island. There`s tons of several additional activities like canoeing, guided tours, a full-moon walk and even more restaurants and food courts. To complete the main trails it will take you around 5 to 6 hours. Luckily enough you can revalidate your ticket at the end of your day and come back the next day for 50% off. Bring your ticket and passport at the end of your visit and they`ll register your next visit. If you`re not able to pay a second visit to this side of the park, make sure you get here early, at least before 12:00. Trust me, you will regret it otherwise.
Park entrance is 330 Argentinian pesos. You can only pay in pesos! Or with card (which increases the price).You can visit the park a second time for 50% off. If you want to do this, register yourself with your passport and your entry ticket at the ticket counter. You`ll pay for your ticket the day you return.
How to get there from Puerto de Iguazu (Argentina):
Take the bus from the terminal or from one of the bus stops saying `Buses to IGUAZU`. You can buy the bus tickets directly from the driver; 65 pesos one way. When you`re with a group, it might be beneficial to talk to the taxi drivers and see if you can cut a deal for cheaper.
How to get there from Foz de Iguazu (Brazil):
There is a mysterious bus driving from Foz de Iguazu, directly to the Argentinian falls. It`s called `Crusero del Norte` and takes you to the falls in about an hour (including border crossing) for 25 reales. I`ve never seen this bus driving past and after waiting for an hour I decided to take the bus to Puerto Iguazu terminal. There`s two and both of them have `ARGENTINA` and/or `PUERTO IGUAZU` on their front window. It`s 5 reales. Save the ticket, because the bus does not always wait for everybody at the border crossing. With a valid ticket you can hop on the next bus, without paying any extra. After 5/10 minutes you`ll see a bus stop with `Buses to IGUAZU` on it. Here is where you hop out and cross the road. You can buy the bus tickets directly from the driver; 65 pesos one way.
Important note – Passports and Visas!
Please do not forget that even though you`re only crossing for a day, you`re still crossing a border. Please make sure to bring your passport and have the necessary visa if required for your nationality.
Take care of the environment
Take nothing but pictures, create nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints. Even though it might seem all too good to be true, it is a creation of nature. Respect that. There is plenty of bins to throw your trash in and plenty of trails to walk on. There is a huge problem going on at the moment with the wildlife, because the visitors keep on feeding the animals. Don`t! Pregnant females have a higher rate of miscarriages or sometimes even die because the embryo`s overgrow due to fat and over-nutritional food. Please beware that an innocent looking piece of fruit, bread or whatever you have with you can do great harm.
Now you know all what you need to know to make this an unforgettable experience. Just pick a bench, sit back, breath in and let these immense water spectacle do the rest.