One of the most magnificent and awe-inspiring waterfalls in the world, Iguazu Falls is located in South America on the border of Argentina and Brazil.
With over 275 individual cascades, Iguazu is actually the largest waterfall system in the world! The best comparison is probably Niagara Falls in Canada and the United States, but in most cases, Iguazu Falls is larger than Niagara Falls.
This magnificent waterfall has been declared a national park in Argentina and Brazil and is worth seeing as both sides of the waterfall offer different views! While you can definitely stay longer, you can see the most beautiful parts of Iguazu in a few days.
This guide will show you how to get to Iguazu Falls from either Argentina or Brazil (with or without tour), Iguazu Falls map and other information. Finally, let me tell you some interesting facts about the waterfall itself!
Where Is Iguazu Falls?
The Iguazu Falls are located on the South American continent on the border between Argentina and Brazil.
There are cities and airports on both sides of the border, many tourist-friendly hotels and restaurants, and you can easily travel between the two countries to see both sides of the falls.
The city on the Argentine side of the falls is Puerto Iguazu and the city on the Brazilian side is Foz do Iguacu.
How To Get To Iguazu Falls Argentina & Brazil
The main way to reach Iguazu Falls is to fly there from any of the major cities in Argentina or Brazil.
For the Argentine side, you can fly from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu (airport code: IGR) which takes less than 2 hours and is offered by many airlines at very reasonable prices. There are two airports in Buenos Aires (AEP or EZE) and you can use any of them to fly here.
If you’re in Brazil, you can fly to Foz do Iguacu (Code: IGU) from Sao Paulo or Rio De Janeiro, which takes about 2 hours. These routes are also offered by several airlines with daily departures.
Once in the city of Puerto Iguazu, you can reach the Argentine Waterfall by bus, taxi, or by taking a tour. The bus is cheap, safe and easy to use and runs regularly to and from the city bus station to and from the waterfall.
However, if you want something more personal and convenient, a taxi or private tour might be a good option. You can ask the driver to wait for you while you explore the waterfall and then take you back to town.
The Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls works pretty much the same way. You can reach the Brazilian Waterfall by bus, taxi or tour. All of these options work depending on your needs and the time you have on your itinerary.
It’s also easy to commute by bus, taxi, or a tour to see both sides of the Iguazu Falls, to cross the international border between Argentina and Brazil.
For example, I based myself on the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls but took a day trip by bus to the Brazilian side and also made a separate day trip by taxi to the Paraguayan side.
As a US citizen I didn’t need a visa to visit Argentina, Brazil or Paraguay, so day trips between these countries were very easy. However, do not forget to check the current visa requirements for your nationality in these countries and bring your passport to avoid problems at border crossings!
Best Iguazu Falls Tours
One of the easiest ways to visit Iguazu Falls is on a day tour from Puerto Iguazu or Foz do Iguacu.
GetYourGuide offers highly-rated Iguazu Falls day trips on the Argentine side, as well as optional boat tours where you can see the falls up close and get wet. This can be a fun way to see the beauty of Iguazu Falls from a different perspective.
On the Brazilian side, day tours are available from Foz do Iguacu, with similar boat tours to Iguazu Falls and an optional visit to the Bird Park. Just like the Argentine side, these tours include a trilingual guide and hotel pickup and drop-off.
We have used GetYourGuide for many tours and events around the world and they are great. Highly recommended!
Other Iguazu Falls Tours
GetYourGuide also offers some handy cross-border day tours to see Argentina or Brazil from the other side. This can be a handy solution if you plan to see both sides of Iguazu Falls.
So there is a tour from Brazil to the Argentine side of the waterfall, or there is a tour from Argentina to the Brazilian side. Both are great.
If you’re short on time, they even offer vacation packages that include flights from Buenos Aires or Rio De Janeiro, a private driver and guide, and your national park entrance tickets.
Iguazu Falls Argentina Side: What To Expect
Visiting the Iguazu Falls is an incredible experience! Pictures really don’t do it justice.
The Argentine side of the Iguazu Falls is larger and more scattered than the Brazilian side, so it’s divided into loop trails that lead to different parts of the falls. The best sights are the upper circuit, the lower circuit and the Devil’s Throat lookout.
The park is well connected with hiking trails and a free mini train system, so getting around is fairly easy. You have the choice of exploring the entire park on foot, exploring it by train, or using a combination of both modes of transportation. There are also benches and cafes along the way that invite you to stop and rest.
If you are in good shape I recommend walking the upper and lower loops without a train in the morning and using the train in the afternoon to get to the Devil’s Throat lookout. This will give you a good workout but not too much for one day
While exploring the national park, you can spot all kinds of wildlife such as monkeys, coatis, crocodiles, turtles, and lizards, as well as different species of birds, spiders, and butterflies. If you’re lucky, you might even see a tapir.
Both the upper and lower circuits in Iguazu offer stunning panoramic views of the falls, but I think the Devil’s Throat (Spanish: “Garganta Del Diablo”) viewpoint is the best thing to see in Argentina.
At the aptly named Devil’s Throat, you can look right into the center of Iguazu Falls, which features a massive U-shaped curtain of water with a powerful roar and mist.
This viewpoint is the most impressive feature on both sides of Iguazu Falls!
Entrance Fee (Argentina)
Iguazu Falls is a national park in Argentina, so there is a fee to enter the park. This is true if you’re visiting hiking trails or doing other activities like boating, but some day tours may include parking fees.
Check the Argentine National Parks website for the current entrance fee. However, if you visit two days in a row, the price drops by 50 percent on the second day. So be sure to keep your ticket so you can show it and get a discount.
You can pay for your park tickets with a credit or debit card, or in local currency (Argentine peso). They also accept Brazilian Real, US Dollars or Paraguayan Guarani. I paid with a foreign credit card and that was fine.
You can book your park tickets in advance, but you don’t have to as the tickets are unlimited and never expire. The ticket office lines are always fast and I got my tickets in less than a minute. The only thing you might want to book ahead of time is a boat ride.
Opening Hours (Argentina)
The Argentinian side’s opening hours are from 08:00 to 18:00, but the last entry is at 16:30.
This applies to any day of the year, including public holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter Sunday.
Iguazu Falls Brazil Side: What To Expect
The Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls is a bit smaller and easier than the Argentine side, but there are still plenty of great things to see and do.
The park features a main street that follows the riverbank and ends with an exciting balcony at the edge of the waterfall, as well as several platforms from which you can view the waterfall from above by climbing the stairs or using the elevator.
The Brazilian park is laid out in a loop pattern and has a free bus service that will take you from the front gate to either end of the park and back. In general, the visit is shorter and easier than the Argentine side.
I really enjoyed the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls and find it more photogenic from the Argentine side in many ways, though not as impressive as the Devil’s Throat viewpoint. It would be a big mistake to skip this side of Iguazu just because it’s smaller!
When you’re done exploring the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls, you can also visit a beautiful bird park near the entrance to the national park. There are so many wonderful South American birds, including some colorful macaws and toucans!
The bird park is called “Parque Das Aves” and is a short walk from the entrance to the falls. don’t miss it! The ticket for Iguazu is separate and a little pricey but well worth it.
Entrance Fee (Brazil)
The current Brazilian parking fee can be found here on the official website. You can also buy tickets there in advance.
Just like the Argentine side, there is no need to pre-book parking tickets as the tickets are unlimited and never expire.
You can pay for your tickets at the park entrance with a credit or debit card or in local currency (Brazilian real). They also accept Argentine Peso, US Dollars or Paraguayan Guarani.
Opening Hours (Brazil)
The opening hours for the Brazil side are 9 AM to 6 PM every day of the year and the last entry is at 4:30 PM.
How Much Time To Spend At Iguazu Falls
To truly see and explore both sides of Iguazu Falls, you need two full days: Argentina one day and Brazil one day. The Brazilian side can be done in half a day if you skip the bird park.
A third day in Iguazu gives you more flexibility with the weather and allows you to revisit one of the national parks or take a day trip to Paraguay to see the Monday Falls (Saltos Del Monday waterfall).
If you’re really short on time, it’s possible to see both sides of the Iguazu Falls (Argentina and Brazil) in a single day, but you’ll need to book a tour to speed up border crossings and other logistics.
What To Bring To Iguazu Falls
- Clothing: The climate in Iguazu is tropical, so it is hot and humid year-round. You want to dress up for the summer. Shorts and sandals are a good idea.
- Sunscreen: It can be very hot and sunny here, so bring a hat and sunscreen. This is the only place in Argentina where I have suffered a burn.
- Raincoat: Some parts of the falls, such as Devil’s Throat, can have excessive mist and spray, so a poncho will keep you dry.
- Bug spray: In general, there are not many mosquitoes in Iguazu and I think their main fear is the noise and spray from the falls. However, some areas of the park are quieter and you are likely to encounter mosquitoes and other insects there. So bring bug spray just in case.
- Vaccinations: I got vaccinated against yellow fever before traveling here and think it’s a good idea, especially if you intend to travel to yellow fever areas in the future. The vaccine is lifelong. According to the US CDC, there is yellow fever in mosquitoes in the Iguazu area. Vaccination is recommended by Argentina or Brazil, but is not mandatory. So the decision is yours. Most people don’t bother getting vaccinated and still have a great trip.
- Camera: Both sides of the waterfall are very photogenic. A slightly zoomed lens is best, but you’ll need a wide-angle lens for Devil’s Throat.
- Passport: When crossing a border, be sure to bring your passport with you. You will need it and it is easy to forget. However, you do not need to carry your passport with you everywhere except at border crossings. For example, if you are in Argentina, you do not need to bring your passport to visit the Argentine side of the falls. There is no need to enter any of the national parks (just to cross the border) and it would be bad if your passport gets wet!