Iguazu National Park
March 3, 2013 7:22 PM   Subscribe

On our trip to South America, we will be spending 2.5 days in Iguazu, Argentina, and would appreciate any ideas as to things we should see. Is it worth the extra cost to go to the Brazilian side? Thanks!
posted by graventy to Travel & Transportation around Argentina (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What a coincidence! I JUST came back from there a few days ago and had an excellent time. We stayed on the Brazilian side but saw both of them. In my opinion, it is necessary to see both sides to really experience the falls. The Argentine side is more involved, with more trails and activities, but the view you get on the Brazilian side is really incredible - not something I would miss. We spent probably 5 hours on the Argentine side and only about an hour or so on the Brazilian side (we were rushing to make a flight though).

When you go to the Argentine side, be sure to take the free ferry to Isla de San Martin and then see all of the viewpoints there - the viewpoint closest to the waterfall has a great view. You'll probably get really wet, though, so think about bringing a rain jacket. There are also boats you can take right up to the waterfall, but they are not free - not sure how much they are. On the Brazilian side, take the elevator (at the end of the trail) up to get a great view. Also, if you are thinking about staying and eating on the Brazilian side, we picked a pretty good churrascaria called Bufalo Branco. Not as amazing as the ones in Rio, but still really tasty and filling.

Have a great time! We really enjoyed it!
posted by luciernaga at 8:22 PM on March 3, 2013

Agreeing with luciernaga that the views are much better on the Brazilian side but the Argentine side has more to actually do. On the Brazilian side there's a exotic bird park near the entrance to the Falls. Our guide took us there and it was really neat. They let you get quite close to the birds (although you don't have to if you're like me and a little scared).
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 8:34 PM on March 3, 2013

We went to Iguazu on our honeymoon and only went to the Argentine side. We spent a full day at the Argentine side of the falls and thoroughly enjoyed it. The boat to Isla de San Martin is not to miss - the views there are the best in the park. We also enjoyed the jungle trail near the entrance to the park - although we didn't see much wildlife it was nice and quiet and we saw some birds and cool insects.

Puerto Iguazu is not particularly appealing as a town. It's perfectly fine but very touristy and the food seems generally mediocre. We did enjoy La Vaca Enamorada, however.
posted by pombe at 9:27 PM on March 3, 2013

Yes, hit the Brazilian side - it has the better views.

Don't forget Parque do Aves - it's really incredible. There are several open aviaries that allow you to interact with the birds. The toucans in particular love to hop on the fence along the path to say hello to visitors.
posted by zug at 10:18 PM on March 3, 2013

Just came back from there in December!
We did the Brazilian side, had a full day, and it was enough to: helicopter ride over falls, walking trail up to the falls to gaze in wonderment, lunch by the falls, then boat ride THROUGH the falls.

It gave us the COMPLETE experience, and must say viewing it from all angles is just incredible.

If there was one thing I would say you shouldn't miss, whether from the Argentinian or Brazilian side, it's the boat ride through the falls. An utterly incredible experience and SO much fun!!
posted by shazzam! at 4:06 AM on March 4, 2013

Agreeing with the above: Brazilian side = better panoramic view, Argentine side = better up-close views/walking close to the falls.

You probably know this already, but you need a visa to go to Brazil if you're a US citizen. They may or may not check you at the border, but I get really paranoid about that stuff so I made sure to get mine in advance just in case.

Have a great time!
posted by pitrified at 4:35 AM on March 4, 2013

If you are really nerdy or like big artifacts, you may enjoy the visit to Itaipú hydroelectric dam, which sits on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. It's probably 40 minutes from the Argentine park by car, and you can get a taxi for the day or take the public bus (which is, in itself, quite an adventure). There are scheduled tours, but we found that heck, this was Paraguay, and when we asked nicely they found someone who took us around on a very very informative tour with great photo opportunities.
posted by whatzit at 11:20 AM on March 4, 2013

There must have been a lot of Mefites at Iguazu in December... add me to the list.

Repeating what others have said - a lot more to do on the Argentinean side - we spent a full day there and JUST fit everything in. As above definitely visit the island, and yeah we paid for the trip under the falls too.

Brazillian side is doable in a half day, but there are some more (expensive) "adventure" activities to do, like hiking and abseiling.

I thought the restaurants in Peurto Iguazu were pretty good - not just touristy joints. Didn't get a chance to really check out Foz.

Absolutely go to the bird park. We had to rush it and I still regret it. You won't get any closer to a toucan. They will come and sit next to you and pose.

If there is more than two of you and you are going to the Argentinean side from Brazil, it's probably worth paying for a private taxi rather than going through the convoluted bus route - I think you need three buses by the time you swap at the border, then change in town. I think you'd also save a good half hour each way at least. Negotiate with the driver for a return fare, I think we paid AR$220 for the driver to take us from Argentina, help us at the border, drop us at the Brazilian falls, pick us up in the evening and drop us off again in Argentina. I'd assume rates would be equivalent from the Brazil side.
posted by trialex at 2:32 PM on March 4, 2013

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