Iguassu, Iguazu and Iguaçu Falls, there are indeed 3 different ways to spell the name of these magnificent falls. Each respective of their own country; America, Argentina, and Brazil.
First off, a bit about the falls at written by my lovely sister Stephanie , whom I have just convinced to start her own blog. Check it out at www.exploringthearth.com.
Iguazu waterfalls are a spectacular natural cascade set in the heart of a sub-tropical rainforest. With over 275 individual falls that make up both the Argentina and Brazil side of the falls, Iguazu is both wider and taller than the famous Niagara and Victoria falls, respectively. These impressive traits resulted in Iguazu being named one of the new 7 wonders of the world.
The initiation of these falls is believed to be ~20,000 years ago, whereas the basalt rock landscape that shaped and made way for the falls was created some 135 million years prior! This unique basalt and sandstone landscape, accompanied with various tectonic cracks and faults, allowed Iguazu to form, which was actually 28km downstream from its current location. These falls are still active in carving the land and will continue to retreat further and further back as time goes on.
As stated above, the falls consists of two different sides that you can access from the town of Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil or Puerto Iguazú in Argentina. The border crossing to get between the two towns is the quickest, easiest border you will ever cross. However, Americans and Canadians be aware of costly VISA fees. I have a EU/ Slovakian passport so I didn’t have to worry about those.
The Brazilian side takes about 2 hours to complete and within those two hours you’ve seen pretty much everything.
The Argentine side takes minimum 2 hours to see the best part: Garganta del Diablo the Devil’s Throat. And all day if you wish to view anymore than that.
Pretty much every guide book about the falls will tell you that you need one day to do each side. And if you only have one day, that you need to choose between the two sides. WELL, sanity seemed to escape our brains since we decided that the guide books were wrong and that both sides could be accomplished in one day. No, not one day, 3/4 of a day, since we had to be at the airport by 6:30pm and had to catch the bus back to our hostel to grab our bags before then.
To our amazement we did indeed accomplished this task; but I have never ran to catch so many buses and trains before in my life. Let me break it down for you:
- 8:30 leave on the bus to Brazilian park entrance
- 9:00 Brazilian park gates open
- 9:50 arrive at entrance to Brazilian side
- 10:00 hop on park bus to the falls
- 10:00-11:40 walked the trails and took photos of the falls
- 11:50 hop on park bus back from the falls
- 12:15 grab local bus at Brazilian entrance to connecting bus stop #1
- 1:00 cross the Argentine border
- 1:20 grab connecting bus #2 at Puerto Iguazú to Argentine side of falls
- 1:40 arrive at Argentina park entrance
- 1:50 grab food
- 2:20 walk to train
- 2:35 miss train by 5 minutes
- 3:00 catch train
- 3:28 arrive at Devil’s Throat station
- 3:30-3:40 mad sprint 1km to Devil’s Throat
- 3:40-3:50 photos
- 3:50-3:58 mad sprint back to train
- 4:00 catch train
- 4:30 mad sprint to bus
- 4:37 catch bus back to Brazil border
- 6:10 make it to hostel (Iguassu Guest House) via HostelBookers
- 6:30 arrive at airport
- 7:45 depart Foz do Iguaçu
I remembered all these times since I was constantly looking at my watch making sure we didn’t miss anything.
So as you can see this task can be done, but I highly recommend not doing what we did, it’s nuts. As for what side was our favorite? I can’t choose, photography wise the Brazilian side is better, but to get a sense of how powerful the falls are, Argentine is the place to be. Regardless I would be pretty bummed out if I missed either side.
Big thank you to HostelBookers for setting us up with some sweet accommodations.