Per my previous post, Dan and I visited the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of Iguazu Falls – in the same day – last November. Long day, but totally doable with a bit of planning. We organized our day by having our hotel arrange a cab (or really their friend who had a minivan and was willing to drive…) to pick us up in Puerto Iguzaú at 8:00 a.m., take us to the Brazilian falls (including through the border crossing), pick us back up at 1:00 p.m. and then drive us to the Argentinian Falls (border crossing again included), where we would explore until 5 p.m., when we would be driven back to our hotel. We arranged this for $75 US (tip not included), including waiting at the border crossing (which only took 5 minutes and we did not get out of the car). If you are short on time and have money to spare, I recommend this option. We booked it on arrival through the front desk. We had JUST enough time to fit this in and you may be rushed if you do not have the necessary VISAs pre-arrival.
Unlike the Brazilian side of the Falls, the Argentinian side is not nearly as modern or well-kept, although it had better animal sighting, hiking and general exploring. The Argentinian experience begins with a small entrance, which is totally underwhelming.
You next walk though a series of over-priced shops and restaurants to get to a small train, which takes you into the park proper. We got off at the first stop and walked the short circuit to visit the falls up-close and take a speed boat ride into the falls (so fun, must do!). You are pretty-much on your own once getting off the train, and maps (like the one below) advise of the various trails. The long circuit is the second stop on the train and takes you to the top of the falls. It was closed when we were there.
The short circuit walks you through the forest along the river and brings you out very close to the falls! While the walk is interesting, the experience is much more one of hiking rather than taking pictures of the falls from afar. We saw a number of animals….
including coati – raccoon-like animals that are warned about on signs on both sides of the falls. I guess they can be quite mean. We did not seen any coati in Brazil, but we saw a lot in Argentina! They were all around the food areas, and they just seem to ignore people. I was SO excited to it!
A real, live coati!
Our visit ended with a ride on one of the speedboats right under the falls. This was crazy and so much fun! If you do this, bring a poncho or do it last! There were no ponchos for sale (and we used ours in Brazil!). However, water tight bags are offered for passports, etc. We booked the boat ride the day of (bring cash) and the whole experience (tickets – end of ride) took about an hour – the ride was only about 20 minutes. The same company also offers a river safari that took several hours. We would have considered this option if we had had more time.
Boats going up to the falls!
When we left the park, we had our tickets stamped to come back the next day at half-price. They do this every day so make sure to ask!
In sum, I found the best views of the falls to come from Brazil and the most rugged experience to come from Argentina. I recommend seeing both sides and choosing for yourself! If you can only see one side, the falls are still worth visiting – from either side. They are truly one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. Happy traveling!