Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 03 Aug, 2009
I have never stayed on the Brazilian side since Puerto Iguazu is smaller, it is easier to get around and, being a far smaller city, it is safer. However, I know for certain that the best hotel on the Brazilian side is the five…Read More
I have never stayed on the Brazilian side since Puerto Iguazu is smaller, it is easier to get around and, being a far smaller city, it is safer. However, I know for certain that the best hotel on the Brazilian side is the five star Hotel Tropical Das Cataratas, that faces the falls in all their beauty.On the Argentine side, the Sheraton Iguazu is the only hotel that is inside the National Park, and it also faces the Iguazu Falls. However, if you want to have a good panoramic view you should book a room on the upper floors, since the jungle could hinder a panoramic view of the falls. I understand that the rooms facing the falls are more expensive than those facing the jungle.Puerto Iguazu is 22 kilometers, or 14 miles away from the falls, but still surrounded by the jungle. There is a regular bus service from Puerto Iguazu to the falls that runs every half hour, and that costs about one US dollar each way. And there are tours from Puerto Iguazu to the Brazilian side of the falls just accross the road from the Hotel Libertador (Iguata) at a cost of some twelve US dollars. In both National Parks, the admission fee is some twenty dollars. I do not remember well, because I am an Argentine citizen and we have lower rates both in Brazil and in Argentina.There are many hotel options in Puerto Iguazu, but I will mention four or five for different budgets.HOTEL CATARATAS, 5 stars, it is quite similar to a Holiday Inn, has a nice swimming pool, a fitness center (not included in the room rate), and comfortable rooms from where you can see the jungle. It has the best restaurant in town, in my opinion. Their buffet meal is delicious. Three years ago the rate for international tourists was 120 US Dollars per person, including breakfast and one meal. HOTEL LIBERTADOR IGUAZU, 3 stars, a beautiful swimming pool and a very economic restaurant. Very comfortable airconditioned rooms with cable TV, continental breakfast included (croisants and coffee plus some other items in thei basic buffet). Just now they are charging 90 dollars for double occupancy (high season), but by September the price should drop to some 60 dollars for double occupancy. It has one of the best swimming pools in town.I stayed there twice, in my opinion it is the best price value in Iguazu. Internet accross the road from the hotel costs one US Dollar the hour. You also have internet at the Falls, but it is four to six times more expensive. However, they charge by the minute, so if you can check your Email box in five minutes it should be no problem.HOTEL LATINO, 2 stars, nice rooms, a good swimming pool with no shade, and a poor restaurante. The advantage is that you can bargain the rate at the front desk with the owner. The rooms are very nice, but the appearance of the building seems an apartment building. I stayed there once.HOTEL PARANA, 2 stars (I would give it one star), airconditioned room with cable TV, but beds are not very comfortable, and the swimming pool is small and most of the day in the shade. I stayed there a couple of times.HOTEL SAN FERNANDO, 1 star, convniently located in front of the bus station (buses to the Argentina falls and to Brazil and Paraguay). Seven months ago I paid 17 dollars for a single room with a ceiling fan. The room was clean but small, had no TV, and the restroom was small, this rate included continental brekfast. The rooms are small but in very good condition. Only a small closet for keeping your clothes. They have a small swimming pool in construction.Hope this gives you some ideas about options at Puerto Iguazu.For more options, check this page:http://www.welcomeargentina.com/puertoiguazu/index_i.htmlWelcome to Iguazu, one of the most beautiful places on earth.Robert Raymond Ingledew Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 21 Jul, 2009
The Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls has the advantage that you can go through it in two hours, since there is only one circuit, and therefore you can visit it the first day of your stay in the afternoon, even adding a visit to…Read More
The Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls has the advantage that you can go through it in two hours, since there is only one circuit, and therefore you can visit it the first day of your stay in the afternoon, even adding a visit to the Birds Park that will take another two hours. While a visit to the Argentine side takes at least eight hours if you want to visit the Upper Circuit, the Lower Circuit and San Martin island, apart from the other options you have such as Salto Escondido (Hidden Waterfall).But visiting both sides is a must, plus the "Tres Fronteras" park in Iguazu.US citizens may be required a visa to enter into Brazil, at least at the Iguazu international border. This apparently was in retaliation for the requirement to Brazilian citizens of a visa to enter into the USA. I have an American friend who was denied the crossing into Brazil for this reason.The walk on the Brazilian side is beautiful. At first you have a glance of nearly all the falls (some of them hidden by the San Martin island). When slowly you approach charming views of the San Martin island with its subtropical forest, while the number of falls depends on the season of the year when you go. The Iguazu rivers has much more water from December to March, when the climate is very warm. Fortunately there is a lot of vegetation, especially on the Argentine side where most of the jungle is. However, the mist from the falls carried by the wind is refreshing. Dont forget to take a good sunscreen.The bus ride inside the national park is included in the admission fee that, as far as I remember is twenty US Dollars for foreigners and less than half that price for residents in the MERCOSUR citizens and residents (Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile).Walking under the Floriano fall up to the Garganta del Diablo, or Devils Throat, is a fascinating experience. Remember to protect our camcorder or photo camera when you are not taking photos, or it will get soaked. If you just put it behind your person to protect it from the mist, that will be OK.You are more likely to see coatis on the Brazilian side of the falls, although I have seen them in both National Parks.On the Brazilian side you also have the possibility of boarding a motorboat to navigate under the falls, or boarding a helicopter to overfly the falls. The guide told us that the 20 minute trip on the helicopter is expensive, one hundred dollars per person, with a minimum of 3 persons.The tour to the Brazilian side of the falls, including the birds park, if you wish, costs some twelve US Dollars per person. There is a travel agency just accross the street from the Libertador Hotel where I purchased it at this price.Remember that the admission fees to the Birds Park (Parque Das Aves) and to the National Park are not included in the tour price.Since a photo speaks more than a thousand words, just have a look at the photos I am uploading now. I am sure that you will enjoy them.Itaipu is another interesting place to visit: it is the largest hydroelectric project in the whole world and provides twenty four per cent of all the energy consumed in Brazil. I had the unique experience of visiting it inside over twenty years ago while it was still in construction, and am sharing some of my photos here.Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) is another option for shopping, it is supposed to be the third free port in the whole world after Hong Kong and Miami. I have not been able to verify this information.But both these places are ver near Iguazu.Welcome to Iguazu.Robert Raymond Ingledew Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 20 Jul, 2009
One hour and a half to two hours are enough to walk along the only sidewalk on the Brazilian side, but you will need eight hours or more to explore the Argentine side, including the Upper Circuit, the Lower Circuit, San Martin Island, Garganta del…Read More
One hour and a half to two hours are enough to walk along the only sidewalk on the Brazilian side, but you will need eight hours or more to explore the Argentine side, including the Upper Circuit, the Lower Circuit, San Martin Island, Garganta del Diablo and more.It is therefore advisable to stay on the Argentine side and use the regular bus service from Puerto iguazu to the National Park, that costs about one dollar each way. The tours to the Brazilian side from Argentina cost some ten dollars per person, including the Brazilian Falls and the Birds Park. Add some ten to twenty US Dollars for the admission to each National Park, and about half that price for the Birds Park.The Upper Circuit is easy to walk, and there are restaurants, cafeterias, and even internet and phone services inside the National Park, that was refurbished some ten years ago. A meal inside the national park in Argentina can cost anything between ten and thirty dollars. Eating at the Hotel Libertador in Iguazu will cost less then ten dollars including a bottle of wine, but prices in the fashionable restaurants can cost double that price.The Iguazu falls are a mile and a half wide, and the flow of water can vary from three hundred to fourteen thousand tons of water per second. When the river is low, water is clear. When the river is high, the roar of the waterfalls is really impressive.The train to the Garganta del Diablo (Devils Throuat) and the crossing in a motorboat to San Martin island are included in the admission fee to the National Park. A motorboat cruise under the falls is an exciting experience, but has its additional cost.Hotels in Iguazu vary from expensive to very cheap. The Sheraton Hotel is the only hotel facing the falls and is quite expensive, the same as the 4 and 5 star hotels that generally charge international rates.A budget hotel like the San Fernando, in front of the bus station, with a ceiling fan and no TV, a small room but very nice, cost me 17 dollars per night last December. The Summer months (December to March) can be very warm, but there is abundant shade in the park, and these are the months when the falls literally roar. Prices in Easter, July and August nearly double, and it is practically impossible to find an hotel room without prior reservations.Tours from Buenos Aires to Iguazu apply higher rates to foreigners. If you take a trip from Cordoba, the cost of the tour including 3 or 4 hotel nights (3 star hotel), plus breakfast, dinner, and all tours, costs some 150 US Dollars per person. including bus travel. Travel to Cordoba is cheaper than travel to Buenos Aires, and safer. And Cordoba is far nearer Mendoza and Northwestern Argentina, and at the same distance from Iguazu, Bariloche, Puerto Madryn and other destinations.Let me show you with photos what words cannot always explain.Enjoy your stay in Argentina.Robert Raymond Ingledew Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 17 Apr, 2007
The upper circuit is an easy walk, of less than one mile each way. You walk over the falls and have nice panoramic view for taking photos like the Bosetti fall, and the Salto Chico (small fall) that when it has very little water seems…Read More
The upper circuit is an easy walk, of less than one mile each way. You walk over the falls and have nice panoramic view for taking photos like the Bosetti fall, and the Salto Chico (small fall) that when it has very little water seems like fireworks, incredibly beautiful. From the top you will have a panoramic view of about 4,000 feet of the falls in semi-circle, while you will see the Brazilian falls at a distance, partially covered by the forest. Since the falls always generate a humid mist in the whole area, everything is beautifully green, even during the winter season. This map will give you an idea of the options you have for walking: www.ihphotos.com.ar/interhabit/images/neutral/id_country_1/id_zone_9/mapa_cataratas_g.gif.
You have some five important falls along the upper circuit. Salto Chico, Dos Hermanas, Bosetti (beautiful) Rivadavia (the widest), Mbigua, and San Martin (the one that carries most water). You will visit them in this order, although the San Martin fall is next to the San Martin island. The Lower Circuit (Circuito Inferior) is fascinating. You will have to go down and up staircases (medium difficulty), and far more if you cross to the San Martin island. First you pass in front of a panoramic viewpoint that had been closed due to the abuse of people that did not take care of it. In any case, if you walk up to the first landing, you have a nice panoramic view of the falls, of the jungle, and in another direction, of the Sheraton Hotel, the only hotel inside the National Park. I have been told that it charges 150 dollars per person and per day, but cannot guarantee that this is the real rate. If you wish to go there, check it out with the hotel. Beyond this point you walk down a staircase and, if you go early in the morning you will have the scenery to yourself and may see some coatis (you will see more on the Brazilian side).
The forest is beautiful, and after walking some 1,000 feet you will reach a small beautiful fall where the water comes down roaring. It impressed me so much that I nearly felt like crying out the emotion I felt. Downstream towards the river you will see motorboats navigating in the midst of the rapids. They call it adventure tourism and it really seems like that. The motorboat will go further up, turn round very near the falls, nearly under the water falling, and you will get a real splash. If you take that tour, protect your camcorder and photo cameras in a nylon bag as soon as you get really near. I filmed it from the top with a good zoom, but did not dare to get on to that motorboat. You will go by a couple of small waterfalls until you will see the whole picture of four or five falls all together. From the Bosetti fall all the way to the San Martin fall (look at the map). When we approach the Bosetti fall from underneath, you have two different sidewalks, one that goes nearly down to the river to see the fall from underneath, and the other one that is about half way up the fall. From both places you will take beautiful photos. Then the sidewalk will guide you to the Dos Hermanas (Two Sisters) fall that is small be really beautiful, and to the Salto Chico (Small Fall) from underneath, where you will see the work of erosion on the brick-colored rocks.
If you are not tired of walking (by now you have walked quite a lot, maybe two and a half miles), before you arrive at the Bosetti fall go down a staircase to a small pier, where there are motorboats stationed, and cross over to the San Martin island. This river crossing on motorboat is included in the admission fee to the National Park, you do not have to pay a dime. The motorboat will leave you on the other side of the river, on a beach, from where you will find a trail towards the higher part of the island. You will see beautiful huge brackens, about 3 or 4 feet long, some palm trees in the river and a real rainforest. Vegetation is not as closed as on the other side of the river, but it is really enjoyable. You have a couple of different trails you can walk along (maybe about one mile or so) until you will come back to the starting point, after having passed next to the San Martin fall: don’t try to take any photos here, or your camera will get soaked… You will then return on the motorboat and continue the Lower Circuit to the Bosetti, Dos Hermanas and Chico falls.
The Macuto Trail is one I have not gone along, since the last time I went it had been closed by the National Park due to the presence of pumas (cougars). If it is open, you will run no risks. A visit to the Upper circuit, lower circuit and San Martin island could take a total of eight hours, including a break for lunch inside the national park. You have many options. An all-you-can-eat barbecue will cost some 8 dollars by now, plus maybe another 4 dollars for a bottle of wine, but you have cheaper alternatives at the fast food cafeteria, or at the vegetarian restaurant. I recommend you do not eat too much, or you will get sleepy and will not enjoy the scenery thoroughly. The Jungle Explorer offers you a four mile navigation along the river and under the falls, including over a mile of rapids in the river. You will really enjoy this trip. It is not included in the admission fee to the National Park. Enjoy your stay at Iguazú Falls. I know you will.
I always recommend tourists to stay in Puerto Iguazú. It is a quiet city; nature is all around and it is one of the safest cities in Argentina. I was surprised when I stayed at the Paraná hotel to see that the hotel left the…Read More
I always recommend tourists to stay in Puerto Iguazú. It is a quiet city; nature is all around and it is one of the safest cities in Argentina. I was surprised when I stayed at the Paraná hotel to see that the hotel left the door to the street open all night, and keys on the counter. I asked them if they were not taking a risk. Their answer was: Iguazú is very quiet. Then I noticed that people left the motorbike on the street without a padlock with the motor running. Nobody would do that in Córdoba or Mar del Plata. The reason is simple: between Iguazú and Posadas you have to go through two National Guard controls, and if you cross to Brazil you have to pass in front of Immigration and Customs in both countries. Therefore, the whole province of Misiones is rated as the second safest province in Argentina, after Tierra del Fuego (Río Grande and Ushuaia). On the other hand, although Fozz do Iguazu is safer than Río or San Pablo, is has ten times more population, and the larger a city is, it becomes unsafer. Ciudad del Este in Paraguay used to be safe, but no longer. It is a huge city, and Paraguay no longer offers the safety it used to have… That is why I suggest doing no shopping in Paraguay, since the Puerto Iguazú free shop has very good prices, what you buy is legal and it will not be confiscated by the National Guard, if they check the bus you are traveling on.
Recently Brazil has been requesting a visa to American citizens that wish to visit the Brazilian side of the falls. Apparently they do not have that requirement in San Pablo, and the reason seems to be that the USA is requesting visa to Brazilian citizens. In other words it is retaliation. A friend of mine who is an American citizen went to Iguazu recently and was denied the entrance to Brazil. As he is a resident of Argentina, the next day he went with his Argentina ID and had no problem. Keep this in mind, and if you can obtain a Brazilian visa, far better. Having said this, let’s talk about transportation to the falls and what you can do over there. There are buses from the Puerto Iguazu bus station that leave you at the entrance of the National Park. You can also go on a taxi, but it cost me 17 dollars the last time I went, with some two hours waiting time. In any case, taxis are not allowed to go all the way to the falls, you must get off at the entrance of the national park. The admission fee (some ten dollars per person for foreigners) includes the bus transportation inside the park. The bus has a first stop where you can board a motorboat to navigate under the falls. You will get soaked, but it is a thrilling experience. However, you need to protect your photo camera or camcorder with a plastic bag. I did not take this tour for this reason. You can enjoy this experience embarking either in Brazil or in Argentina.
Somewhere near there, you can also board a small airplane and fly over the falls. I understand that this tour is expensive, maybe 50 dollars. Argentina does not offer these flights, and has requested Brazil to stop them because they alter the ecological system, specially the birds. The second stop of the bus is the panoramic viewpoint, just in front of the Hotel Tropical Das Cataratas, the only hotel on the Brazilian side that overlooks the falls, but that does not offer a completely free view like the Sheraton Hotel in Argentina, that is the only hotel on the Argentine side with a free view of the falls. The only sidewalk along and over the falls on the Brazilian side is less than one mile long, but really worthwhile visiting. The first view you have of the falls includes practically all the falls. We say that Argentina offers the show and that Brazil has the stage. It is really exciting to walk under the Santa María fall (over one thousand feet wide) while at the same time over the lower section of the falls. You will reach the Garganta del Diablo (The Devil's throat), where you will literally get soaked, especially if the way is windy. So if you have gone with your camera, put it on the right hand side of your body and only aim at the falls when you are going to take the photo. If some drops have fallen on the lens of your camcorder, zoom in or out until you see the scene clearly and get away as soon as you can. If you can zoom in from a distance and still get the same view, try this alternative. Then keep the camera in your bag or case until you wish to use it again.
Iguazu falls just now are low: 700 tons of water per second, four times less than their average flow. When the river is high, they can carry as much as 14 thousand cubic meters per second. The 275 falls (counting the small ones) form a semicircle that is a mile and a half wide, in the form of a horseshoe. I know you are really going to enjoy this trip. But even when the river is low, the volume of water that falls through the Garganta del Diablo and through the San Martin fall in Argentina is always impressive. When the river is low, water is clear, and the scenery takes a beautiful color. Unlike Niagara that is surrounded by buildings the Iguazu Falls are in the midst of the forest. You will start seeing the forest 50 miles before you arrive at Puerto Iguazu. Another attraction in the park are the coatis, that offer a real show. Keep an eye on your bag. They are always looking for food. Don’t be afraid of them, they will not cause any trouble, except try to steal a sandwich from your bag, if you do not pay attention… I have seen as many as one dozen all together, something you do not see frequently in the Iguazu National Park in Argentina, although sometimes they appear. I will refer to the Parque Das Aves (Birds park), to the Itaipú hydroelectric project (the largest of the whole world), the International bridge that connects Brazil with Paraguay and Ciudad del Este (formerly Presidente Stroessner) in a separate experience. Enjoy your stay at Iguazu.
Written by firstname.lastname@example.org on 11 Sep, 2000
Although, the Brazilian side does allow visitors to get as close to the falls, it does provide a more panaramic view than the Argentine side.
It was difficult to discern the official policy governing crossing into Brazil for a day trip so we just…Read More
Although, the Brazilian side does allow visitors to get as close to the falls, it does provide a more panaramic view than the Argentine side.
It was difficult to discern the official policy governing crossing into Brazil for a day trip so we just decided to wing it. From the bus station in Puerto Iguazu, we boarded a bus for Foz de Iguazu, the town nearest the Brazilian side of the falls. The trip didn't take more than an hour or so and the border crossing was uneventful. We were asked to disply our passports by the Argentine officials as we were leaving Argentina but nobody bothered at the Brazilian border! I would imagine this procedure varies from day to day!
We arrived at the bus station in Foz where we waited for a Brazilian bus to take us to the falls. This bus happily took our Argentine money, although we had to change some money at the entrance to the Brazilian park in order to pay the park fee. At the entrance to the park we needed to wait for yet another bus to take us the last few miles to the falls themselves.
Be sure to start early in the day in order to allow time for all the bus connections. A network of trails allow sweeping views of the falls and the river below. One observation platform allowed us to get very close to the bottom of one massive waterfall. Returning to Argentina was easy. Busses leave from the falls and return to the Foz de Iguazu bus station where we caught a bus back to Argentina.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 26 Dec, 2008
This year everything is special at Iguazú. The river carries a lot of water, but it is clear. Nearly all the falls join into one huge fall, the water roars, everything is green and the scenery is magnificent. A 3-star…Read More
This year everything is special at Iguazú. The river carries a lot of water, but it is clear. Nearly all the falls join into one huge fall, the water roars, everything is green and the scenery is magnificent. A 3-star hotel is charging until the end of this month 61 dollars for double occupancy including breakfast, and its days special at the restaurant costs 10 dollars including a bottle of wine and the salad bar. In other places you can spend double that price or more for a good meal. Breakfast is included in all hotel rates, but a cup of coffee with two croissants is costing some 2 US Dollars.I found a nice small room at the San Fernando Hotel for only 17 dollars per night, with ceiling fan, but with no air conditioning. This hotel is just in front of the bus station and has a swimming pool under construction. The swimming pool of the Libertador hotel is beautiful (see the photo). The tour to the Brazilian side of the falls costs 35 pesos (9 to 10 dollars, depending on the exchange rate). The admission fee to the National Parks on both sides of the river is some 20 dollars per person. US Citizens may be required a visa for visiting Brazil, in retaliation for the restriction to the admission of Brazilian citizens into the USA. Please check this with your travel agency. To visit the Argentina national park, no tour is necessary, just take the local bus to the falls, it runs every half hour from the bus station and costs less than 2 dollars each way. Group tours from Cordoba to Iguazu are costing just now 150 Dollars per person, including bus fare both ways, all tours (excluding admission to the National Parks) 3 or 4 nights at a 3-star hotel in Brazil, and dinner. The tours included (admission fees to the parks are not included) are San Ignacio Jesuit Ruins, Wanda Semi Precious stone mines, Argentine Waterfalls, Brazilian Waterfalls, Foz do Iguazu, Ciudad del Este (the third largest free port on the whole world after Miami and Hong Kong) and Itaipu (excluding the admission fee).Tours to the Brazilian side include now only the Brazilian Waterfalls and the Bird's park (optional). The tour costs 12 US dollars and the admission to the Birds Park costs some 10 US dollars (additional to the 20-Dollar Admission fee to the Brazilian National Park). Prices seem to be higher on the Brazilian side of the falls. Inside the National Park in Argentina a light meal (sandwich, a Coca Cola and fruit salad) is costing nearly 10 US Dollars. Itaipú (the largest hydroelectric project in the whole world) is now a separate tour and I have been told that since it passed over to a private company the admission fee is very high (something like 27 dollars, plus the cost of the tour). In spite of this, Iguazú is one of the cheapest destinations in all Argentina. A 20 percent price increase is expected for January in the hotel rates. Meals including wine cost anything between 15 and 25 dollars per person, but you can find places where to eat for ten dollars including beverages.Bus fares are increasing constantly and this week they increased another forty percent, while the exchange rate to the US Dollar is lower than seven years ago. Today a semi-bed fare by bus from Cordoba or Buenos Aires to Iguazú is costing some 65 US Dollars. Meals are served on board, and in the case of Crucero del Norte we were served chicken breast with onion sauce, Spanish potatoes and custard. No wine was offered on the bus, but we had two hot meals during the 22 hour travel from Cordoba to Iguazu (from Buenos Aires the bus takes some 20 hours). The seats were VERY comfortable, and I arrived relaxed and rested enough to go off immediately to the National Park. The local bus service from Iguazú to San Ignacio to visit the Jesuit Ruins (minimum 2 hours) and then to Posadas costs some 13 US dollars for the overall trip. Admission fee to the Ruins and its museum costs some 10 US dollars. Close
Parque Das Aves (Brazil). When you visit the Brazilian side of the falls, there is a very interesting bird zoo where the birds live in relative liberty, covered by a wire net at an altitude of some 40 feet: Parque Das Aves (Bird's park). There…Read More
Parque Das Aves (Brazil). When you visit the Brazilian side of the falls, there is a very interesting bird zoo where the birds live in relative liberty, covered by a wire net at an altitude of some 40 feet: Parque Das Aves (Bird's park). There you will see dozens of different kinds of birds, including beautiful flamingos, tucans, and other sorts of birds, as well as a serpentary. I really enjoyed this additional alternative, that was not expensive, since the visit to the falls on the Brazilian side lasts hardly one hour and a half. Of course, the organized tour to the Brazilian falls also visits Foz de Iguazu, the Friendship Bridge between Brazil and Paraguay, the Itaipú dam and Ciudad del Este. Beware of tucans at the Parque Das Aves. They will walk along next to you, they are friendly, but... I had gone with my camcorder and my photo camera, had one in each hand and left the photo camera case on the ground. A tucan got hold of it. When I menaced the tucan to recover my case, the tucan warned me that he would nibble me if I hit him. So I had to wait patiently some ten minutes until the tucan got bored of the case, left it and I picked it up.
International Brazil-Paraguay Bridge (The Friendship bridge). It is over the Parana river, and connects Foz do Iguazu (Brazil) with Ciudad del Este (Paraguay). It is a very nice on-arch bridge over the Parana river. I am sure you will want to take photos there. Itaipu: as far as I know it is the largest hydroelectric project in the world, and is shared by Paraguay and Brazil. I had the fortune of being friend of a power transmission manager, and was able to see the control room, turbines, etc. You will see the dam at a distance, if you take the tour to the Brazilian falls. Ciudad del Este: very good prices, but many falsified products. Don't buy if you do not know what you are buying. Avoid buying on the street. Do not go on your own, it used to be safe, but has become a dangerous area.
Port Iguazu and Tres Fronteras. The river is very deep at Port Iguazu, some 40 feet when it is low... and up to 140 feet during a flood. Cruises that leave the city of Corrientes come up the river, go through the navigation sluices of the Yacyreta hydroelectric project (Argentina-Paraguay), pass in front of Posadas, and navigate up the river to Port Iguazu. The scenery is beautiful. And Tres Fronteras (Three borders) is the place where three countries meet: The Iguazú river, natural border between Brazil and Argentina, runs into the Parana river, natural border of these two countries with Paraguay. There is a landmark Hito Tres Fronteras, that is a testimony to the friendship between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.
San Ignacion Jesuit Ruins: they are nearly 200 miles south of Iguazú, and it is better to visit them from the city of Posadas, only 30 miles away. From Posadas you have direct buses to Buenos Aires, Tucuman, Concordia, Cordoba, and many other places in Argentina. They are ruins of the Jesuit Mission constructed some four centuries ago by the Indians under the supervision of the Jesuit missionaries. In the evening there is a light and sound performance. There is also a small museum. It really deserves a visit. Mocona Falls: out of the way, you have to get there from Posadas towards El Soberbio or Bernardo de Irigoyen and continue on a 4 x 4 vehicle. It is a diagonal fall along the Uruguay river (smaller than the Iguazú river) but the fall is about 3 miles long. I have never been there, but mention it to complete the picture.
El Dorado, Jardin America, Puerto Piray, are interesting places, with wood exploitation, paper mills, "yerba mate" plantations, tea plantations… There are enormous plantations of pine trees, that constitute one of the main resources o the province. Wanda: semi precious stone mines. You will visit these last four places if you take the tour from Iguazu to San Ignacio, plus a stop at the Tabay waterfall, very small but beautiful. Enjoy your stay at Iguazú. I know you will.
While you can walk the Brazilian falls in one hour and a half (there is only one path), you need at least eight hours to walk the different circuits on the Argentine side: Circuito Superior (Upper circuit), Circuito Inferior (lower circuit), San Martin island (crossing…Read More
While you can walk the Brazilian falls in one hour and a half (there is only one path), you need at least eight hours to walk the different circuits on the Argentine side: Circuito Superior (Upper circuit), Circuito Inferior (lower circuit), San Martin island (crossing to the island is free), Garganta del Diablo on the train, and sendero Macuco (this trail is occasionally closed by the National Park if they have detected the presence of pumas, so if it is open, you run no risk. An important word of caution: You run no risks as long as you do not get out of the trails. Iguazu has a tropical climate and there are many snakes in the national park. Don’t take any risks. If you are not staying at the Sheraton, that is the only hotel near to the falls, you will come on the bus from the Puerto Iguazu bus station. Buses run every 30 minutes and the trip each way costs less than one dollar. If you intend to visit the park two days in a row (the admission fee costs ten dollars for foreigners) have your national park ticket stamped before you leave in order to pay five dollars instead of ten the next day. If you have not been to Iguazu for the past five or six years, you will notice important improvements.
There is a visitors center, a mini-railway to the Garganta del Diablo that travels through the forest, fast food restaurant, vegetarian restaurant, barbecue restaurant, Telecom, Internet (unbelievable, but true), photo shop, hand craft shops, and more… Of course, Internet here will cost you two dollars the hour, four times more than some Internet shops in the downtown (the cheapest and most reliable one is across the street from the Hotel Libertador, on Bonpland street), photo films will cost nearly double the price you will pay at Puerto Iguazú, but it is good to know that you have all these possibilities inside the national park. Years ago, the only option you had for lunch inside the park was a sandwich and a Coke. This belongs to the past. The infrastructure at Iguazú has improved a lot. The admission fee to the national park includes the ride on the train to Garganta del Diablo (you can also go walking if you wish, but you will walk a lot in any case), and the motorboat that crosses to the San Martin island. Any other tour you take is at your expense (rafting, navigating under the falls, etc.).
Weather in Iguazu is very warm, even in winter, but there can be some cold days occasionally. Just in case, take a sweater. Check the weather forecast before you travel at any of these sites: www.weather.com; www.accuweather.com; www.meteofa.mil.ar (this is the national weather forecast center of Argentina); www.infoclima.com.ar.
Now I will explain the different circuits: The old sidewalks have been completely replaced and are surrounded by metal fences to avoid children running any risks. The bridges over the rivers that form the falls are made of iron mesh so that you can see the falls under you, through the bridge. I remember when I went with my children many years ago, I was always afraid that my youngest son that then was 4 years old, could get out of my control at any time and be at risk. This problem no longer exists. We should thank the present Vice-President of Argentina, who was Secretary of Tourism of a former government, for all this work.
Now we will talk about the different circuits: 1) Train to Garganta del Diablo. The train leaves from the railway station next to the visitor center. The first stop is at Estación Cataratas, but we will continue to the next station (Garganta del Diablo). Once we get off the train, we will turn left and take the cement path that will lead us to our destination, after having walked about one mile crossing bridges over the different branches of the Iguazu river. The whole path is beautiful, and on the way you may see some birds and even a river tortoise, as I did during my last trip. When the river is low, as it is now, water will be nearly transparent and in parts you will see the bottom of the river. You will see some palm trees along the riverside, and some 300 feet before the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's throat) you will see a bridge that was wiped out by the river during an important flood. The Garganta del Diablo is impressive. Water literally roars. You will see dozens of birds diving into the falls, whether for a splash or to reach their nests behind the falls, I do not know. But I enjoyed filming them during at least five minutes. You will then go back walking to board the train and get off at the Cataratas station. If you wish to do rafting, you will find a place where you can request this service just before the railway station, after having crossed the river. You will also see some Indian artisans selling their handcrafts next to the Garganta del Diablo station. The train will take you back, but you must get off at the Cataratas station. I will refer to the Upper Circuit, Lower Circuit, San Martin Island, the Panoramic Viewpoint and the Macuco trail on the next experience. Enjoy your stay at Iguazú Falls.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 21 Oct, 2006
The Brazilian side will be probably the first place you will visit. Why? Because most buses arrive from Buenos Aires at about 2pm and the walk on the Brazilian side is shorter. The bus or the taxi will leave you at the entrance of the…Read More
The Brazilian side will be probably the first place you will visit. Why? Because most buses arrive from Buenos Aires at about 2pm and the walk on the Brazilian side is shorter. The bus or the taxi will leave you at the entrance of the Park on the Brazilian side; is is a 20 minute drive. But remember, Brazil is now requesting visa to USA citizens. I have an American friend that went recently and he was not allowed to cross to the Brazilian side. Sit on the right hand side of the taxi or bus and have your camera ready as soon as you have passed Immigration, because a couple of minutes later you will be crossing the Iguazú river and will have a nice panoramic view.
When you arrive at the National Park you will have to pay an admission fee of some ten dollars per person and the bus ride on the National Park bus is included in that admission fee. You can sit downstairs with air-conditioning, but I prefer the upper deck with no windows to take better pictures. Even at the bus boarding point you will have a nice view of the forest. Try to get a seat on the first row of the upper deck so that you can take panoramic views of the forest during the 20 minute ride. The river will be on the right-hand side, but you will not see it due to the forest. If you go early, you can also visit the Parque Das Aves (Bird Park), where birds live with some freedom, with a wire gauze some 70 feet above them. You will see beautiful birds, especially flamingos and tucans. When I was filming the flamingos a tucan came over and had taken the case of my photo camera in its mouth, I menaced it, and the tucan menaced with biting me. So I had to wait patiently until the tucan got bored of my photo camera case, left it, and then I picked it up.
Do not get off at the first stop the bus makes, unless you want to take the boat safari under the falls. It is a beautiful experience. Of course, you will get soaked, and your photo camera also, unless if you protect it with a nylon bag. But if you are careful enough, you can take some fantastic photos while you get near to the falls. The National Park buses run every 20 minutes and you can get off at any stop and continue your trip on another bus. As soon as you get off the bus at the second stop, just in front of the Tropical Das Cataratas hotel, the only hotel on the Brazilian side that faces the falls, you will have an excellent panoramic view of the falls. That view will be more beautiful if you go during the season when the river is higher (before Easter or after the end of September).
You can check the weather and rainfall statistics for Puerto Iguazu at www.weather.com. You will start going down the staircases and along the sidewalks (that are one mile long) and will probably be walking for about an hour and a half. Take a soft drink or some water with you, because you will only have the chance of buying a drink when you are half way through the tour, next to the Santa María Fall. There are two or three very nice viewpoints with different panoramas, but go prepared for the unexpected, because probably some coatis will cross the sidewalk in front of you, maybe five, ten or twenty feet away. (I filmed about a dozen of them the last time I went.) They are friendly, but are always looking for food, so keep an eye on your bag... Don't react violently because they have sharp teeth... But don't be afraid of them, only wise. They do not attack people. On the Brazilian side you get very near to the water at the Santa María fall and at the Garganta del Diablo. The sidewalk goes under the Santa María Fall and if the wind is blowing towards you, your camcorder or photo camera will start getting wet.
A little spray will do no harm but could affect the quality of the photos you take, but if the camera gets really soaked, you are in trouble. So always take at on the opposite side of where the spray is coming from. At the Garganta del Diablo you will have to take a shot or two and literally keep your photo camera in the case or it will get soaked. You could actually ruin your camera if you are not careful. I once ruined a Minolta Maxum 2000 in Bariloche. I had left it on a bag while fishing, a motorboat passed, a wave came in and soaked it. I was never able to use it again... Of course, you can continue filming with your camcorder if you zoom in or out until you see the landscape clearly, even if there are some drops of water on the lens.
The other place where you have to be extremely careful with the water spray is on the San Martín Island towards the San Martín Fall. On the Argentine side there is a "mirador" (viewpoint) nearly in front of the Sheraton hotel, on the way to the Circuito Inferior (Lower Circuit). Even if it closed, you can always walk up to the first staircase landing, where you will have a nice view of the forest. And if you walk the half mile from the visitor center to the Iguazu station instead of taking the train, you will have some good chances for taking nice photos.
LOWER CIRCUIT: The first photo you will probably want to take is a view of the forest that surrounds the path. If you go early in the morning you may see some coatis, but the chances are far lower than on the Brazilian side. After walking for a good while you will come to the first fall, where the water literally roars. If you have a camcorder, you will really enjoy this sight. If not, you have two viewpoints here for taking photos, that will be really beautiful. Further on, you will have a very nice view of the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's throat) but you will need a good zoom, at least 3X, if you want to get a close-up. Walking further on you will have an impressive view of the San Martín fall, and further on you will have a beautiful view of the Bosetti fall, where you will literally touch the water. The last two places where you can take beautiful photos here are the Dos Hermanas (Two Sisters) fall, with a very nice pool underneath, and the Salto Chico (Small Fall) where you will see the red-coloured rocks. On the Upper Circuit (Circuito Superior) you will have impressive views from the top of the falls, and the best panoramic views are from where you meet the first or second fall.
A photo from the top of the Salto Chico and from the top of the Salto Bosetti downwards are really worthwhile, and if you have a camcorder, zoom in the water, sometimes the water spray resembles fireworks. In the San Martin island you will have different views, you will cross some lizards, vegetation will be different, and you will see impressively large ferns. On the train to Garganta del Diablo (included in the admission fee) you will go through the forst and will see some huge bamboo canes. You then have to walk about a mile crossing bridges over the different branches of the Iguazú river, with very nice sceneries. If the river is low, water will be nearly transparent. But the best views are at the Garganta del Diablo (Devil's throat). Go with five or ten photo films, or with enough memory for two hundred photos if you have a digital camera: you can buy films at the national park but they will cost you at least six or seven dollars. At Puerto Iguazú you will buy them for half that money.
Finally, remember that you have a self-serve restaurant on the Brazilian side just on top of the Santa María fall, and in the National Park in Argentina you have many options for eating (fast food, vegetarian, all-you-can-eat barbecue, etc.) where you will spend about 7 to 12 dollars for a good meal, including wine, or far less for a hamburger and a coke. A block away from the Libertador hotel you have a good photo shop that can develop your photos in an hour or two. I am not sure if they can pass them to a CD. I have been told that the Sendero Macuco has beautiful places, but I have not visited it yet. The last time I was there it was closed, but it should be open now. Enjoy your stay.