Iguazu Falls are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Argentina and must be visited at least once in a lifetime. Listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world, the Iguazú Falls are shared between Brazil and Argentina. Each side is different and deserves its own article so in this first post I will tell you everything you need to know for visiting Iguazu Falls in Argentina.
In this post you will find:
- Where are the Iguazu Falls located
- How to get to Puerto Iguazú
- How to get from Iguazu airport to downtown
- Where to stay in Puerto Iguazú
- What is the best time to visit Iguazú Falls
- How many days do you need to visit Iguazú Falls
- Getting to Iguazu Falls Argentina side
- Entrance to Iguazu National Park
- Circuits in Iguazu Falls
- Tips for visiting Iguazu Falls in Argentina
- Other things to do in Puerto Iguazu
As you might know if you’ve read my blog for a while, I’m from Argentina and live here. But somehow I’ve never visited the Iguazú Falls before December 2019. I’ve been wanting to visit this part of my country for years but for some reason I always ended up postponing the trip or going somewhere else.
I finally got to know them and understood why they are one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It is not possible to show in photos or express in words the beauty of the falls or the force of nature you feel there. Now I can say it is definitely one of the most amazing regions in Argentina and a place that everyone must visit if traveling to the country.
If you ask me, I liked the Argentine side of the Iguazú Falls much more and it is not because it is my country only, but because you can really experience the falls. The Iguazu Falls are formed by 275 falls and 80% of them are located in Argentina. The Brazilian side offers beautiful panoramic views of the falls, and it is certainly worth a visit. But if you only have 1 day for your visit, I would totally recommend visiting the Argentina side.
Where are the Iguazu Falls located
The Iguazu Falls are located on the Iguazu River, which is the limit between the province of Misiones in Argentina and the state of Paraná in Brazil. They are located in two national parks: the Iguazú National Park in Argentina and the Iguaçu National Park in Brazil. Each side must be visited on different days since the visit takes time and you need to pay two different tickets to enter each park. The city of Puerto Iguazú (Argentina) is located 17 km from the falls, and is where most of the people make a base to explore them. The other option is to stay in Foz do Iguaçu, the closest city to the Falls on the Brazilian side.
The Iguazú Falls were named one of the Seven Wonders of Nature in 2011 and they are the largest waterfall system in the world (not the highest ones).
How to get to Puerto Iguazú
The closest city to the Iguazú Falls in Argentina is Puerto Iguazú, which you can easily reach by different types of transport from other cities in Argentina. Ways to get to Puerto Iguazú:
↣ Plane: Definitely the easiest way to get to Iguazú and the one I recommend. Puerto Iguazú International Airport receives flights from other cities in Argentina. If you travel from Buenos Aires (the capital city of Argentina), there are many daily flights to Iguazu. The airlines that fly daily to Puerto Iguazu are: Aerolineas Argentinas, Austral, Latam, Andes Lineas Aéreas, Flybondi and Jetsmart. There is also an Air Europa direct flight from Madrid to Iguazu.
If you’re visiting Buenos Aires read: Buenos Aires guide by a local.
HOW TO GET FROM IGUAZÚ AIRPORT TO DOWNTOWN: Puerto Iguazú airport is located about 25 km from the city center.
- Taxi: grabbing a taxi is a quick but expensive option. Just outside the airport you can take a taxi downtown for $950 Argentine pesos (price updated in December 2019). The taxi between the Iguazú airport to the center of Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil costs around ARS$1900.
- Shared shuttle: right at the arrivals hall of the airport you will see a stand from Four Tourist Travel, a company which offers a shared shuttle service directly to your hotel at the center of Puerto Iguazú. This was the option I chose as it seemed comfortable and cheap. Keep in mind that it takes longer as it stops and leaves people in the different hotels, so it’s not an option if you are in a hurry. The price for a single trip is ARS$250 per person and ARS$450 if you pay for a round trip. The vans leave from the airport every 20 or 30 minutes.
You can also book this shared transfer from the airport to your hotel offered by GetYourGuide. The price is about the same as Four Tourist travel and it can save you some time as you can book it in advance.
↣ Bus: another option for getting to Puerto Iguazú is to take a bus from other cities in Argentina. From Buenos Aires (Retiro terminal) the trip to Iguazú takes around 18 hours. Some bus companies that travel to Iguazú are: Via Bariloche, Río Uruguay and Crucero del Norte. Unless you are in a city near Iguazú, I don’t recommend this option because it takes a lot of time to get there and it isn’t so cheaper comparing it to the price of plane tickets in low cost companies like Flybondi or Jetsmart.
↣ Car: you can also get to Puerto Iguazú with your own car and it is very comfortable as once you’re there you won’t have to worry about how to move.
Where to stay in Puerto Iguazú
Puerto Iguazú is a small city but it has a great offer of accommodation due to the number of tourists visiting the Iguazú Falls every day. There are different areas to stay. Most of the hotels are in the center of Puerto Iguazú. My recommendation is to book a hotel near the bus terminal where the buses that take you to the Falls depart. There are other hotels located further from the city center, right in the middle of the jungle. These hotels are really beautiful but keep in mind that you will have to spend more money on transport if you stay here, unless you have your own car.
Some recommended hotels in Puerto Iguazú are:
- $ – Tangoinn Downtown: if you are looking for a hostel or a budget hotel, this is your place. The Tangoinn is located in the center of Puerto Iguazú, near the bus station. The hostel also has a brewery and a restaurant named Holy Brewery. I didn’t stay here but tried the beer and food and really liked it. They have both shared and private rooms. Tangoinn Downtown prices on Booking.
- $$ – O2 Hotel Iguazú: this was the hotel where I stayed with my boyfriend for 4 nights and we were fascinated. The O2 Iguazú is a new hotel, with all the facilities, located in the center of Puerto Iguazú about 6 minutes from the bus terminal. It is also close to restaurants and shops. The hotel has a rooftop pool overlooking the Iguazu River, gym, sauna, and a restaurant located on the ground floor. If you are looking for a nice place but don’t want to spend too much this hotel is perfect. Prices of O2 Hotel Iguazú in Booking.
- $$$ – Gran Melia Iguazú: if you want to experience the Iguazú Falls at its fullest, the Gran Melia Iguazú is the only hotel located inside the Iguazú National Park in Argentina. From the window of your room you can see the waterfalls! It is a truly unique hotel and obviously has all the comforts and an excellent service. Prices of Gran Melia Iguazú on Booking.
What is the best time to visit Iguazu Falls?
The climate of the Iguazu Falls area is humid subtropical, so temperatures tend to be warm year-round and the weather is very humid. Any time is good to visit the Iguazú Falls but the best time is from March to May, which is when the rainy season and summer are over.
Iguazú Falls receive tourists any time of the year, but if you want to avoid the largest crowds don’t go in Easter week or other Argentine holidays like carnival weekend (22-25th February).
From May to September the temperature is drier and cooler, with temperatures between 10º and 25ºC. It is a good time to visit if you suffer the hot weather.
The summer (December to March) in Misiones is very hot, and it is usually the season when it rains the most. I went to Iguazú in mid-December and the weather was hot but not extreme. The temperatures were around 25°-30 °C but as you get wet by the myst of the falls I didn’t suffer the hot weather .
How many days do you need to visit Iguazú Falls?
I recommend that you stay 3 nights. Visiting the Iguazú Falls in Argentina side takes at least 1 full day.
The visit to the Brazilian side is shorter and it takes only half a day.
In addition to this there are other possible tours that you can take and depending on this you will need 1 extra day. For example, if you are going to do the full moon tour, The Great Adventure or the Macuco trail, you will surely need 1 more day. If you go with children it is also good to visit the Iguazú Falls in Argentina in 2 days.
My boyfriend and I visited the 3 circuits of the Iguazú Falls in Argentina + The Great Adventure tour in a single day, and stayed in the park until closing. We were able to do it but we ended up exhausted and had the Macuco trail still pending (for which we needed 1 more day).
Getting to the Iguazu Falls Argentina side
- Your own car: You can get there by car and pay the parking. The cost is ARS$170 per day.
- Taxi: from your hotel you can take a taxi. From the center of Iguazú, in December 2019, taxis the prices to the park entrance was around ARS$800. It is an expensive option and I don’t recommend it unless you’re a group of 4 people or you are staying at a hotel far from the city center.
- Bus: this is the option I chose. From the Bus Terminal of Puerto Iguazú, there are local buses that leave you at the entrance of the Iguazú National Park. The bus company which offers this trip is called Río Uruguay. The first bus departs at 7 am and has a frequency of 20 minutes. The ticket costs ARS$180 (one way) and is purchased at the moment of the trip at the bus terminal (you will see several stands from Rio Uruguay). The last bus returns from the park at 7:50 pm. They only accept cash (it’s about time they change this). The bus trip to the falls takes around 30/40 minutes as it stops in the city before starting the trip. Getting to Iguazú National Park by bus is a comfortable and cheap option if you are staying near the bus terminal.
- Book a tour: the best option so you don’t worry about transportation is to book a tour in advance. This tour includes the hotel pickup and drop-off from Puerto Iguazu, entrance tickets to the National Park and a guided walking tour along the falls.
Entrance to Iguazú National Park
The park opens every day from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The last time to enter is at 4:30 pm. Tickets are purchased directly at the ticket offices in the park and can be paid in cash (in Argentine pesos), by credit or debit card.
These are the ticket prices for Iguazú National Park (updated December 2019):
|Mercosur Residents (Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela)||ARS$640|
|Rate for National Residents||ARS$410|
|Rate for children from 6 to 12 years old – General||ARS$200|
|Rate for children from 6 to 12 years – Mercosur Residents||ARS$160|
|Rate for children from 6 to 12 years – National residents||ARS$130|
|Rate for Provincial residents and National Pensioners||ARS$80|
|Local residents, people with disabilities and children up to 5 years||Free entry|
To access discounted rates, you must present your ID or passport to prove your nationality.
↣ 50% discount visiting the park on 2 consecutive days: If you want to visit the park 2 days you get a 50% DISCOUNT on your second visit. To access this discount you need to validate your ticket at the park entrance upon leaving on the first day.
↣ What does the ticket entrance include? The entrance to the park includes access to all the trails and Tren de la Selva (an ecological train use to move between the different areas of the park).
Circuits in Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Trails included in the entrance ticket to Iguazú National Park:
All the trails inside the park have signs and can be done on your own, it is not necessary to hire a guide. It is best to go to the park very early in the morning so yoy can visit all the main circuits in one day. Most of the park’s trails are suitable for people with reduced mobility and baby strollers.
- Ecological Jungle Train: inside the park there is a train that takes you to the beginning of some trails. The train goes from the Central Station (located near the park entrance) to the Devil’s Throat Station and has an intermediate stop at Cataratas Station where the Lower and Upper Circuits start. The train has a frequency of 30 minutes. The last train leaves from Devil’s Throat Station at 5:30 p.m. This train is included at the entrance to the park and can you can take it as many times as you want. It is an ecological train because it works with gas, being a fuel that does not generate an impact on the environment.
- Green trail: it is a short trail of 600 meters that goes from the service area of the park to the Cataratas Station and the beginning of the Upper and Lower Circuits. It is an alternative to the ecological train to start the day visiting these circuits.
- Upper circuit: This trail starts near Cataratas Station and offers panoramic views of the waterfalls from different walkways. The total trail is 1700 meters long and will take you about 1 hour. The trails is perfectly suitable for anyone.
- Lower circuit: the lower circuit also begins near Cataratas Station and allows you to get closer to the falls. There are some stairs in this trails, especially at the beginning. The trail ends at the Bosetti waterfall, with water splashing in your face and a spectacular view. The circuit is 1400 meters long and the route takes about 2 hours (it depends on how long you spend at the end).
- Garganta del Diablo: the Devil’s Throat is the highlight of the park: with 80 meters it is the highest waterfall in Iguazú Falls. The trail is 2200 meters long (round trip). Once you reach the Devil’s Throat you are going to get sprayed by the myst so you have to be very careful if carrying a camera.
- Macuco Trail and Salto Arrechea: this is most virgin path of the park, so it is possible to see some animals such as monkeys, spiders, snakes and birds. The trail ends at Arrachea Waterfall where you can swim. It is a longer hike, so it is best if you visit it on a second day in the park. It is 7000 meters long (round trip) and takes approximately 2.30 / 3hs, depending on how long you stay at the waterfall. The entrance to Macuco Trail is allowed from 8:00 am to 3 pm. This trail is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the park as it is the least visited and allows you to have more contact with nature.
Other tours (not included in the entrance ticket):
- Full moon walk:
5 nights a month it is possible to take a unique walk and admire the Iguazú Falls in the light of the moon. Everyone who experiences this tour really loves it so if you happen to be in Iguazú on full moon nights, don’t miss it. The tour lasts 2.5 hours and there are three shifts every night: 7:45 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. The tour begins at the entrance to the park and includes a professional guide. The circuit you visit is Devil’s Throat.
This tour is NOT included in the regular entrance to the park, it must be booked in advance on the website of the Iguazú National Park. Prices are: ARS$2100 adults, children from 6 to 12 years ARS$1050 and children under 6 enter fir free. If you want to know the exact days this tour is available and book your tickets enter the Iguazú National Park website.
- The Great Adventure
I took this tour and totally recommend it! The Great Adventure begins with a truck ride through the jungle along the Yacaratiá trail, with a guide (Spanish and English speaking) that informs you about the flora and fauna of the park. Then you arrive at Puerto Macuco where the funniest part of the tour begins: navigate the rapids of the Iguazu River and literally go under the falls. A speedboat gets you under Tres Musqueteros Falls and San Martín Falls and you end up soaked! After this, you return to the trucks that return you to where the tour started.
The Great Adventure lasts 2.15 hours and is offered only by Iguazú Jungle company, which has several offices inside the park. The tour begins at the central office of Iguazú Jungle located near the lower circuit (you will see that there are signs of Iguazú Jungle and staff from the company dressed in yellow shirts). The minimum age to take this tour is 12 years.
The price of The Great Adventure is ARS$3000 per person. It is expensive compared to everything in Iguazú but believe me it is totally worth it. For more information about the tour and schedules, visit Iguazú Jungle website.
↣ This tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off in Puerto Iguazu and tickets to The Great Adventure.
If you want to see what this experience looks like, I invite you to watch this video of my visit.
- Ecological Trip
Another nautical tour offered by Iguazú Jungle is the Ecological Trip, where you sail the Iguazú River on rafts. It is a much silent and quieter experience than the Great Adventure and it has no age restrictions. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and the price is ARS$700 per person.
Tips for visiting Iguazu Falls in Argentina
- Where to eat in Iguazú National Park?
Inside the park you will find different restaurants and places to buy food or drinks. In the restaurant located near the upper circuit for example, price for a plate is around ARS$400. You can also bring your own food to the park, there are different spaces with tables.
- Bring your water bottle.
Inside the park there are several points with drinking water so you can refill your bottle. In this way you take care of the environment and you stay hydrated.
- What to pack for Iguazú Falls?
It is best to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. You must also bring sunscreen, hat and sunglassess to protect from the sun and insect repellent. If you are going to do The Great Adventure tour, you should bring extra clothes to change or just a swimsuit. Many people also prefer to wear a rain poncho which is quite useful if you don’t want to get splash. Another great thing to pack is a quick dry towel to dry off after the boat ride.
- Respect the wildlife.
Inside the park you will probably encounter animals, especially the famous coatis who are not afraid of humans and get closer to try to steal your food. It is very important that you DON’T feed these animals. Many get sick from eating human food and stop getting their own food because it is easier to steal. The coatis are very cute, but they are still wild animals, therefore you don’t have to touch them as they can transmit diseases.
Other things to do in Iguazu besides the falls:
In addition to visiting the falls, there are other places and tours you can visit from Puerto Iguazú. Some activities are:
- Hito 3 fronteras
In the city of Puerto Iguazú you can visit the Triple Frontier, a a tri-border area along the junction of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, where the Iguazú and Paraná rivers converge. In Puerto Iguazú (Argentina), Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) and Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil) there is a small monument with the flag of each country. You can stand in Argentina and see Paraguay and Brazil at the same time.
If you have some free time you can visit La Aripuca, an eco-tourism entrepreneurship
built with the purpose of creating awareness about natural resources and spreading the culture of the region. The Aripuca is a construction inspired by the traps that Guarani people used to hunt birds. I did not visit it so I cannot say whether it is worth visiting or not.
- San Ignacio Miní and Wanda mines
San Ignacio Miní was one of the missions founded in Argentina by the Jesuits during the Spanish colonial period. The ruins are located 60 km from Posadas, the capital city of Misiones and about 240 km from Puerto Iguazú.
If you don’t have a car, the best option to visit this historic site is to take a tour. This tour also includes a visit to the Wanda mines, where semiprecious stones are extracted.
I hope this complete guide to visiting the Iguazú Falls in Argentina is useful to you. I will also publish a complete guide for visiting the falls in Brazil so stay tuned. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave a comment!
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