Next on the itinerary was Iguazu Falls, a short 2 hours flight from Buenos Aires to Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport on the Argentina side. As we’d visited Victoria Falls in 2018 we did consider skipping Iguazu Falls altogether as ‘we’d seen a huge waterfall’. However with no plans to head back to South America anytime soon we decided it was worth swinging by! Plus it felt like one of those bucket list destinations that needed ticking off!
After a bit of research it was clear that it was cheaper to fly into Cataratas del Iguazúas on an internal flight and then cross the boarder and stay on the Brazilian side. I found that for the dates we were looking, fights from Buenos Aires were significantly more into Foz do Iguaçu Brazilian airport. Likewise, I also found that to stay on the Argentina side was a few hundred pounds more expensive than on the Brazilian side.
Landing at Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport was certainly interesting. On arrival, it felt like we had landed on someones drive way and the baggage carousel was essentially a short supermarket style conveyor belt! It did appear that building work was going on to extend but I think I had just expected a larger airport for such a well known tourist destination! There was no evidence of taxi/transfer desks at ‘arrivals’ so I was pleased that I had pre arranged a transfer through Iguazu Falls Travel.
The transfer service was perfect and felt like an added bonus! Iguazu Falls Travel offers a number of packages, transfers and tours and at such good value. Our driver was waiting for us outside the airport, helped us at both the Argentine and Brazilian boarder and dropped us at the hotel in an hour! We stayed at Nadai Confort hotel in Foz do Iguaçu which follows a similar format to most of the hotels in the town, tall tower block style with a small pool and bar. Foz do Iguaçu is fairly soulless and seems to exist to house the hoards of tourists that are visiting the falls. The other accommodation option is to stay in one of the large ‘resort’ style hotels that line the main roads from the airport to the towns either side of the boarder.
As seems to be the ‘standard’ trip, we spent one day visiting the Brazilian side and another on the Argentina side. The Falls are 2700m in width, 800m are on the Brazilian side and 1900m on the Argentine side. Between both sides, there are 275 waterfalls with a range of heights (between 60m-80m) and widths. We visited in July which is classed as low season and although the crowds weren’t too bad, there were a lot of people and i’d hate to go during peak time!
The Brazilian side offers complete panoramic views of the various waterfalls and can be done in a few hours. Hector our guide picked us up and whizzed us up the entrance for opening time. The benefit of having an accredited guide meant he purchased our tickets and drove us through the park in his own car and we didn’t have to catch the ‘tourist bus’. He dropped us off at the start of the self led trail and gave us some interesting information on the Falls. It was lovely to be able to walk around and enjoy at our own pace.
Next on the list was the boat under the Falls and rafting which Chris said he wanted to do the minute he found out we were visiting! Macuco pop you on a very non descriptive vehicle through ‘the jungle’ to the boat pontoon. We went for the ‘wet’ option of the boat rides but I think you end up soaked whichever you decide. You’re so close to the Falls that you’re sat underneath them! We all ended up drenched, there was no point in wearing our waterproofs! Despite the water being freezing it was fantastic, although I must be honest on the third time round we’d had enough.
We got dropped off at a different pontoon on the way back as we were then white water rafting! It was great fun and brilliant for first timers like us. and you are steered by a member of staff at the back!
The following day we were picked up super early at 7am and off to the Argentine side. The early start was to beat the coach loads crossing the board and we certainly did! Nestor our guide was so keen we ended up with tickets on the first ‘train’ at 8am. The little train took you (very slowly) closer to the falls, not the most scenic journey but nice to feel of the warmth of the sun rising! We power walked along the boardwalk to the Devil’s Throat and we were one of the first people there! It was incredible to see the drop down into the falls and not have to fight the crowds!
Foz do Iguaçu
The city of Foz do Iguacu is fairly non descriptive and really not a huge amount going on. We spent our afternoons relaxing by the pool or having a nap! We decided not to eat at the restaurants as we wanted to venture out. Our first night we walked 15mins to Vô Luiz Pizzeria e Cucina for a superb meal! The streets were eerily quiet with minimal lighting but we never felt unsafe or vulnerable. The food was incredible but the portions were massive, to the point where 2 of us could have shared a main pasta dish. The food was so good we went back on our last evening again.
We had also had great meal at Madero steak restaurant, although it was a little soulless as it was inside a shopping centre.
As always, these are my thoughts and opinions!