First the heat – it really hits you. 40°C (104°F) plus. Hot, humid, and so sweaty you just don’t care. Lugging a back-pack makes the going even hotter and more difficult, and rather slow. Everything around you is wet, gorgeously lush, and very green – not the Argentina most people know.
Then the butterflies. Thousands and thousands of them. Every shade and colour. Perching momentarily everywhere.
On ears, hair, arms, fingers, ankles, rucksacks. Quenching their thirst on your sweaty skin. From a distance they might look like a snow storm. Up close, you see every detail, every mark on their beautiful wings.
And finally the water. The sheer volume, the sound, the spray, the enormous scale of it all. Everywhere you look tons and tons of water are roaring over rocky drops taller than the Niagara Falls, falling into a deep, deep secret unseen place shrouded in a swirling mist of angry foam.
This is Iguazú – a must-do on any Argentina travel itinerary – despite the sweating!
The falls are part of the Iguazú River, which forms the border between Argentina and Brazil, and they can be viewed from either country. On the Argentina side, you can follow a network of wooden walkways, just above the surface of the river, until suddenly you are perched out over the most violent, thundering part of the falls – Devil’s Throat. Being right on top of the action really takes your breath away!
The 270 separate falls, or “cataratas”, cover such a wide area that it’s impossible to see them all at once, but the view from the Brazilian side comes close. Getting to the Brazilian side of the falls can be tricky for citizens of countries that require visas to enter Brazil, but a friendly private guide and a bit of cash will usually do the trick. And it’s worth it.
You can also elect to take an exciting boat ride up the river to the base of the falls, where you really feel their force, but be prepared to get wet.
If you are travelling from Buenos Aires, often the easiest and most cost-effective way to see Iguazú Falls is by booking a package holiday – including flights, accommodation and tours – with a local travel agent. The town of Puerto Iguazú is relatively quiet, and there isn’t much to do besides exploring the falls, so a two-day visit is plenty to see the falls in all their glory from both sides of the border.
If you are making your own arrangements for a stay in Iguazú, here are a few reliable hotels in the area:
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