Eleanor Roosevelt supposedly uttered “Poor Niagara” upon seeing Iguazu Falls Argentina.
I’ve been to both and I have to agree with Mrs. Roosevelt on this one.
The falls in Iguazu are breathtaking and deserving of every hyperbolic term in the book.
I’ve been to Iguazu in Argentina twice now and it’s truly something I’ll never tire of.
I could (and likely will) go again and again.
This post is a complete guide to help you visit Iguazu Falls Argentina.
QUICK NOTE: This post contains affiliate links and Sol Salute may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you.
In this post:
Complete Guide to Visiting Iguazu Falls Argentina Side
While you can see Niagara from pretty much one vantage point and have seen it all, Iguazu is made up of 150-300 smaller waterfalls (depending on water levels).
You can easily spend a few days here walking the different trails and viewing it from both the Argentine and Brazilian sides.
This post is a complete guide filled with everything you need to know to visit Iguazu Falls in Argentina.
Important Details on Visiting Iguazú National Park
- Iguazu National Park in Argentina is open every day of the year from 8 am. You can enter the park until 4:30 in the afternoon, but you need to be out by 6.
- Read more about the national parks in Argentina here.
- The cost is $10,000 pesos for non-residents. If you validate your ticket at the ticket windows when leaving, you’ll receive a 50% discount on your second visit (must be next consecutive day).
- You can pay in cash (in pesos) or credit card.
- Your ticket includes everything. It includes access to all walking paths to the falls (upper circuit, lower circuit & Devil’s Throat). It also includes the free ferry to cross over to San Martin Island (which is absolutely worth doing) and use of the Tren de la Selva train.
- There are restaurants and facilities within the park.
- There are buses from the Puerto Iguazu bus station that will take you to the park or you can take a taxi. You won’t need a rental car in Iguazu.
How much time to spend in Iguazu
Budget for at least 6 hours in the park, minimum.
Ideally, if you can spend two days there, you’ll be able to see everything.
If you want to go to the Brazilian side, that will also need its own day.
Can you do Iguazu in a day?
Well, can and should are two different things.
If you must, some people go in a day from Buenos Aires. I think this natural wonder deserves at least a few days to do it justice.
Give yourself two nights minimum to see everything at a relaxed pace, three or four nights are even better if you can spare them.
Can you visit both Argentina and Brazil in one day?
Here we are again with can and should, again, but the answer is a reluctant yes. It will be a long day and you should do it with a private driver to make it all in time.
Getting to Iguazu Falls from Buenos Aires
The flight to Iguazu from Buenos Aires is a short 1 hour 45 minute hop to the northeast.
There are a number of airlines flying this route now.
The increased competition plus the currency devaluations of late have made flying domestically in Argentina much more affordable.
For a complete, detailed answer to this question, read my guide on how to get from Buenos Aires to Iguazu.
The main airline in Argentina is Aerolineas Argentina and they offer the most routes, allowing for more flexible departure times.
FlyBondi is a new locally-based budget airline offering extremely competitive prices to fly in Argentina. They also have a route to Iguazu, check prices and times for them here.
Just keep in mind that Flybondi and fellow budget airline Jetsmart charge for things like luggage and seat selection, similar to Europe’s Ryan Air.
Unique Tours in Puerto Iguazu
I recommend spending a full two days (at the very minimum, one entire day) exploring Argentina’s side of the falls.
Keep reading this article for a complete guide on how to do that!
If you have more time in Puerto Iguazu, there are some really unique things to do that you can’t see anywhere else in Argentina.
- Horseback Ride & Guarani Village Tour | Go horseback riding and learn about the original (and current) inhabitants of this land, the Guarani people. Click here for more information.
- Helicopter Ride | If you have the budget for it, you’ll never forget the experience of seeing Iguazu Falls from above in a helicopter! Click here for more information.
- Mocona Falls | Mocona Falls are the other, lesser known waterfalls of Argentina. A fault line divides a river causing these waterfalls to run the length of the river. It is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, we went on a Misiones road trip to see them and LOVED it, read our guide here to see more about it. This day trip is the perfect way to see them from Iguazu in a day.
How to get to Iguazu Falls from Puerto Iguazu
The bus company Rio Uruguay runs regular buses from the town of Puerto Iguazu to the falls.
The buses leave every 20 minutes.
The route begins at the Hito de los Tres Fronteras monument and stops at the bus station.
The station (estacion de omnibus) is the easiest place for you to catch the bus.
Read more: 7 Official Natural Wonders of Argentina
You can also take a taxi or remis from your hotel, ask them to arrange pick up for you.
Which side: Argentina or Brazil?
Both times I’ve visited from Argentina while living in Buenos Aires, so my point of view comes from using Argentina as a base.
However, Brazil is just across the river.
Both countries have national parks and offer completely different experiences for viewing the waterfalls.
In Argentina, you really feel like you are IN the falls.
There are multiple trails and paths to explore different angles and viewpoints.
The falls on the Brazil side offers a more panoramic view of the falls (just look below).
If you have the time, I recommend visiting Iguazu from both sides.
If you don’t have the time for both, I’d choose the Argentine side of Iguazu.
There’s just so much more to see here. With the upper circuit, lower circuit, devil’s throat and the wildlife, you won’t be disappointed.
Do I Need a Visa for Brazil?
Currently, US citizens do not need a visa to visit Brazil.
🚨 That will change on January 10, 2024 when US, Canadian, and Australian citizens will once again need a visa to visit Brazil.
The good news is that supposedly the visa process will be processed completely online and be a painless procedure (unlike the expensive and time consuming 10 year visa I needed to get in 2010).
Not from the US, Canada or Australia? I advise checking your local embassy’s website for information.
Guided tour to the Brazilian Side
Don’t think twice, the Brazilian side is SO worth the time if you have the day to spare.
As I mentioned above, the views are vastly different than from the Argentina side.
It can be overwhelming figuring out how to navigate the visit on your own, so I recommend a guided tour like this one.
Tours like this include hotel pick-ups and drop-offs as well as lunch, making it a complete experience.
Otherwise, you can hire a taxi for the benefits of a private driver.
Prices are reasonable and it’s the most flexible. Ask your hotel to help arrange a driver.
No Two Visits will be Alike
I’ve been to Iguazu twice. Once in 2010 and again with my parents in 2015. In 2010, the water was INTENSE (see above).
Flooding had carried away some of the catwalks, closing off parts of the park. We were always drenched by the mist and spray. It was impressive!
My roommate had visited the year before me and the falls were bone dry. This must be very rare, but from looking at his photos he might as well have visited the Grand Canyon.
And in 2015, we noticed a change in just the three days we were there.
Thanks to heavy rains upriver, the falls were much stronger on our third day than the first.
The photos below were taken from the same angle, one is just more zoomed in (one on our first day, the 2nd on our third day).
So keep in mind that you’ll have a unique visit, regardless of how much time you spend there. Enjoy that!
When to Visit Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Ideally, you want to be in Iguazu when it isn’t the rainy season with clear skies, the temperature is mild, and the falls are at their fullest.
It can be difficult to get all three to match up at once.
December-February means high temperatures, humidity, and rain (but also powerful waterfalls). April-June is the dry season.
August and September are dryer and cooler. Even with all this in mind, regardless of when you visit you’ll have a great visit.
Iguazu is a great destination year round.
Good times to avoid may depend less on rainfall and more on local holidays (and this goes for all of Argentina, not just Iguazu).
If you can, avoid January and the final two weeks in July. This is peak travel season due to summer and winter school holidays.
Easter week is also a busy travel week for locals. There will be crowds and higher prices during these Argentine peak seasons.
Read more: The Best Time of Year to Visit Argentina
What to do in Iguazu National Park
Upper & Lower Circuits
There are 2 main circuits: the Upper Circuit and the Lower Circuit. After entering the park, you can take the Tren de la Selva (or Jungle Train) to both the Upper and Lower Circuits.
- The Upper Circuit is shorter and just half a mile and will take around an hour. It has catwalks leading you on top of the falls with views over the nearly 200 foot high waterfalls. It’s very impressive.
- The Lower Circuit can take 2-3 hours to explore, with multiple viewpoints and paths. This is where you can catch the free ferry to San Martin Island (depending on water levels). You can also pay for a speedboat ride right up to and under one of the falls. NOTE: The lower circuit is partially closed while they investigate and repair land erosion safety issues, they have reopened Salto Dos Hermanos and Salto Bella Vista. Updated: Jan. 2022
After walking the circuits you can make your way back to the jungle train station to continue on to Devil’s Throat. There are bathrooms and restaurants here as well.
Boat Ride Under the Falls
Ok, not UNDER but close enough to feel like you are under them.
And few things will give you a bigger rush than the feeling of Iguazu Falls crashing down near your little speedboat.
It’s one of the most common activities in the park but it’s an extra fee of 14,000 pesos (as of November 2022).
You don’t need to reserve in advance. Purchase your tickets for the next boat out in the park itself.
Keep in mind that you will get drenched on the ride. They’ll give you a dry bag to keep your belongings safe but it’s not a bad idea to wear quick dry clothing (think dri-fit clothes and Teva sandals) or bring a change of clothes for later.
Macuco Trail & Arrechea Falls Hike
This nature walk, an unexpected Argentine hike, takes you one hour into the jungle to the Arrechea Waterfall.
Important: The trail closes at 3 pm as in you must on the trail before 3 pm. This is to allow you enough time to complete the trail before the park closes.
Budget minimum 2 hours and up to three hours for this activity, an hour to get there and back and an hour to swim or have a relaxing picnic.
If you choose to swim and want to take a shower, there are showers at the train stations.
Iguazu National Park is rich in wildlife and choosing to do this hike is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the park.
For a map and more information check here.
Garganta del Diablo
Devil’s Throat (pictured below) is absolutely worth the time involved.
This is the highlight of the park.
From the station, take the catwalk pathway leading you to the falls for a little over a kilometer (round trip will be about 2.4 km).
Garganta del Diablo is massive. While walking keep your eye open for crocodiles and turtles in the water.
Enjoy & Respect the Wildlife
The jungle of Iguazu is FULL of life. If you keep your eyes open you’ll see a rainbow’s worth of colorful birds, including toucans and the yellow-eyed bluebird (above).
The coatis are the most noticeable as they are everywhere and not afraid of people in the slightest.
Beware, this cute cousin of the raccoon can inflict painful bites and scratches, don’t pet them.
Watch your food, they’ll steal it. In just seconds, before we knew it one had jumped onto our table, grabbed my mom’s ice cream and was back in the grass eating her raspberry sorbet.
When eating at the restaurants, be respectful and throw your food away in the bins. It broke my heart at night to watch the monkeys tearing open mayonnaise packets for dinner.
For more information read all about the best places to see wildlife in Argentina.
One night, when the park closed we were surprised by a troupe of monkeys and herd of coatis that seemed to come out of nowhere.
They ran along the path, playing with each other as if we weren’t even there. I just sat on the sidewalk and enjoyed the show until they decided to run back into the jungle.
Day Trips from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls
Iguazu is a breathtaking destination that deserves at least two full days.
But, if you really don’t have the time to spare, there are organized day trips from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls.
You can book one like this high-rated Iguazu day trip, and they will take care of everything, including the tour of the falls and airfare.
Full disclosure: It will be a very long day. Iguazu is by no means on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, it’s in the northeastern province of Misiones and the flight is an hour and a half.
I do not recommend an Iguazu day trip.
But, as a last resort, if you only have one day to knock this off your bucket list, it is possible if you’re willing.
Where to Stay in Iguazu
Most of the best hotels in Iguazu are in the town, Puerto Iguazu.
There are hostels and hotels for all budgets here. My favorite hotel, however, is located inside the national park in a very privileged location!
Let’s get to it…
Best Hotels In Iguazu
Fancy a treehouse vibe?
Being in the jungle there are a number of interesting hotels in Puerto Iguazu to choose from.
- Loi Suites Iguazu | Multiple pools divided by lounge chair covered decks, suspended bridges, this luxury hotel tucked away in the jungle is a unique Misiones jungle experience. Warning, you’ll want to have an extra free day to enjoy the pool and property!
- La Cantera Lodge de Selva | One star less than Loi Suites at 4 stars, this property is still a once in a life time experience with tree house-like rooms, wooden pathways weaving through the jungle, and hot tubs and pools with a view.
- Best Hostel > Beer Hotel Iguazu | Like beer or just want to a fun environment and to meet fellow travelers? The Beer Hotel’s name may feel a bit on the nose but you can’t say it isn’t accurate. This brewery meets hostel is run by Hostel Inn, a reputable hostel chain in Argentina you can trust. The pool is worth a stay for even those of us who hate beer. Important: There are both dorm-style and private rooms. And do you really love beer? Pick a beer themed room!
- Eco Hostel Iguazu | Really don’t want to stay in a booze themed hotel? I get it. Check out the Eco Hostel for an alternative hostel in Iguazu. Travel sustainably in this local run establishment.
The Luxury Splurge: Gran Meliá Iguazú
If you’re wondering where to splurge on your trip to Argentina, save it for Iguazu and stay inside the park.
The Gran Meliá Iguazú (previously the Sheraton) is located inside the Iguazu National Park grounds. You cannot beat that.
You have direct access to the park and the falls by just walking along the path past the swimming pool. We were in the park at 8 am when it opened and had the park all to ourselves, enjoying views of the falls with no other tourists blocking our views, it was priceless.
Wildlife was more active before the heat of the day set in and they disappeared into the forest. We could easily walk back to the hotel for lunch and lie by the pool before going back in for the afternoon.
From our balcony we watched the morning fog lift with a direct view of the falls. If it’s within your budget, don’t think twice about staying at the Melia.
What to Pack for Iguazu
- With the kilometers and kilometers of paths within the park, pack comfortable walking shoes. But you’re going to get wet, it’s inevitable, so bring shoes and clothes that can wet. Teva Sandals are always a great option because they’ll also give you good grip and traction. The catwalks can get slippery.
- BINOCULARS! Consider bringing a good pair of binoculars to more easily spot the wildlife that’s hiding deep in the jungle. My husband and I never travel without ours. Read my post here listing the best travel binoculars.
- Bring plastic ponchos to toss over you if the spray gets really bad. It can really depend. I needed a poncho on my first trip but didn’t use one at all on my second.
- A quick dry towel that you can toss in your backpack or tote to dry off after going on the boat ride (you will get soaked!).
- A water bottle, the jungle days get hot. I really like S’well bottles and never leave home without one. It keeps your water cold for 24 hours so it’s always fresh, and the insulation also prevents condensation (keeping the rest of your bag dry).
- Protection from the sun: sunscreen, a hat, & sunglasses.
- A camera to capture the amazing views of the waterfalls!
Read more: A complete Argentina packing guide
What to do in Puerto Iguazu Besides the Falls
There are more things to do in Puerto Iguazu than just the falls (although they are the clear and obvious highlight!)
Here are some of the best Iguazu activities if you have some extra time on your hands.
Hito 3 Fronteras
In the town of Puerto Iguazu, the Paraná and Iguazu rivers join and the three coastlines each form the border of a different country.
Stand in Argentina and look across the water at Brazil and Paraguay.
There’s a small monument with the flags of the three countries that makes a fun photo op.
La Casa de las Botellas
Just outside of town, there’s a house built entirely of plastic bottles. This perfectly livable house is built to promote a more eco-friendly way of life.
Could be interesting if you’re nearby, I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.
I have heard great things about this park! The Atlantic Rainforest is one of the most threatened and diverse ecosystems in the world.
Only 7% of the original forest remains.
Visit this park that’s working to conserve the ecosystem and its at risk species.
You’ll see animals here you may never see anywhere else (like a tapir!).
You’ll definitely see a wide variety of birds, butterflies, and fauna.
There’s a restaurant on the property to try local cuisine.
SAN IGNACIO MINI
Visit this Jesuit mission, founded in 1632. It is one of the most preserved of the Jesuit missions and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
This is quite a trek from Iguazu and would need an entire day.
If you’re traveling through the rest of Misiones as well, it’s very close to Posadas.
Pretty much all organized tours also stop at Wanda to see the semi-precious stone mines along the way.
Argentina Travel Resources
- TRAVEL INSURANCE | It is always a good idea to travel insured. It protects you in so many cases, like lost luggage and trip cancellations, medical emergencies and evacuations. It’s very affordable with the potential to save you thousands in the case of an emergency. I recommend SafetyWing.
- PHONE PLAN | These days, traveling with data is essential. Especially in Argentina where everything is managed on Instagram and WhatsApp. Purchasing a local SIM card can be tricky without a local ID, I recommend this E-SIM card. It’s hassle-free and affordable. If you have an older phone that doesn’t support E-SIM, check out DrimSim for a physical sim card alternative.
- ACCOMMODATION IN ARGENTINA | booking.com is the most common hotel site used in Argentina and it’s where you’ll find the most options.
- RENTAL CARS | I love to travel Argentina via road trip, check out RentalCars.com for the best rates for rental cars here.
- VPN | If you’ll be using a public WiFi connection and want to secure your data, I highly recommend using a VPN, I personally use and have had a good experience with ExpressVPN. I also use it to access Hulu and American Netflix from Argentina.
- FLIGHTS | Always check Google Flights and Skyscanner for flights to and within Argentina. Aerolineas Argentina is the local airline with the most routes. FlyBondi and Jetsmart are two budget airlines with dirt-cheap prices (but expect to pay for every add-on like luggage).
- NEED HELP PLANNING? | I offer one-on-one travel consultations to help you plan your trip to Argentina. Pick my brain to get a local’s insight. Click here for more information.
Read More about Northeast Argentina:
Iguazu is the most popular destination in Misiones (and Argentina overall!), but there is so much more to see while you’re in Argentina’s northeast.
- Things to know before you visit Misiones, Argentina
- The Perfect Itinerary for a Northeast Argentina Road Trip
- Mocona Falls: Argentina’s Other Falls
- The Esteros del Ibera Wetlands