We were excited to hear that travel expert and luxury traveler Dr. Cacinda Maloney of PointsandTravel was making her way down to South America to visit her beloved Argentina. Come along with her as she shows you Argentina’s beautiful Iguazu Falls!
Cascading over two miles down into the Iguazu River, it’s impossible not to be mesmerized at the sheer size and strength of Iguazu Falls which lie along the border between Argentina and Brazil. You will be awestruck as you make your way across miles of boardwalks to experience these stunningly gorgeous waterfalls. It is no wonder Iguazu Falls have been named one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature.” They are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here’s how to experience the best of what Iguazu Falls has to offer, including what to bring and where to stay.
What it’s Like to Visit Iguazu Falls
I wasn’t sure what to expect on my first journey to see the massive Iguazu Falls with Yampu Tours, especially since Iguazu Falls’ reputation precedes it. I had been wanting to go for years and was excited to finally experience it. I had been to Niagara Falls, so I thought it would be a similar experience, but nothing could be further from the truth.
What I wasn’t expecting was how easy it was to navigate. Wooden and metal boardwalks are built over the Iguazu River. These allow you to leisurely walk at your own pace to get to the different points along the Falls. This makes it more accessible for those not as adventurous as others or with disabilities, so a plus for that!
How to Experience the Best of Iguazu Falls
Stay at a Great Hotel: Loi Suites
Loi Suites has my biggest recommendation ever! It has been mentioned as one of the top 5 hotels in Iguazu Falls and I can attest it is a wonderful luxury hotel with very nice, high-end ambience. What I loved about it was its location near downtown, though it’s built in the forest—you will actually experience the nature of the surrounding subtropical forest! It also has a gorgeous swimming pool and places outside to hang out, and there are walkways built high up off the ground on the way to your room.
Arrive Early and Bring Water
This goes without saying, but the early bird gets the worm. The park opens at 9am and closes at 5pm. It is always best to go early in the morning, as the heat has not yet caught up with the day. It’s also important to keep yourself hydrated while hiking Iguazu Falls. Even though you get wet, you need fluids to keep you feeling good.
Do the Reverse of Tourists
Once inside the park, you are taken to the different areas by train. The train is free to ride and only has three stops. I recommend doing the Devil’s Throat first, to see it in all its glory and with fewer people around early in the morning. Next, ride the train to the Upper and Lower Circuits. This is in reverse of what the tourists typically do, so you will see fewer people doing this route.
Take the Gran Aventura Tour
You did just travel all the way to Iguazu Falls, so you might as well ride in a boat that goes underneath the waterfalls. You WILL get wet, but that is half the fun! You will also get to take a boat ride down the Iguazu River. The guides are funny and do an introduction about the Falls on the way in their people movers (open-top Jeeps). They also stop en route to the boat to point out wildlife and stop to allow you to see some of the animals in the forest.
Take a Helicopter Tour Over the Falls
People say the helicopter tour of Iguazu Falls is stunning. They say the view is the best on the planet! Plus, you get to visit both sides of the Falls at one time on the same day. I have seen the Kaieteur Falls in Guyana in a prop plane and that was spectacular, so I can only imagine this is stunning as well, although I did not get a chance to do this.
What to Pack
Bring Comfortable Shoes
This goes without saying, but whenever you travel you need to make sure you bring the most comfortable shoes that you can walk in for hours and hours! Like I mentioned before, there is a boardwalk, which makes it easy to navigate, so you don’t have to worry about being on trails unless you choose to take one. I wore my most comfortable walking shoes, but tennis shoes with good support work great, too.
Cover Your Skin
Self-care of your skin is important and this trip is no exception. Bring your favorite brand of sunscreen. Be sure to apply it multiple times while out in the hot sun if you are visiting during daytime. Also, bring a hat; it helps to shade your face. This can also keep you semi-dry when getting up close to the powerful waterfalls. I wore breathable shirts and shorts that wick moisture away. This kept me cooler and I was able to manage better in the heat.
You will also need a rain jacket. You can store this in your day pack until you get ready to get up close to the waterfalls. Also, if you are going to do the boat ride that sails underneath the waterfalls, bring a complete change of clothes. In the colder months, you may want to bring pants versus shorts.
Most smartphones (with cameras) are waterproof, but be aware if yours is waterproof before you get it out. Your phone and camera will get wet when you are close to the Falls. You can also bring a zipped baggie or a dive bag to store things that you don’t want to get wet. As far as DSLR cameras go, you can easily purchase a DSLR plastic camera cover to keep it from getting wet.
Just bring it. Honestly, I didn’t see any bugs or have any issues with insects while I was there, but you are in the jungle. I did not use the small bottle of spray I brought along, but I went in May. They say in spring, the mosquitoes come out!
The Iguazu Falls are some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. The pure joy and excitement of seeing them is worth every minute of getting there from Buenos Aires. It most definitely was a highlight of my recent trip to Argentina, so be sure and put it on your bucket list.
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