As in Up (a favorite DVD night during our round the world), we followed Mr Fredricksen’s dream of seeing the largest waterfalls in South America and headed to Iguazu falls. Impressive..really. Nature is stronger than Man (i hope)
As the falls lie exactly at the border between Argentina and Brazil, you could choose to be based in either country, I don’t think it would make much of a difference. We chose the Brazilian side. However, for the visits, I do think it’s worth seeing the falls from both sides and spending at least 2 nights, maybe 3 to allow plenty of time.
The Argentine and Brazilian side differ quite a bit. You have a more panoramic view from the Brazilian side, but the trail there is rather short (about 1.5km) and can easily be done in half a day. On the Argentine side, you really need a full day. And then there are plenty of outdoor activities to take with the children if they are old enough for the adrenalin rush (rafting, boat trip to the falls, 4Wd in the jungle..)
Be prepared to be surrounded by tourists as there’s no way to avoid it unfortunately. The Brazilian side felt a bit calmer and the paths were all shaded by the trees.
To plan your stay, here are some BozAround tips…
– In the Argentina side, you travel for a while with a little train (not as fun as it sounds), and you have 3 main trails: the Devil’s throat (must-see), the Upper circuit (for good close ups from above) and the Lower circuit (for close ups from below). In the Inferior trail, you will get wet for sure, and beware that there are lots of stairs, making it rather tricky if you use a stroller. All together, it’s about 6km of trails on the Argentinian side.
– In the Brazilian side, you can take an excursion called Macuco Boat Safari, which I was dying to do, but Marcelo and Amalya would have been too scared (I don’t think I would do it with children less than 10 years old although there is no age limit). You take a boat trip all the way to the falls, super close up, and come back. It last 35min and the boat takes you and brings you back to the shore. Sounds fun.
– You can do a similar high-adrenalin boat trip on the Argentinian side but there, the boat takes you close to the falls and leaves you on a trail where there is then the long walk.
– There are additional ecological trails offered on either side going in the forest, they can be booked the same day. We did not have time to do those and I regretted. The thick jungle is beautiful, and there are tons of birds species.
– The helicopter ride above the falls is pricey, but quite worth it. You can only do it the Brazilian side as Argentina does not do it for ecological reasons (although the verdict is out there on the real impact). It’s US$100 per person, but young children won’t pay (Marcelo,5, and Amalya,2, sat on our laps and it was fine). You can’t book it in advance. Just show up at the helicopter pad before the entrance of the national park, between 9am and 5pm.
– We found a really nice taxi driver at the Argentine airport, and agreed on a deal for the next day to take us back and forth from Argentina and Brazil. Pablo Barreto Tel: 03757-15416047 / Cel: 054-3757-15540089 or [email protected]
Feeling like Mr Fredricksen from the helicopter ride…Up, Up, Up
Ps: Do not forget your passports when you go from Brazil to Argentina to visit the falls, and vice versa!