This is a guest post written by Kieu from GQ trippin
We’re thrilled at the opportunity to guest post for Caz and Craig and share one of our recent adventures with you all — our visit to Iguazu Falls in South America — a natural wonder we think should top everyone’s must see list!
Iguazu falls (also referred to as Iguassu or Iguacu) are waterfalls of the Iguazu River located on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Victoria Falls may be the largest waterfall in the world, and Niagara the most famous. But Iguazu is equally impressive.
Gerard and I had the chance to visit both sides — Foz do Iguacu (Brazil) and Puerto Iguazu (Argentina).
I’m surprised I never heard much of the falls prior to our South America trip and I think it’s because when you think of waterfalls, Niagara or Victoria often comes to mind. Well, that’s all about to change.
Some facts you may not know about Iguazu Falls:
- Taller than Niagara; wider than Victoria
- Iguazu translated from the native Indian language means “Big Water“
- Greatest average annual flow of water in the world
- Featured in the movie Mr. Magoo and Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Arguably the most beautiful natural wonders I’ve ever seen. So you’re probably wondering..
Which side is better?
The equal opportunist in me would say, both sides are great! That’s the honest truth. You should definitely see both. Having had the chance to visit both sides of the fall, I have my favorite and so does Gerard.
But before you make your pick, it all depends on what you want to see. And how. Here’s hoping to help you decide.
The best view is all in how you prefer to see it. By land or atop?
Panoramic. For a panoramic view, picture perfect postcard of the falls, head on over to the Brazil side. Consisting of a network of 275 waterfalls spanning an area of 3km wide, virtually every angle, a 360 view, is incredibly breathtaking. It’s impossible to take a bad photo here.
Aerial. If you want to experience the falls from atop, that’s on the Argentina side. It’s hard to understand the sheer power and enormity of the falls from ground level. Here on the Argentinian side and a view from the top, you will understand why Iguazu holds the title for the greatest average annual flow of water in the world.
Fair warning, you’ll get mist a little.
Trails. If you enjoy a good hike, the Brazil side is for you. It’s approximately a slow 40-minute hike to the falls. The hike was relatively easy, with minimal steps and uphill trek. I’m not much of a hiker but this was doable in my books.
Plus, when you hike, you get to see a lot of smaller falls along the trails. Perfect photo opportunity virtually every step of the way.
If you’re not a hiker by nature or have trouble accessing uneven trails and steps, you can stay on the double-decker bus and it will take to all the way to the end where you can take the elevator down to see the falls (no hike!).
Catwalks. If you’re traveling with family and/ or persons with disabilities, the Argentina side is more equipped for your needs. With built in catwalks over dirt and gravel, the Argentinian side is definitely more pedestrian friendly. The steel trails and bridges makes getting to the falls easily accessible for all ages.
The Argentinian side has a train system with (3) main stations — Estacion Central (at the entrance of the park), Estacion Cataratas (lower circuits) and Estacion Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) allowing for easy transport to different viewing points of the falls so your walk is minimal.
If you’re deathly afraid of insects and bugs, the Brazil side is not for you. We were nearly eaten alive during our jungle ride through the forest and water boat ride.
However, if you love birds (like we do), visit Parque du Aves. The bird park is not located within the Iguazu Falls’ premises. It’s a completely separate park conveniently located across the street! Completely worth a trip back (and the extra stamps in our passports) to the Brazil side.
If you enjoy wildlife, the Argentinian side offers a variety of exotic birds and butterflies, not to mention daytime raccoons for no additional cost! They’re everywhere so be on the lookout.
The water boat ride to the falls is best seen and experienced from the Brazil side. However, you should also know:
- It costs $100 per person
- There is a jungle bus ride before you reach the boat.
- You’re not going to get wet. You’re going to get drenched!
- Rain poncho’s are worthless
Iguassu Falls Boat Ride from GQ trippin on Vimeo.
You can rappel down the waterfall, zip-line through the jungle on the Argentinian side. We did neither for lack of time but we hear it’s great. However, I consider the walk to Devil’s Throat an activity as it was a great experience and quite enjoyeable for us both.
At times, the catwalk bridges over waterways and offers some amazing views. Like this one!
Double rainbow.. | Puerto Iguazu, Argentina
Other things to consider
- The helicopter tour is only available on the Brazil side.
- Rainbows — single or double — is best seen on the Argentina side.
- Bring water and bug repellent for Brazil, a hat and sunscreen for Argentina.
- Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) is cash only!
Now that you have the facts, we have one question for you.
Are you Team Argentina or Team Brazil?
The verdict for us?
The Brazil side may have given us the best shot from the entire trip, but our vote is for the experience with Argentina.
The Argentinian side had a lot more to offer — comfortable trails, different viewing points and numerous activities to choose from. Plus, double rainbows and colorful butterflies are far better than giant mosquitoes and spiders!
Bio: We’re Gerard and Kieu from GQtrippin.com! To sum our story in short, G’s job quit him and I (Q) am taking a career break to travel (half) the world — New Zealand, Australia and Asia to be exact.