Saturday, August 27, 2016
Tips for traveling to Iguazu Falls
A popular destination in Argentina is Iguazu Falls, a scenic waterfall located in the Missiones province on the boarder between Argentina and Brazil.
If you want to see the falls, you have two options to see them, the Argentine side and the Brazilian side. To put it simply, Brazil has the panoramic view of the falls, and Argentina has the actual falls themselves. In the Argentine side, you can walk around the national park with miles of trails through the jungle bringing you to different viewpoints of the falls. The Brazilian side has a smaller amount of trails and can be thoroughly explored in less time.
Both sides offer boat excursions where you can go along the lower part of the river up until the falls, where you get an up-close perspective of the roaring thunder of the falls. Some excursions actually bring you into the falls to ´ducharse´ and get soaking wet. Whether you choose the tamer excursion or choose to get wet, this should be the one thing that you do not miss out on at Iguazu. Seeing the falls up close and personal from the water is the best way to see them.
The Argentine park has 2 main trails that service viewpoints of the falls. The upper trail and the lower trail. The upper trail goes along the falls from above, so you can see the water falling down into abyss. It goes along the ridge of about half of the falls, and offers several unique viewpoints. There are a couple monkey clans that common this area, and almost the whole trail offers spectacular views. The lower trail goes below the falls, and offers a more complete view of all the action.
Aside from these two trails, there is the infamous Garganta del Diablo ´devil´s throat´. A train can take you from the park´s center past the upper trail and to the station for the Garganta del Diablo trail. From there, you walk on a path that goes over the river for about 500 meters right up to the tip of the falls.
The ´Sendero Mapuco´ is another popular trail with a more rustic path that goes through the jungle to a small waterfall (not Iguazu Falls) with a swimming area. This is a great option for the summertime to swim and cool off. At the writing of this article, the trail is currently closed due to a group of at least 5 pumas circling the area of the mapuco trail. Pumas are very dangerous, but they do not generally attack adults. Still, the park is taking all precautions to avoid any animal or human harm.
The brazilian side offers a much more relaxing way to enjoy the falls. Less hiking and wider viewpoints offer a quicker way to see the beauty of the park without straining yourself. You can still do some hiking and get wet at the ´Garganta del Diablo´, but the southern side of the falls is much farther from view. With less time walking that means more time drinking caiparinias!
For lodging, Foz do Iguazu, the Brazilian side, offers bigger, more developed hotels with better price for value options than the argentine side. However, this side is also more dangerous and has more robberies and gang problems. The Argentine side is less developed but is very safe. You can walk around pretty much anywhere at any time with no problems. There are some good food options here as well, and just about every corner has ´milanesa´, an classic Argentine dish. Long story short, Brazil has nicer hotels and caiparinias, and Argentina has safe streets and milanesa.
Ciudad del Este in Paraguay is also close, about a 30 min taxi ride. Here you can do some cheap shopping with knock-off products. If you are living in Argentina or Brazil, this can be an opportunity to get electronic goods at a more reasonable price, but be careful about the quality. Sometimes it is too good to be true, and that 100$ iphone isn´t really an iphone at all.
If you go to the falls, no matter what side you choose, you will definitely never forget the immensity of the falls. They are one of the 7 natural wonders of the world for a big reason. Don´t let this amazing place not find its way on your bucket list!