Iguazu Falls in Argentina borders the countries of Brazil and Paraguay. The Iguazu Falls divide the Iguazu River into two levels – the upper and the lower. The word Iguazu comes from two words meaning ‘big and water’. There are over 275 waterfalls ranging from a height of 269 feet to 197 feet, the average being 210 feet. In 2011 Iguazu Falls became one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Two thirds of the falls are located on the Argentinean side, and we recommend that you spend at least two days visiting this side.
Iguazu Falls Day 1
If you are staying in Puerto Iguazu daily buses depart for the Iguazu Falls every 15 minutes from the Puerto Iguazu Bus Station at a cost of AR$80 (current price as at May 2014). The journey takes 20 minutes. The Bus Company is Rio Uruguay and you can identify which bus by the sign at the front of the bus “Cataratas”.
Latest entrance park fees as of January 2015 AR$260 per person. If you wish to return to the Park the following day remember to get your ticket stamped before leaving on the first day and you can enter for half price.
We recommend bringing some wet weather gear, some tourists even wear swimmers, and a plastic bag for your camera and valuables. Once you have paid your entrance fee you can board the train to the main circuits.
The train takes you from the Park Entrance to the Cataratas Station where you can then proceed to the beginning of the circuits.
There are a number of trails (circuits) available:
- Garganta del Diablo Trail – 2 hours 1100m
- Lower Circuit Trail (Circuito Inferior) – 2 hours 1700m, takes you to the base of the Falls where you can board the boat to San Martin Island
- Upper Trail (Circuito Superior) – 1 hour 650m, trails and bridges that run along the top of the falls
- Green Trail – 15 minute walk 655m
- Grand Adventure – a hike along a narrow pathway then a ride on a open air truck for 5 miles
You will need to factor in times for queuing for the train, our delays were anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes and this was the week before Easter.
We headed off on the Lower Circuit Trail with the intention of enjoying the Aventura Nautica boat ride that starts in front of San Martin Island.
The exhilarating ride in a speedboat takes approximately 12 minutes, be prepared to get really wet.
You could easily spend all of day on this trail as we did. There are 8 different viewing points along the pathways which brings you closer to the falls and the surrounding jungle. This trail leads you to the river bank where you can board the boat to San Martin Island. Unfortunately, the week before the area had heavy rainfall which washed away the beach landing for San Martin Island.
Walking back up the path in our wet clothes we discovered that our Argentinan Pesos did not make it to the dry bag, they were still in Duncan’s trouser pocket. In the distance the Sheraton Hotel and the outside balcony bar is beckoning us. By the time we get there most of our clothes are dry except for the pocket containing the very wet pesos which can’t be separated at this time. The only thing we can do is have a few beers, take in the vista, and dry our pesos out on the table in the afternoon sunshine. Once dried we paid our bill and headed back to the park entrance for the bus ride back to town.
By the time we left the Sheraton we were dry, our pesos were dry and we were refreshed from the beer. As we left the Park we had our tickets stamped so that we would only have to pay 50% of the entry fee the next day. The later you leave your departure the busier the bus is, it is essential to plan your day and take into consideration public holidays. Check out our blog post on Iguazu Falls Day 2.
Costs: (as of 2013)
Local bus ticket from Puerto Iguassu to the Falls $AR80 per person return. The buses run daily from 7.10am every 20 minutes the last one leaving at 7.50pm.
The Park is open from 8am to 6pm, ticket sales are from 9am to 5pm.
Ticket costs – $AR170 for the first day, if you get your ticket validated when you leave the park you can get into the park on the day after for 50% off. Included in your entrance fee is the train to the Falls and San Martin Island if it is open (if the area experiences heavy rain the island is closed as it is difficult for the boats to land).
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