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Experiencing Iguazú Falls from Brazil & Argentina—how to make the most of your time at the world's prettiest waterfalls

The collection of waterfalls known as Iguazú Falls remain one of my favourite experiences and a real highlight of my four months in South America. After spending a few days in the Pantanal of Brazil I chose to head south and spend time on both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides of the falls as both offer a totally different perspective but are equally as impressive. If you have time I’d recommend seeing them from Brazil first, it’s from here that you get an amazing overview of the falls in their entirety.

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The falls from Brazil

I spent two nights in the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu and from here it’s an easy bus or taxi ride to the national park entrance where you can pick up a ticket for the day, open everyday from 9am to 5pm. Once inside there are walkways and steps through the park, leading to different look out points, the panorama of the falls is one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever seen. When I visited there was an unusually large amount of water making up the falls, what is usually 1 million litres crashing over the edge every second, had jumped to an incredible 6 million litres a second, due to heavy rainfall in the weeks beforehand. The increased water flow made the falls even more impressive than I ever could have imagined.

Walking through the rainforest I also spotted iridescent lizards bathing in spots of sun, black butterflies with white spiral patterns and cute coatis with their long bushy tails and pointed snouts, often on the look-out for food. 

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Long snouted coatis roam the pathways

Eventually, at the furthest point on the Brazilian side, you find yourself stood right by the edge of the top of the falls, the noise alone is immense and the water spray in the air soaks you instantly. I once read something about negative ions being more abundant by waterfalls and that these ions give us calm and happy feelings, I don’t know if there’s any truth in it but I’ve never felt more euphoric than the days I spent exploring Iguazú Falls.

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A couple take a moment to appreciate the falls

As you leave, near the exit of the national park is an exhibition featuring old black and white photographs of the falls and visitors from hundreds of years ago, the ones of young boys with old fashioned butterfly nets are particularly cute. Back in Foz do Iguaçu you can take a public bus over the border into Argentina, the stopping point to visit the falls from this side is Puerto Iguazú, which is where I based myself for three nights. From Puerto Iguazú town it’s also super simple to get to the national park, take one of the many buses and simply buy a ticket at the entrance, just like in Brazil, here the park is open longer; 8am until 6pm every single day. 

On the Argentinian side you can really get up close to the falls, there’s a mini train that takes you towards the biggest section where you can walk along wooden pathways that wind right over them. Walking up to Devil’s Throat (the main and heaviest fall), I was overwhelmed by the sound of it, the thundering crash of water was almost monstrous, I even felt a little scared, but suddenly the world dropped away and I was standing right on top of it, millions of litres of water disappearing just below my feet, it was incredible.

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Getting a closer look over in Argentina

Throughout the park hundreds of delicate, bright yellow butterflies dance around amongst the water spray and there are more wooden footpaths that lead you throughout the park and rainforest. I really enjoyed some of the hidden paths, past smaller, much gentler falls with beams of sunlight breaking through the leafy canopy above. 

hundreds of waterfalls at iguacu falls argentina
A section of the falls from the Argentinian side 

Eventually if you make it to the bottom you can take a boat right up to the falls, you get to see the water crashing down from a different perspective, although at points I could barely open my eyes as our boat reached them, the spray was so powerful. Amazingly little birds duck in and out from behind the water as it falls, apparently some have nests perched on the rocks inside. I’d recommend visiting the national park on the Argentinian side a couple of times as there’s a lot to see and the atmosphere is so magical, it’s good to really take it all in slowly.

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