The largest waterfall system in the world, the Iguazu Falls is one of the most iconic and stunning natural landmarks in Latin America. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the famous set of 275 cascades lies on the border of Argentina and Brazil and is a bucket list item for travelers planning a custom trip to either country.
But which country offers a better view of Iguazu Falls, Argentina or Brazil? Taller than Canada’s Niagara Falls and wider than Africa’s Victoria Falls, the waterfalls of Iguazu will leave a lasting impression on nature-loving travelers from whichever side of the border it is viewed.
That said, our Kuoda travel designers can personalize a South American journey based on which country— Argentina or Brazil— you prefer to experience Iguazu. Here are a few details to jumpstart your Iguazu Falls trip planning adventure:
Where are Iguazu Falls
Located on the frontier of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay the Iguazu Falls are fed by the Iguazu River. (Unfortunately, the impressive falls cannot be seen from Paraguay, therefore travelers must choose between Brazil and Argentina in order to see Iguazu.)
Despite the fact that the namesake river primarily flows through Brazil, most of the 2700-meter (1.67 miles) long network of falls is located on the Argentine side. Due to the rocky drops, the river is naturally divided into the Upper and Lower Iguazu.
Because the cascades belong to two countries, Iguazu Falls can be visited from the Iguazu National Park in Argentina as well as the Iguaçu National Park in Brazil. Each country offers a different experience and views but visitors will be impressed by the natural spectacle that is Iguazu Falls.
Did you know that nearly 80% of Iguazu Falls is located in Argentina? For that simple reason, most travelers planning to visit Iguazu opt to view the site from Argentina as there are simply more cascades to see.
Argentina also provides a prime aerial view of the falls as well as boardwalks that will make you feel as if you are walking on the rushing pools of Iguazu. The latter makes Iguazu Falls pedestrian-friendly, an important point for travelers with physical disabilities as well as those on a South America family vacation.
Inside the Iguazu National Park, travelers can board the Argentine train system. The 25-minute ride is powered by natural gas and drops visitors off at the head of the upper and lower circuit trails. There is also a direct stop at the famed Garganta del Diablo or Devil’s Throat.
– Unique views
As terrifying as its name may be, the 269-foot (82-meter) tall Devil’s Throat is a magnificent waterfall that is often the highlight of visiting Iguazu Falls from the Argentine side.
Consisting of 14 waterfalls, Devil’s Throat is the largest water curtain in the Iguazu network. In fact, the horseshoe-shaped Devil’s Throat drops some 2,000 cubic meters of water per second! The almighty rush of water results in a permanent mist at the base of the waterfall, so viewers are bound to get soaked.
On a customized tour, Kuoda recommends that you save the Devil’s Throat spectacle for last as it is an absolute stunner. Be sure to ask your private tour guide about the local indigenous legend that inspired the name Devil’s Throat.
What unique experiences does the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls offer?
Strap on a waterproof jacket and get even closer to the falls upon a speedboat ride! After cruising beneath the falls and across the rapids, travelers will enjoy a safari tour to spot wildlife in the rainforest. The surrounding national park is a haven for exotic plants, birds and butterflies.
Unique to the falls in Argentina, visitors can practice ‘wet’ rappelling down a section of Iguazu or opt for a thrilling zipline through the jungle.
– How to get to the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls
The gateway to Iguazu Falls from Argentina is Puerto Iguazu, a city located in the province of Misiones. The city is just 20km (12.5 miles) from the UNESCO site.
From Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, travelers on a luxury South America journey can comfortably reach the remote Iguazu Falls by a 90-minute flight into Puerto Iguazu.
From the Brazilian state of Paranå, travelers can enter the Iguaçu National Park to visit Iguazu Falls. Unlike the numerous paths found on the Argentine side, the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls has just one trail. The trail, which can be accessed via a short bus ride, ends in Devil’s Throat.
This Iguazu walking path can take 2-3 hours to complete, including stops to take photos. Upon said trail, visitors to Iguazu Falls will realize that what the Brazilian side lacks in size it more than makes up for with its outstanding views of the cascades.
It may take just half a day to tour Iguazu Falls in Brazil, but it presents some of Kuoda’s favorite photo ops of the iconic waterfall system.
– Unique views
From the single path on the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls, visitors will enjoy a more complete and panoramic view of the natural beauty. Looking at the falls in the direction of Argentina, it is incredibly evident just how massive the Iguazu Falls are.
There are also more observational decks on the Brazilian side of Iguazu, including one with a 350-degree lookout. And it would be difficult for any traveler to not feel like a kid again while taking the glass lift from the upper observation deck located at the bottom of Salto Floriano up to the boardwalk.
On a customized journey to Iguazu Falls with Kuoda, we can organize your itinerary so that you are on the Brazilian side at sunset for a breathtaking and broad view of the cascades.
Get a bird’s-eye view of Iguazu Falls in a helicopter ride from the Brazilian side. The views are one-of-a-kind as your soar above the crashing water. The Iguazu helicopter tour lasts just 15 minutes but will leave you awe-struck.
As a responsible luxury travel operator, it is Kuoda’s role to point out to ethical travelers that the helicopter ride above Iguazu Falls is not an eco-friendly activity. In fact, it is for this reason that helicopter rides are not offered on the Argentine side.
Because the wide views of Iguazu Falls are incredibly accessible as-is from the Brazil side, Kuoda would recommend that travelers instead opt for a visit to the bird park, Parques das Aves. The sub-tropical park acts as a shelter for over 150 species of birds.
– How to get to the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls
From the massive seaside city and international hub, Rio de Janeiro, travelers can fly into Foz de Iguacu. Flight time takes two hours and the airport is just a 5-minute drive to the falls. Keep in mind that the Argentine side is just a 35-minute drive from Foz de Iguacu should you be interested in visiting both sides.
Experience both with Kuoda
If time permits, travelers will never forget taking in views of Iguazu Falls from both Argentina and Brazil. Get the best of Iguazu by visiting its two sides: from Argentina, you will be able to get up close to the active falls, while Brazil will offer you impeccable panoramic views.
Keep in mind that entry requirements differ in each South American country, but your Kuoda travel designer can keep you informed and handle the logistics so that you can simply enjoy the journey.