This morning was filled with a crazy few hours of travel to make it to one of the coolest sights that I have ever seen, Iguazu Falls! I had a 4:30am flight out of Paraguay that was as painful as it sounds into Buenos Aires EZE Airport, where I then took the transfer bus to Buenos Aires AEP Airport. The transfer bus is much cheaper and easier than a taxi or Uber would have been. It took about an hour to get from one airport to the other, and I then flew to Puerto Iguazú (IGR) airport in Argentina. Iguazu Falls is situated on the Argentina/Brazil border, and as a result, there are cities and airports on both sides. I then took a taxi across the border to Brazil.
I took an official taxi from the airport, and my driver was really helpful without speaking a ton of English. She knew exactly how the border crossing worked, and it was really easy! First, she showed her taxi license and I showed my passport when we were leaving Argentina. Then, when going into Brazil, we stopped, walked into immigration where there was no line, and had them stamp my passport. The drive was probably forty-five minutes total to my hotel, Hostel Paudimar Campestre, near the falls on the Brazilian side.
There is definitely a difference depending on which side of the falls you decide to visit. Argentina supposedly has more falls while Brazil has better access to the main waterfall, Devil’s Throat. I chose Brazil because it is a lot to see in a more condensed area, and I had a short time frame to visit. I arrived at my hotel on the outskirts of Foz do Iguaçu that was only about five minutes from the entrance of the falls. After checking in I quickly made my way over to the falls by taxi because it was already 3pm. There is a reliable bus system to take advantage of, but with little time to use I had to take a taxi.
I bought my ticket online ahead of time so I walked right to the line for the bus into the park. You ride a double-decker bus from the entrance down to where the falls are, and there are a few other stops as well. If you wanted to, for example, you could ride a boat near the base of the falls. The bus took about ten minutes, and from the moment you are let off you can see the falls. And then you keep seeing them for as long as the eye can see. Just a heads up, there are going to be TONS of pictures throughout the rest of this post, because words alone really cannot do Iguazu Falls justice.
From the first time I saw them I was just awestruck, and it only gets so much better throughout the walk. You are dropped near the end of the falls on the Brazil side, and the walk takes you up towards Devil’s Throat. All along the walk, for over twenty to thirty minutes, you just see a giant, stunning waterfalls. Most of the walk you are looking out at them from the walking trail, but towards the end, once you reach Devil’s Throat, is where it gets really exciting.
There is a walkway that goes right up into the falls. You are not right under it (because that would probably kill you) but you get really close! Close enough that I was completely soaked after maybe five minutes. Thank goodness I remembered to bring my rain jacket! I spent about twenty minutes out on the platform, and I think it was the coolest part of my trip so far, right up there with Machu Picchu. It is unlike anything I have ever and will ever see again, and was so cool to be so close to. It’s hard to imagine how amazing it is to have major waterfalls surrounding you for as far as the eye can see, but let me tell you it surpasses whatever you can imagine!
After walking out on the platform, taking a million pictures/videos, and facetiming with my family, I then took the elevator up to a viewing platform out over the falls. This was really cool because you could get a lot closer to the main waterfall and see just how much water was pouring over it, and you could also see the winding river above where all of the water was coming from. If you looked in the opposite direction you could see the waterfalls as far as the eye can see that you had just walked past on the walking trail.
After taking a few last pictures I walked up to the bus stop and gift shop. During your time at the falls, likely near the beginning or end of your walk, you will likely walk past a coati. They are a cute animal that looks kind of like a mix between a raccoon and a lemur, maybe? Anyways, they are very cute but will scratch so definitely don’t try and touch them! This area is up at the top by the river, but what I found cool was if you looked really hard across the river, you could see tourists visiting the falls on the Argentina side! I walked around this area for a bit, bought a few souvenirs, and then boarded the bus back to the main entrance.
I was able to spend a full three hours at the falls, which felt like enough time to fully see the Brazilian side, so I was very glad that I chose it over Argentina. However, I would love to come back to Iguazu from the Argentina side in the future! After an absolutely exhausting day, I headed back to my hotel and ordered a pizza there, before going to sleep very quickly. I’m excited for tomorrow, though, as I’m headed to Rio to see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue before I fly back to the US!
31 countries down, 165 to go.
Read about my second day in Brazil here.