After an 18 hour bus ride with quite some comfort we arrived around 15:00 pm in Puerto Iguazu. I was able to sleep in the bus as the chairs were quite good (see pictures) and our delicious dinner including red wine was a pleasant surprise. It was good value for money as sometimes buses can be quite crappy. We also received a discount on the ticket as we paid in cash and a few days ahead. However buses are still expensive in comparison to Chile. The normal price for a ‘cama’ bus is 120 euro but we paid €100. In Chile you pay about 60 euro for the same amount of time.
When we arrived in Puerto Iguazu the first thing we noticed was the temperature. After traveling through the cold Andes we were back in the jungle with tropical temperatures, high humidity and around 30 degrees celsius. A nice thing for a change after being in a cold temperate for about 2.5 months.
After a short walk from the bus terminal we found a hostel were we would spend the night. We though that seeing the Iguazu falls would only take a few hours and so we considered this point as a quick stop towards brazil.
After finding out more about the falls we realized that just the Argentinian side of the Iguazu falls takes a full day, as this part is huge. The Brazilian side however isn’t very big and therefore easy for the next day.
In the hostel we met with an older guy who runs the hostel and asked us a question. ‘What is the name for the biggest waterfall and main attraction?’ We didn’t knew the specific name in which he replied that kids these days don’t do research anymore. In some ways he is right but in my opinion doing research isn’t always necessary. Main tourist attractions are full with information and local people that work in hostels are the best and easiest source of information.
For today we decided to walk across town and visit the viewpoint where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet, a nice walk around the river and seeing the Iguazu river meet the river from the amazons thus creating a line with 2 different colors. In the evening we received all the information about the Iguazu falls on which and how we should visit the park. For me it was a
little to much information as the guy just kept on talking haha. At least he put some effort in this so everyone could see the biggest highlights.
In the evening the hostel organized a big bbq with different kind of meat and food, Argentina style. Here I met with 2 dutch girls who were on holidays for a about month and they were almost at the end of their trip. We talked about our travels and they didn’t expected Santiago (their starting point) to be cold as they (including me) thought about tropical, rainforest images and temperatures when thinking of South America. However in Chile and Argentina it’s a different story, not to mention Bolivia and Peru with the high altitude of the Andes mountains. so they didn’t bring a lot of warm cloths.
They wanted to visit the Patagonia, just like us but decided to go north instead as they thought it would be warmer. I told them Bolivia was even colder then Patagonia, but I found it funny they didn’t expected it to be cold in South America, appearently I wasn’t the only one that had to buy some decent clothing during the trip!
The following morning we woke up early to enjoy a full day in the Argentinian side of the falls while still doing everything on a relaxed walk. The girls from the night before told me not to visit the only waterfall where it’s allowed to swim. Apparently the water was freezing and the park closed a lot of the area down. This saved us time to visit other parts of the park while not being in a rush.
With all major tourist attractions, the amount of people visiting is absolutely crazy and for some reasons people want a photo with everything that includes themselves, even a map of the park. Taking a good picture always requires a lot of waiting and patience. But hey, it’s worth it, as the views today were stunning. You can get an impression of the amount of tourists below.
The entrance ticket for the park is 260 pesos (€26) which makes it quite expensive, no student discount or anything. I found that Argentina is quite expensive with buses and park entry fees, the glacier park was also about (€30) euro which is quite a lot for my low-budget traveling. #endofmyrant
The park itself has 2 big trails that allows people to walk through jungle and besides the river to see the falls in the distance, and later up close. One trail gives views from above while the other from below creates a cool and wet experiences. There is also an option to get up close with a boat. This boat ride is about 10 min and also costs €26 so we decided not to book this option. Although it can be good fun, getting soaking wet and all.
We saved the best for last, the devils breath, were a U shaped waterfall pours down tons of water. A crazy and mesmerizing view! When we arrived the sun was in our backs so it was good for taking pictures as we were up-close to all the action.
In the evening we crossed our last border in South America, Brazil. This time to watch the Brazilian side of the falls and later to take a bus towards São Paulo the next day.
The perspective of Brazilian side on the falls is more panoramic. This is because the trail is on a higher point so you can see over the falls. The main highlight is also further away but gives a nice overview perspective. Both sides are a must see as they definitely enhanced my experience of these amazing waterfalls. However the side on Brazil doesn’t take to much time as it’s just one small trail making a visit for about 2 or 3 hours more then enough, at least for me.
There is also an option to take a helicopter flight over the Iguaçu falls in Brazil, in-case you want an aerial view. We didn’t even think about booking it, instead we decided to visit a bird park which was suggested by our old guy in the hostel in Argentina. He explained that we would be in a big cage with birds flying free, however it turned out to be a normal bird park with different cages. It was cool but nothing to special, specially when we already saw a lot of birds before in Mexico or in the wild in South America.
In all the Iguazu falls experience was absolutely stunning, no where in the world did I see so many falls together in place, pouring down so much water at once. The main attraction, the devils breath was jaw dropping awesome!