Along with Bariloche and Mendoza, I would say Iguazú Falls is among the top three must-see places in Argentina. The spectacular views of the falls provide an unforgettable experience. There isn’t that much to see outside of the Iguazú National Park, so this trip can be easily be done (and is well worth it) in a couple days.
Overview: Iguazú National Park is located in the province of Misiones, along the border with Brazil and is approximately 20 km. from the town of Puerto Iguazú. The park is home to 275 falls, along 2.7 km. of the Iguazú River. La Garganta del Diablo (The Devil’s Throat) is the most impressive of the falls and is 82 meters high, 150 meters wide and 700 meters long.
When to Go: The spring (September, October, November) and fall (March, April, May) months are the ideal times to go. During the summer months (December, January and February) you can expect very hot temperatures and unbearable humidity. During the winter (June, July and August), Iguazú experiences its dry season and the falls may be low on water or not have any water flowing at all.
How to Get There: Long-distance bus rides from Buenos Aires to Iguazú last between 18 and 22 hours so you might want to bite the bullet and go by plane. Lan and Aerolineas Argentinas are the two main carriers for flights from Buenos Aires to Iguazú. A flight will cost you about double what a bus ticket would cost.
Recommended Trip Duration: As I mentioned before, you really only need a couple days in Iguazú. You should reserve one entire day to explore the National Park and you can spend the other day or half-day on an excursion to a near by site, such as the Jesuit ruins of San Ignacio (more info later in the post). You don’t really want to be stuck wandering around the town of Puerto Iguazú (been there, done that) as it really offers nothing more than hostels, hotels and a few restaurants.
What to See and Do
The Devil’s Throat
This two hour route will lead you to the biggest cascade of the falls. The route passes by several islands and leads you through the lush surrounding vegetation before culminating in the impressive horseshoe fall known as the Devil’s Throat. Be sure to look out for the “vencejo” birds that are indigenous to the Iguazú and swoop in and out of the vapor created by the falls.
Macuco Trail Walk
This three hour trek through the jungle will get you up close and personal with the varied plant and animal life Iguazú has to offer. It’s best to go in the morning since the park closes around 6 or 7 pm. You’ll get the chance to see parrots, monkeys, reptiles and so much more. Just remember to respect nature and the animals!!
For just around $45 pesos get the unique experience of not only looking at the falls, but going right through them!! You will most certainly get soaked so make sure that you wear comfortable clothes that can dry quickly; the boat will provide you will small plastic bags to protect your valuables. Don’t miss the once and a lifetime opportunity to go under one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world!
Jesuit Ruins of San Ignacio
A UNESCO World Heritage site as of 1984, these ruins are the remains of a Jesuit mission to the area in 1696. Located about three hours away from Iguazú, this site is the best preserved of all of the Jesuit missions to the area. The Jesuits came to evangelicalize the local guarani people, but they also protected them from European traders, and so you will be able to see a glimpse into guarani life.
The famous Wanda Mines are about 40 km away from Iguazú. Here these active mines are open for viewing and you can see quartz crystal, amethyst, topaz, and other varieties of precious stones. Sign up for a tour and get a chance to go inside the caves! Many tour options will combine the Wanda Mines and San Ignacio ruins into one trip!