The Best Way to Visit Iguazu Falls: Argentina or Brazil?

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Iguazu Falls are one of South America’s most breathtaking natural sights, a waterfall the likes of which can be seen nowhere else in the world. But which side is better? Iguazu Falls Argentina or Iguazu Falls Brazil?

This is a waterfall that will quite simply blow you away through its sheer power, size, scale, and location and it’s a waterfall that’s so big that it forms the natural border between Brazil and Argentina.

It’s a place that has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Deciding where to visit the falls can influence your trip immensely, and whether you travel here from Brazil or Argentina, you’ll have a different experience and you’ll see different sections of the waterfall.

Both sides have positives and negatives to consider, and to help you to plan your trip, here’s our guide to visiting this massive natural wonder from Brazil and from Argentina.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Brazil (Travel Guide)

Iguazu Falls: Argentina or Brazil?

First Off – Where are the Iguazu Falls?

Iguazu Falls map

Iguazu Falls are found on the Iguazu River, a huge waterway that flows from Brazil and forms the border with Argentina.

They are one of the world’s largest waterfall systems, so large that they form a natural division in the river, comprising the upper and lower parts.

On one side, Iguazu Falls is found in the Brazilian state of Parana, while to the south, the falls stretch into the Argentinian state of Misiones.

Both sides of the border are well set up to cater to tourism, and there are different ways to visit from either Brazil or Argentina.

Both countries have established national parks to protect the region, and both countries are included on the area’s UNESCO world heritage listing.

How Many Days Do You Need For Iguazu Falls?

The view from Iguazu Falls on the Argentina side
Iguazu Falls from the Argentina side.

Iguazu Falls is one of natural wonders that just grabs from no matter what side you are viewing it from and when planning your trip on the Brazil or Argentina side you want to make sure you plan in enough time for you to truly feel its natural power.

How many days you need to see Iguazu Falls truly depends on what you would like to do in the UNESCO world heritage area and National Parks.

Personally, we feel you should have at least a full day for each side. One day each.

This is if your traveling independently. However, most multi-day tours offered in Brazil only do a half-day on the Brazil side and a full day on the Argentina side.

This was a good amount of time if you are looking to just hit the highlights.

Insider Tip: Give yourself at least 2 days to visit Iguazu Falls.

Do I Need a Tour to Visit Iguazu Falls?

David Stock Jr of the Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog looking down Iguazu Falls from the Brazil side.
Up-close to Iguazu Falls on the Brazil side.

You do not need a tour to visit the falls however we feel it is best to go on a tour or hire a local tour guide. This will allow you to get the most out of our experience since they know the ins and outs of the Park.

There were spots within the park on each side that we would have not found if we did not have a local guide with us. We also learned way more about the park than if we had just read signs.

He gave us a look past the falls into its history and wildlife that I can tell you first hand we would not have had if we visited Iguazu Falls independently.

Visiting Iguazu Falls in Argentina

David Stock Jr of the Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog looking down Iguazu Falls from the Brazil side.
Iguazu Falls from Brazil side

Many travelers will choose the Argentinian side, for the simple reason that approximately 80 percent of the roughly 300 individual waterfalls and sections are found on this side of the border.

If you are looking to see as much of Iguazu Falls as possible, then it makes sense to travel to Argentina.

The main base for accessing the falls is Puerto Iguazu, where you can find a domestic airport connecting the city to Buenos Aires.

You can also take long-distance buses from the capital, but you can expect the journey to take at least 18 hours.

From Puerto Iguazu, you can take regular shuttle buses to the falls themselves, but one of the best ways to get around is to use the charming, but touristy, Jungle Train.

This unique, yet slightly theatrical train takes you from the entrance to the park to the major viewing points along the river.

Search for Flights: Priceline and Skyscanner offer great deals to Brazil.

Things to Do in Iguazu National Park on the Argentina Side

Iguazu Falls with boats
The view of Iguazu Falls from the Argentina Side.

The Argentine side is protected as the Iguazu National Park, which is a huge region that comprises not just the waterfall, but huge swathes of pristine forest too.

Aside from the waterfalls, there are also plenty of opportunities to hike through the jungle and to explore the diverse ecosystem found here.

Top Things Things to Do on the Argentina Side

  • Hiking Trails
  • Train Ride
  • Boat Trip Into The Falls *** MUST DO ***
  • Wildlife Viewing

Our Top Recommended Tours:

Seeing the Devils Throat

David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog on a speedboat in the iconic part of Iguazu Falls " Devil's Throat"
The speed boat trip was hands down the best thing we did at Iguazu Falls.

The most iconic part of Iguazu Falls is the Devil’s Throat, which is located predominantly on the Argentine side, although the border actually cuts through it.

This huge gorge forms the pinnacle of the waterfall, as the canyon stretches for 80 meters across and gallon after gallon of water continually pours over the precipice.

At Devils Throat, from the Argentinian side, you can get right under the waterfall, be prepared to get soaked. While regular speed boats take brave tourists out into the spraying surf and as close to the tumbling water as is safe.

In short, if you enjoy getting a good soaking, the Argentinian side of the falls is a perfect choice.

Our Top Recommended Tours:

Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Argentina (Travel Guide)

Visiting Iguazu Falls in Brazil

Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers Adventure Travel Blog at Iguazu Falls on the Brazil side.
Amazing views on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil is protected under Iguazu National Park, but compared to the Argentinian side, it’s a much smaller preserve.

With only 20 percent of the total waterfall found at the fall on the Brazil side, there is much less to see and do on this side.

The main tourist hub for Iguazu Falls, Brazil is found at the city of Foz do Iguaçu, which is a sprawling location, with many more hotels and restaurants than the Argentinian hub of Puerto Iguazu.

To reach Foz do Iguaçu, you can catch a bus here from almost any major city in Brazil, as it’s an important tourist center.

Be warned though, that the city is a long way from most other destinations, with journey times to Rio de Janeiro being at least 24 hours for instance.

You may prefer to fly into the domestic airport, which has regular flights from across Brazil.

Things to Do in Iguazu Falls National Park on the Brazil Side

Monkey found while hiking around Iguazu Falls
The wildlife is amazing around Iguazu Falls

Foz do Iguaçu is close to the Brazilian viewing point out over Iguazu Falls and it’s easy to arrive in the city and explore the waterfall from this side within even a few hours.

The viewing platform in Brazil is located at the lower end of the waterfall system and despite only being home to 20 percent of the total area of the falls, you can, in fact, see right along the river to Devil’s Throat from here.

The view from the Brazil side is much more encompassing than the Argentinian side, offering more of a panoramic which many travelers, particularly photographers, may prefer.

Being further away, you will also avoid the spray, so if you are looking to keep dry, then this is the viewing point for you.

Aside from the waterfall, the Brazilian side offers a few other attractions too, including the wonderful Parque das Aves, a protected area that is a haven for many rare and exotic bird species.

There are several walking trails through the fantastic bird sanctuary and it makes a great addition to a trip to Iguazu Falls, Brazil.

Top Things to Do on the Brazil Side

  • Hiking Trails
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Heli Flight *** MUST DO ***
  • Sky Diving

Our Top Recommended Tours:

Iguazu Falls: Brazil versus Argentina

Lina and David Stock Jr Americas Adventure Couple at Iguazu Falls on the Argentina side with GAdventures
The main lookout platfrom on the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls.

Whether you choose to visit the Brazilian or Argentinian side of the falls, you’ll easily be blown away by the beauty on both sides of the border.

If you have the time and the money, then it’s quite simple to cross between both countries, and you could spend a few days in Argentina before heading to Brazil or vice versa depending on your travel itinerary.

If you need to choose between the two, however, then there are several factors to consider.

If you are already in Brazil or Argentina, it will be simpler and more cost-effective to fly in (or potentially bus in) domestically from whichever of the two countries you happen to already be in.

If this isn’t necessarily an issue but you are short on time, then the quickest and simplest way to see the falls is from Brazil, where you have a larger range of accommodation and can explore the viewing point in just a few hours.

You can easily enjoy a whistle-stop tour of Iguazu Falls Brazil before moving on to your next destination.

If you have more time to spend in the area, then basing yourself at Puerto Iguazu on the Argentinian side will provide you with much more to do.

If you love hiking, then there are a multitude of trails to tackle through the large national park, in addition to viewing the waterfall itself.

Accommodation choices can be more limited in Puerto Iguazu however, but travelers tend to report the city is much more charming to spend time in than the large city of Foz do Iguaçu.

Particularly if you are looking to bunker down for at least a few nights, to then use the city as a base for exploring the wider sights and activities, on either side of the border.

Best Time to Visit – Either Side

Viewing platfrom on the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls
The main lookout platfrom on the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls.

Being such a popular tourist destination, both Brazil and Argentina are always going to be busy year-round.

However, national holidays and school vacation periods will always prove to be even busier than usual and are best avoided if possible.

The region experiences a generally tropical climate, meaning it’s always warm and definitely humid throughout the year.

The year is also roughly divided into wet and dry seasons and to see the river at its fullest and the waterfalls at their most powerful, you will want to consider coinciding your visit with the wet season.

The most rain falls between December and March, but temperatures and humidity can be stifling. While the falls are at their most powerful, the rain can also cause trouble for visitors, so be prepared to get wet.

June to August is when the temperatures are cooler, and there is very little rain. The water levels in the dry season are much lower, but the falls are still incredibly impressive.

Whatever time of year you choose to travel to the falls, getting out early in the morning will ensure that you can always beat the worst of the crowds on either side of the border.

Insider Tip: It is best to visit Iguazu Falls early in the morning or in the late afternoon.

Accommodation Near Iguazu Falls

The viewing platforms on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls
The walking platfroms on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls.

If you’re looking for the ultimate experience we suggest staying right next to the falls. Nothing beats falling asleep to the roaring of the falls in this natural habitat when all the day trips leave.

This is one huge advantage of staying at one of the many hotels located within or next to Iguazu Falls.

You get to experience the falls at all times before people get there and after everyone leaves. Nothing truly beets that, below we will list out the best accommodation options for staying next to the falls.

Belmond Hotel das Cataratas – This is hands down the best hotel if you are looking to stay right next to Iguazu Falls. Its located right in the park on the Brazil side. This 5-star property is modern and charming and is great base for anyone who wants to experience the park more then what you can while on a day trip.

Gran Melia Iguazu – This is another great lodge located within the Parque Nacional Park located on the Argentina side. This 5-star property offers some amazing features being located right next to Iguazu Falls. Staying here allows visitors to get the most of the outdoors with outside dining options, outdoor terraces and even an outdoor bar where you can sip on sundowners while the sun sets over the falls.

La Aldea de la Selva Lodge – If you are looking for more of an eco-friendly stay while exploring the falls we suggest staying at this lodge. This art deco lodge is located just a short walk from the Argentina side. This eco- friendly lodge offers a great outdoor pool, outdoor terraces and provides a nice place to relax within nature.

Not finding what you are looking for? We suggest checking out our custom hotel aggregator, which offers great deals on hotels in the Iguazu Falls area.

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The Best Way to Visit Iguazu Falls: Argentina or Brazil Pinterest Pin by America's Adventure Couple Lina and David Stock Jr of Divergent Travelers


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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.

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