The flights, accommodation and activities mentioned in this Iguazu Falls post were NOT sponsored.
Visiting the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls is one of those experiences that are guaranteed to give you a ‘WOW’ moment. I don’t mean its the “WOW’ moment when you finally see something in real life that you’ve seen a million times on Instagram (the Taj Mahal springs to mind), I mean its the kind of WOW you feel when you’re blown away by the sheer mightiness of nature. In today’s world where we are seeing the world’s landscapes through our social media and laptop screens, its hard to be blown away by things anymore. But Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side does all that AND MORE.
Watch my video about visiting Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side:
While many bloggers (including me) are going to tell you that you should definitely see both sides of the falls for different experiences and varied views, the truth is that if you’re really pressed for time, the Argentinian side is the side you don’t want to miss.
In this post I will outline how to visit Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side, where to stay and how to get there.
How to get to Puerto Iguazu: Polar & I hired a taxi in Foz de Iguacu (the Brazillian side) of the falls. We first exited Brazil by getting out of the taxi to get our Brazillian exit stamp. A smooth 5 minutes later, we sat in the taxi as our driver handed over our passports for a stamp into Argentina. We arrived at our hotel 10 minutes later. Now I know how E.U. Citizens must feel when they travel around Europe.
Where to stay: Polar & I stayed at the Panoramic Grand Hotel which is one of the older hotels in the area. It had a beautiful view from its pool of the Iguazu River and you could see Paraguay on one side and Brazil on the other while sitting in a pool in Argentina. It was also set away from the main strip yet was close enough to walk into town for meals and shopping.
How to get around Puerto Iguazu: Taxis are plentiful and we organised them through our hotel. We were really bummed that at the time of our holiday, Uber was illegal in Argentina. From the town to the falls is around 20-30 minutes depending on traffic and where you stay.
What to bring: The contents of my waterproof backpack included a poncho to cover my clothes, sunscreen, water, snacks and my GoPro. You will get wet unless you don’t go near the waterfall (which isn’t going to be fun for you) so plan ahead for this. Polar wore waterproof clothes from Columbia and I wore my poncho over a cheap thin dress that dried quickly.
Visiting the falls
How long do I need: For the Argentinian side of the falls, you need AT LEAST 6 hours to walk all the trails and see all the falls. It’s a long day of walking outside and you need to give yourself all the time you possible can. If you plan to do the boat ride into the falls, add in an extra 2 hours. So you could happily go at 8am and leave at 4pm.
If you can spare it, break the long day up into two days. Stamp your entry ticket and keep it handy so that you get 50% off the next day’s entry fee. I didn’t do this but if I had the time, I would have.
Buying your tickets: The only way to buy your tickets on the Argentinian side is to do so in person. The good news is that if you get there before 8am (which is when the falls opens) the ticket sellers are ready to sell you tickets. You can pay in cash (Argentinian pesos only) or with Visa/ MasterCard if you don’t have the local currency on hand.
At the time of our visit we paid 800 pesos each. Your ticket price may depend on your nationality and I advise checking the official website to get the most up to date prices.
Exploring the falls:
There are 3 main trails on the Argentinian National Park with some smaller hiking trails. You entry ticket includes access to all with the exception of the private boat ride which takes you into the falls.
At the time of our visit, the park was not operating the boats to and from San Martin Island which is supposed to be included in your ticket price as well.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, despite what other bloggers may tell you, there is no right or wrong way to visit Iguazu Falls. You can only do what seems logical to you on the day.
1. We started by taking the 1st train to Garganta De Diablo at 08:30am. This was because we figured that it was the ‘throat’ of the falls, it would get very busy, very quickly. The train deposits you about 800m away from the falls and you walk towards them. You will get wet if you visit Garganta De Diablo so come prepared if that’s your first stop. The platform isn’t very big there and it does get packed so if you can go there first, do it.
2. We boarded the train and made our way to Cataratas Station. We started the lower circuit trail which took about 1.5 hours including many photo stops at the different waterfall viewing points. You can choose not to get wet on this trail if you don’t want to.
3. We made our way back to Cataratas Station and walked to the Nautical Activities meeting point. We snagged the last 2 seats on a boat safari ride INTO the falls. The company offering this is called Iguazu Jungle. You can see the amazing footage in our video! This took about 2 hours from start to finish and is not suitable for people who can’t climb up steep steps. If you want to do this (and I couldn’t recommend it enough for thrill seekers and excitement junkies) book your tickets in advance either through a tour operator or their website. The seats get filled up quickly as its a very popular activity and Argentinians who pay a very small entry fee into the park, like to splurge on this activity. It cost us around 2000 pesos.
4. By this time we were EXHAUSTED and walked 1.5km back to the entrance of the park where we met our taxi driver and headed back to the hotel by 3:00pm.
If you don’t want to do the boat ride, you can use the same amount of time to see the upper circuit of the falls. If you’re a serious hiker and want to see some wildlife then you may want to consider one of the minor hiking trails.
As I have said in my last blog post, if you can see both sides of the falls- DO IT. Crossing the border to Brazil is simple and doesn’t take long. However, if you plan to see both sides, do the Brazilian side first… Argentina has 95% of the falls so you may find it disappointing if you visit the Brazilian side after Argentina. You could also couple your visit with a day trip to Paraguay. Visiting Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina will require a MINIMUM of 3 days in the area no matter which country you choose to stay in.
The spray of the cold water as it touches your skin while you stand inside gallons of cascading water bellowing down around you is a once in a lifetime experience that can only be replicated at very few places in the world. There’s waterfalls for pretty photos and enjoyable swimming and then there’s Iguazu which is a sensory fest for the whole body. If you ever find yourself in Argentina, don’t miss this opportunity to see one of the world’s natural wonders!
WHERE DO I FLY INTO TO IGUAZU FALLS?
You can fly into Foz do Iguaçu Airport (IGU) on the Brazilian side or Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR) on the Argentinian side. Its extremely easy to cross the land border between the two (provided you don’t need or already have a visa for either country.
HOW LONG SHOULD I GO FOR?
A minimum of 1-2 nights would be ideal. You only really need one day to visit this park.
SHOULD I PURCHASE A SIM CARD?
Wifi in Argentina was pretty decent and I didn’t find that I needed a SIM card.
DID YOU APPLY FOR A VISA?
No. Argentina is visa-free for South African passport holders. You can stay in Argentina for 90 days.
SHOULD I CARRY US DOLLARS?
No. You can exchange most currencies in Puerto Iguazu and the only accepted currency is the Argentinian Peso but some places may accept Brazilian Reais.
Have you been to Iguazu Falls? Or is it on your list of destinations? Let me know in the comments below!