“Oh girls, “South America” – what a precise location”, could be your thought. But it’s true, the Iguazú Falls are divided between Argentina and Brazil and are also close to the border of Paraguay. But that’s just a fun fact, the reason for me to go there was because the falls are one of the seven new world wonders. And hence I’m living in Buenos Aires, I had the amazing idea to go there by car. Sounds fun, even though it was exhausting because it took us 16 hours to get there. But when we arrived at the Iguazú Falls, everything was worth it.
ARRIVING IN PUERTO IGUAZÚ
At first, it sounds annoying to drive for 16 hours. But crossing Argentina – and coming from the vivid city Buenos Aires – means that you can calm down. The further North you drive, the more peaceful and quiet the country becomes. No houses, people or city noises. You can just enjoy the calmness and landscape for hours. And then you arrive in Puerto Iguazú. That is the location on the Argentine side of the falls. We stayed in a small hotel we just found on our way up, which was located only 10 minutes from the Iguazú Falls. All in all, let’s say you should plan three days in total around the waterfalls. You normally take one day to see the Brazilian side of the falls and one day to see the Argentine side. And a night to recover before driving home. Because what you see is truly amazing, so take your time.
FACTS ABOUT THE IGUAZÚ FALLS
Before you start your experience, find here some details about the Iguazú Waterfalls – if you want to smartass a bit. The whole landscape consists of 257 smaller waterfalls and it’s about 2.7 kilometers long. The water starts flowing in Brazil, but the falls itselfs are in Argentina. The total height is 60 to 82 meters. It’s accurate location is at the boarder of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state Paraná.
THE BRAZILIAN SIDE
My personal recommendation is to start on the Brazilian side, because there you get the perfect first impression and overview of the falls. It is a beautiful walk on the edge of the cliffs, looking at the impressive panorama of the falling water. There are some benches where you can sit and just enjoy the view. This will take you a day because it is a long, but beautiful walk. Due to the tropical climate there are butterflies everywhere. You can’t imagine! I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were thousands of colourful butterflies flying around and sitting down on tourists. Well, on every tourist but me. Because since I love butterflies, I really wanted to have a photo with one of them sitting on me, too. But however, my boyfriend was covered with them and I mostly had spiders and little black bugs sitting on me.
THE ARGENTINE SIDE
After you have seen the Brazilian side, it’s time to go on to the falls on the Argentine side. The next day, better wear clothes which can get wet and also, take a protection for your camera. The Argentine side is more adventurous. It’s bigger and there are many paths you can take. And the little roads which were built there are so close, that you can’t escape the water at one point. Also there are small paths which direct you through the jungle. And here again, you will see thousands of butterflies.
It’s overwhelming. You can really feel the power and strength of these massive falls which break down right next to you. Also they have build a bridge where you can stand over the waterfalls, where you can get a hypnotized feeling. Even though, there are many tourists, it is so big that you have your privacy to enjoy the nature and the view. Afterwards you will understand, like I did, why this spectacle of nature is a world wonder. In case you are to lazy to walk everything, there are little trains where you can just hop on and hop off any time you want. However, try to walk instead as much as you can because there are unforgetable paths you can explore by yourself.
It might be a bit pricey, but worth it: The Sheraton Iguazú Resort & Spa (located on the Argentine side) or the stunning Belmond Hotel Das Cataratas (located on the Brazilian side) because they are in the middle of the national parc. Due to the fact that my trip was super spontaneous I wasn’t aware of these options and stayed in a cheaper hotel, which I regret afterwards when I discovered these places. Silly me.
And always bring good walking shoes. And don’t wear your best clothes: There is an option to go with a boat into the waterfalls, which I would highly recommend. Therefore, if you want to do it, pack a backpack with dry clothes to change afterwards and for all girls: wear waterproof mascara 😉
Photo credit: Helena Schoeller