Iguazu Falls is an essential stop on everyone’s South America trip. Having been there multiple times myself I can attest that it can’t be left off your itinerary. A unique and breath-taking natural wonder, the falls straddle two countries, Argentina and Brazil, and offers guests a myriad of sights and adventures to experience.
The name Iguazu comes from the indigenous local language, meaning “big water.” Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who eventually fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.
Two airports service Iguazu Falls, Cataratas Airport on the Argentinian side and Foz do Iguacu Airport on the Brazilian side. Due to logistics, generally it is more advantageous to fly into Cataratas Airport and the airport is serviced by multiple direct flights from Buenos Aires daily. With most South America cruises beginning or ending in Buenos Aires, a stop in Iguazu is a great pre or post-cruise option.
On arrival at Cataratas Airport you will be met by a local guide and transported to the Argentinian/Brazil border which is a 1-hour drive. Once border formalities have been completed it is a short 20-minute drive to the Iguazu National Park.
Travel for Australians to Argentina and Brazil is now easier than ever. Both countries have a visa on arrival program for Australian passport holders meaning no need to lodge any pesky paperwork prior to travelling.
The majority of our Iguazu Falls packages include accommodation at Belmond Das Cataratas which is unmatched in and around Iguazu Falls and is an ideal base for a 4-day/3-night package.
Belmond Das Cataratas
For anyone wanting to make their Iguazu Falls trip more special, a stay at Belmond Das Cataratas is a must! Located within the national park on the Brazilian side, this Belmond property is the only accommodation inside the park itself. Guests of the hotel are the only people with access to the falls before the park opens of a morning and access once it closes of an afternoon.
With the hotel being located directly across from the falls, being able to see a sunrise or sunset over the falls with a handful of other people is a once in a lifetime experience.
Apart from its ideal location, the property itself has a wonderful 1950s charm and the hotel’s hacienda-style exterior is matched by its warm, inviting interior design.
The property has a large garden area, tennis court, gym, pool, bar and multiple restaurants onsite. One of my favourite experiences at the hotel is sitting on the front patio sipping a cool drink on a tropical afternoon with a view of the falls in front of you.
The main drawcard to the area is of course Iguazu Falls. All of our stopover packages include a day tour to both the Argentinian and Brazilian side of the falls with a guide.
Both offer different viewing experiences. On the Argentinian side you are able to get up close and personal with the falls to feel the power and sound of them whereas on the Brazil side you have more panoramic views of the falls which is a photographer's dream!
As well as visiting the falls on foot, there are a number of other ways to view them which gives guests a great overall perspective. Some additional tours whilst at Iguazu Falls that guests can do include:
Jungle Tour & Boat Ride
A boat ride is a great way to see the falls from below but be prepared to get wet! The tour begins with a 30-minute trip through the jungle in an overland vehicle. A guide will point out some interesting sights and facts along the way.
On arrival at the drop off point, there is a 10-minute walk down to the dock to board the boat. Once onboard, you will be taken downriver to a number of falls. To see and hear the water roaring down into the river is something. The drivers also delight in taking the boat underneath some of the falls hence why rain jackets are a must.
A helicopter tour is an exhilarating way to see the falls from above. The helipad is located right outside the entrance to the National Park. The helicopter tour itself is 15 minutes and loops around the falls where you can see the sheer force of nature as water mist rises above the falls.
Parque Das Aves (Iguazu Bird Park)
Also located just outside the entrance to the National Park, the park is a conservation centre for birds of the Atlantic Forest and the second most visited attraction in Foz do Iguacu. Visitors can have close contact with the birds as they walk through the park. You might even have a Tucan come sit next to you! The park is home to 120 species of birds.
Iguazu Falls is a gem of the continent and I can not recommend it more highly for your South America trip.
Some Highlighted Itineraries