Right in the place where the borders of three countries (Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay) meet, lies a true natural gem for all those who love adventure and breathtaking scenery. Iguaçu Falls are righteously placed among the greatest and most spectacular waterfalls on the planet. They can easily compete with the famous Niagara Falls or Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe. What is absolutely amazing about Iguaçu Falls is the fact that it's less commercialized than Niagara and you are literally surrounded by the miles of rain forests in the center of the national park. There are around 275 falls and cascades within the area creating nature's unforgettable spectacle that cannot be missed while visiting Brazil or Argentina!
How to get to Iguassu Falls
It's easy from the quiet and nice Brazilian town of Foz do Iguaçu which shares the border with Paraguay. Your hotel will probably offer some tours to the Paraguayan side of the border, however if you want to experience the real Paraguay, you'll be disappointed. The town across the border is basically one big messy shopping mall with a lot of touts and stands that supposedly sell cheaper stuff than in Brazil. I found out that in many cases it's actually the opposite so be careful not to get tricked into buying something you don't need. I guess, to see the real Paraguay, you must travel much deeper into the country.
Speaking about the tours offered in hotels, you will also be offered a package to see the waterfalls. I wouldn't recommend it as it's so overpriced and it's pretty simple to reach Iguaçu Falls by public transport. It will save you a lot of money.
The 120 bus from the main terminal towards the airport departs quite frequently and in around 30 minutes (for around 1 USD!) you'll get to Iguaçu Falls.
Right at the entrance to the National Park, there is also an amazing Bird Park - with birds of many exotic species roaming freely - you can just walk and admire them as if they were in their natural environment. You can easily visit both: the Bird Park and the Iguaçu Falls in one day. I've described the Bird Park here, so have a look! Don't miss it!
The experience at Iguaçu Falls
The name Iguaçu literally means "big water" and comes from the native language of the region. You can access the waterfalls both from Brazilian and Argentinian side - I did it from Brazil. Although Brazil has only 20% of the falls, from what I've heard it offers better views than Argentina. I can't confirm that though as I haven't seen the Argentinian side. If you did - share your thoughts in the comment section below. But I can say one thing for sure - the Brazilian side is absolutely spectacular.
The fee is around 55 BRL (18 USD/15 EUR) for foreigners. Brazilians are luckier - it's cheaper for them. The opening hours are 9 am - 5 pm. It will take around 4-5 hours to visit the whole area.
At the start of the walk, you'll have to go through a wooded area - be aware of cute coatis - members of the raccoon family (also known as Brazilian aardvark) - very bold animals that were stealing food from people's bags.
Soon, you'll see the first cascades from afar and you might think: wow, it's spectacular!. Wait until you get closer! If you don't want to get completely soaked take a rain coat, although it's really pleasant to let the mist from the waterfalls cool you down.
There are also some boat tours offered at Iguaçu Falls - if you love adrenaline and adventure - try it! But leave all the things that are not waterproof behind! It's so cool to get through the wall of the waterfall and experience the power of nature so closely. The only objection I had against the boat ride was that it was way too short!
The whole experience is simply unforgettable, the cascades, the sound of tonnes of water thundering down, the multiple rainbows - all this makes the place so breathtaking.
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