One of the seven natural wonders of the world
By Corinne Marian / Photos by Ministry of Tourism
No matter how many photos or videos you’ve seen, Iguassu Falls always lives up to the hype. It is, after all, one of the New Natural Wonders of the World and breathtaking. There are anywhere between 150 and 300 waterfalls there, depending on the season. As you get to the lookout over the stunning 80 meters Devil’s Throat Falls for the first time, you will just stand there, stunned with complete sensory overload.
Brazil: Panoramic views
Although the majority of the waterfalls are located on the Argentinian side, it is often said that the Brazilian side offers better panoramic views. This side also offers a pathway studded with viewpoints and a glass lift that goes up to wooden decking that runs along the edges of the falls.
To visit the Falls on the Brazilian side, you will need to enter the Park National of Iguassu. I suggest you get there early, the Park opens at 9am and the entry costs BRL 64.00 (about CAD $20.00). The points of interest inside the park are connected by free shuttle services. You can hop on/hop off at any time and at any stop for free.
There are 5 stops: The Park Administration; Hiking trail (6 miles long); Macuco Safari (speed boat ride); Waterfall trail and a restaurant – where you can eat a lunch buffet for BRL $59.00 or CAD $19.00 approximately.
The Devil’s Throat is the heart of the falls. About half of the Parana River flows down the sheer walls of the Plateau here, plunging 80 meters to the bottom of the narrow canyon with a deafening noise, louder than a plane at full throttle.
The Macuco Safari boat ride will take you to an educational train ride through the jungle and then to the boat. You can choose between ‘dry’ or ‘wet’ boat rides. Taking a helicopter ride (CAD $289.00 per person) is also a great way to experience the falls.
How to get there: All of Brazil’s domestic airlines fly to Iguassu. You can also go from Buenos Aires to the Argentinian airport of Iguazu and cross the border (if staying on the Brazilian side).
Where to stay: Hotels, B&Bs and resorts are available on both sides of the border. From the stunning Belmond Cataratas overlooking the falls on the Brazilian side (price range from USD 400.00 to over USD 2,000.00/night based on season and room category), to resorts and hotels like the Mabu or Wish (from USD 100.00 to USD 250.00/night), to the more modest Savaris (average USD 80.00/night).
Best time to visit: Spring and fall are the recommended seasons to go. Summer can be very humid, and the water level is considerably lower in the winter.
Friendship Bridge: Free trade zone
For an unusual and authentic experience, you can cross the Friendship Bridge to the town of Ciudad Del Este in Paraguay, which is a short car ride away. It is considered one of the biggest free trade zones in the world. If you like bargains, this is the place to shop.