If you haven’t yet seen Iguazu Falls it can be quite hard to comprehend the numbers. A waterfall that’s almost 3 km in length; twice as wide as Niagara and considerably taller. In fact to call it a single waterfall isn’t exactly accurate – it’s around 275 individual falls which plunge around 60 metres, producing a roar which can be heard from several miles away. Without doubt it’s one of the world’s greatest natural wonders – so what should you know to help you best plan a visit?
Here are 7 tips to make the most of your precious time at Iguazu Falls:
1. Iguazu Falls spread across the borders of three countries: Brazil (where the falls are spelled Iguaçu), Argentina and Paraguay. The Paraguay border barely encroaches the main area and while a trip to Iguazu does offer visitors the chance to say they’ve been to Paraguay, unless you’re keen on collecting passport stamps you can concentrate on the Brazilian and Argentinian parts of the falls to make the most of your time.
2. Allowing a day on each side of the falls, perhaps with a spare day to allow for dodgy weather or an extra excursion, will allow you to make the most of what is not a cheap place to visit. While Brazil has a smaller section of falls than Argentina, it is the Brazilian side which enjoys the best views.
3. Take the time to explore the various walkways. Trails run along the edges of the falls on both sides, providing great lookouts from different angles. You’ll see the majority of the crowds rushing by, briefly stopping to snap a selfie before moving on. Plan enough time to make regular stops, both for photos and just to soak up the view.
4. Boat trips run from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides of the falls. They provide a spectacular and memorable experience, with skillful captains taking their passengers very close to the cascading water. It’s enormous fun, and you are guaranteed to get very wet, so make sure everything is protected.
5. For a more comfortable and panoramic view of Iguazu falls, take a 7-minute helicopter ride from the Brazilian entrance to the park. The helicopter has large glass panels designed for giving passengers better views, although a top tip is to bag the seat next to the pilot for the best views.
6. Look out for the coatis. They will find you, especially if you have food in your bag. These cute-looking animals resemble racoons, but there’s nothing cute about their behaviour once they smell the chance of food. Tourists are regularly bitten as a result of trying to pet coatis or hand feed them; follow the warnings and keep your distance.
7. While the waterfalls are the obvious highlight of Iguazu, the area is also rich is wildlife. On a typical walk through the park you’ll encounter some of the 450 species of birds, including parrots and toucans. You’re also likely to see many varieties of large and colourful butterflies. Add to that a wealth of flora, and you’ll be surprised how many of your Iguazu Falls pictures and memories turn out to feature something other than a waterfall.