On both sides be prepared for hot, humid temperatures year round. Even in winter temperatures of 30° C (86°F) are quite common, and in Summer 35-40° C (95-105° F) temperatures are the norm. Often times the thermal sensation may be much warmer than the actual temperature. Be prepared- carry lots of water, sun screen, and a sun hat.
There are generally two ways to decide which trail to take first:
- On a hot day, start on the Macuco trail,then head directly to the Garganta del Diablo followed by the upper circuit. This will allow you to spend the afternoon hours when the sun is strongest on the lower circuit, which has better opportunities to cool yourself down by being sprayed by the mist of the falls and even taking the boat ride below the San Martín falls- a guaranteed refresher.
- To beat the crowds start on the Macuco trail, then head to the lower circuit (yes, take the boat ride!), followed by the upper circuit, and save the Garganta del Diablo for the highlight at the end of the day, when the larger tour groups should be long gone.
- Be sure to bring your passport, a swimming suit, comfortable walking shoes, bug repellent, sunscreen, something to protect your camera from water (plastic bag will work, but if you have a GoPro this would be the day to bring it), and of course your sense of adventure.
- It is also a good idea to buy food in town and carry a picnic into the park, food in the park can be expensive. A good place to buy sandwiches in Puerto Iguazú is the panadería (bakery) El Arból Real.
- The thunderous sounds of the rushing waters are sure to inspire, and also probably also make you need to pee 😉 It is a good idea to visit the bathrooms after seeing the Garganta del Diablo before getting back on the train.
- Start the day on the shady, lesser trodden Macuco Trail, which due to less foot traffic, offers a better chance to view wildlife such as monkeys and toucans. Although the views on this trail are more of the surrounding jungle than the falls themselves, the end of the trail offers a smaller waterfall and swimming hole in which you can refresh yourself by letting the waters pour over you.
- Skip the train from the entrance at the central station, it is only a 15-20 minute walk down the Sendero Verde to the main train station (estación Cataratas) from which you can then catch the train to the Garganta del Diablo. All passengers from the central station have to get off at this station and wait in line again. This makes for considerable more waiting time and less exploration.
- You can either take the train to the massive Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) falls or you can walk the trail beside the tracks for 30 minutes or so. The train leaves the Cataratas station every 30 minutes and the last train is at 4 pm.
- On the lower circuit there is the opportunity for the Aventura Náutica an exhilarating powerboat ride that takes you below the brisk waters of San Martín falls. Although the boat ride is more expensive (350 ARS) than the park entrance fee, it is worth every centavo. Check out this video if you aren’t convinced.
- From the lower circuit there is also the opportunity to take a boat to Isla San Martín (often closed due to flooding), which has additional trails and a small beach where you can swim.
- If you are extremely limited on time, or fly in early, you can head straight to the park form the Puerto Iguazú airport. The airport is only a few kilometers from the park entrance and the taxi is cheaper to the park than to Puerto Iguazú. The park also offers service of guards-volumes (luggage storage).
- Bus: from Puerto Iguazú bus station there are busses through Rio Uruguay every 20 minutes starting at 7am and return service from the falls with the same frequency with the last bus back at 8:50pm (100 pesos round trip).
- Taxi: a slightly more comfortable way to travel with air conditioning, but also a heftier price. Taxis can be contracted in many taxi stands in Puerto Iguazú for about 250 pesos one-way, or 430 round trip. Be sure to negotiate the price before getting in the taxi.
See also: City Guide: Puerto Iguazú
- Be sure to bring your passport, a swimming suit, comfortable walking shoes or sandals, bug repellent, sun screen, wide angle lenses, and something to protect your camera from water (a plastic bag will work).
- Cost for non-Brazilian residents is 56 reales and can be paid by cash or credit/debit card, which is convenient if you are not continuing travel into Brazil, because you won’t need to exchange money.
- If you are short on time or want to sleep in, you can experience the Brazilian side in about a half a day.
- Open every day from 9 am – 5 pm
Getting to the Brazilian Falls
- Bus: From Puerto Iguazú regular service from the bus terminal is available through the company Rio Uruguay. From the bus terminal in Foz de Iguaçu (6 KM from the city center) take the 120 bus “Parque Nacional/Aeroporto” the fare is 3 Brazilian Reais. The trip from there takes 40 minutes and the National Park is the last stop.
- Taxi: Taxi service is more comfortable with air conditioning, but more costly. Be aware that in order to cross the border from the Argentine side in taxi you will need a Brazilian visa. Be sure to negotiate the price before getting in the taxi.