The answer is yes, although it wasn’t an easy decision to make. For those of you who are not familiar with Iguazu Falls, it is the world’s largest waterfall which spans across three countries including Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. When I say largest, I mean most volume of water per second and it’s massive!
Though Iguazu is straight out of a postcard, my husband and I debated if it was worth the high price tag. Two-hour flights were going for $250 each and a seventeen-hour bus ride was not much cheaper. We always have to factor what we are going to do with our dog Posey before booking these side trips. When we’ve traveled in the past, we have learned that Posey prefers to stay home rather than being uprooted to somewhere new. Since she is potty trained on potty pads, we feel comfortable leaving her for a few days alone.
After chatting with many locals about their must see places in Argentina, Iguazu Falls repeatedly came up. So we decided to go for it. Thankfully, Drew received an early 30th birthday present from my parents, which helped cover some of the costs. We booked our trip for 3 days and 2 nights in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina.
We decided to focus our time on the Argentina side of the falls for a few reasons:
- We only had a few days.
- There are expensive reciprocity fees to visit Brazil & Paraguay. We aren’t planning on visiting those countries throughout the rest of our trip, so it wasn’t worth the added cost.
- The Argentine side of Iguazu is more extensive and one can get up close to the falls.
After our flight was delayed for a few hours, we finally made it to Puerto Iguazu. The first thing I learned about Iguazu is taxis are not cheap! Unlike in Buenos Aires, taxis in Iguazu don’t offer a mileage/minute flat fee, this allows taxi drivers to set their own prices. Expect to pay premium taxi prices for popular locations like the airport and the park. You may want to look into renting a car if you plan on staying for longer than a few days.
After a 20-minute ride, our taxi pulled onto a dirt and cobblestone road. We had arrived at our hotel, La Aldea De La Selva Lodge, a rustic jungle lodge. I was immediately impressed with our hotel, which I found through Booking.com. I like to book my hotel rooms through Booking.com for a few reasons including free cancellations and “genius” booking perks. Once you become a “genius” booker, you get discounts on rooms and access to other promotions. I was able to upgrade us to a junior suite at La Aldea De La Selva Lodge for only $2 more! Read here to learn more about which other travel apps I like to use.
We were escorted by staff to our room on a elevated wooden walkway. Our room backed into the jungle and featured a large porch with a comfy hammock. Because we arrived in Iguazu later than expected, we decided to explore the town and have lunch.
The town Puerto Iguazu is pretty small, and other than the park, there is not a whole lot to do there. They do have a casino, nature and animal reserves, and La Aripuca, a replica of the native Guarani people’s customs and natural habitat.
Early the next day we took a cab to Iguazu Falls park, which is only about 20 minutes away. We purchased our entrance tickets (around $22 USD each), grabbed a map of the park and set off. Even for a weekday, the place was packed! You can take a guided tours through the park although it didn’t seem worth it for a few reasons.
- The park is so easy to navigate without a guide.
- There are at least 50 people in each group.
- They move like molasses so if you like to walk quickly a tour is not for you.
- If you are interested in a tour because you want to learn more about the culture and environment, I would suggest a private tour. With that many people in a group, it’s almost impossible to be within earshot of the guide.
Instead of a tour, we spoke to staff at the information desk who were incredibly helpful. They gave us suggestions about which routes to take and when. Following their direction, we started our hike on the upper trail. To be honest, I was expecting it to be like a real hike with uneven terrain and steep hills. It’s not like that at all. In fact, most of the trails are raised platforms navigating you above the jungle floor, rivers, and waterfall ledges. There are a few staircases to help get the heart pumping but overall it’s a pretty mild hike.
The upper trail of Parque Iguazu takes you on top the falls to overlook the force and scale of this wonder. The lower trail gets you up close so that you can feel the magnitude of the water literally hit you in the face. Iguazu is so incredible among the turquoise waters, lush jungle setting, natural rainbows, and the grandiose waterfalls that words can’t describe how truly spectacular and beautiful it is.
While walking through the park, we encountered monkeys, birds, and coatis, an animal similar to a raccoon. The coatis are adorable but like the raccoon they can be ferocious, stealing food, biting tourists and attacking each other. We decided to have lunch at the park, which was sort of a mistake. The options for food is pretty limited which included Subway sandwiches, empanadas, and other fried snacks. We settled for a small sandwich. During our lunch the coatis were up to no good, stealing unknowing tourist’s food when several monkeys came along. The monkeys ended up stealing the food from the coatis, who were not too happy.
We finished our day with a boat tour to San Martin Island. Other boat tours are available that will take you up close to the falls, but the steep price tags discouraged us. You can also get soaked, and I wasn’t prepared to have my camera and cellphones destroyed. The one thing we did skip was the train that takes you up to "Devil’s Throat". The line for the train was at least an hour long and our feet were tired, or as Drew likes to say “Our kitten’s are mewing”. We also had scheduled to have our morning taxi driver come pick us up, which was stupid because he never showed up. I do regret not going to "Devil’s Throat" especially since we waited around for 45 minutes for our driver that never came.
We were at the park for a total of 6 hours which was enough for us. It is certainly doable to see Argentinian side of the park in one day.
We ended up taking a very expensive taxi ride from the park to our hotel and resting the rest of the afternoon. I even took a nap in our hammock! We had dinner at La Terraza, which was excellent. We split our favorite, grilled provolone and chorizo. I also had grilled shrimp with risotto and Drew had a tenderloin and fries. I would highly recommend this place. The service was outstanding and the food was delicious. We turned in early for our early morning flight back to Buenos Aires the next day.
Overall Iguazu Falls is incredible and should be on everyone’s bucket list. The town is nothing to write home about but the park is worth the visit. You don’t need much time to experience the falls but do expect to pay a lot for your visit.
If you are planning a trip to Iguazu, feel free to email me or comment below for more information. Be sure to check out the Globe Trotter Girls post "Things Nobody Tells You About Iguazu" for more dos and don'ts for visiting Iguazu.
What is the one place you have on your bucket list?
Please leave your comments below! I look forward to hearing from you.