The Iguazú Falls are one of the top bucket list destinations in South America. The thundering magic of 200+ individual falls is a breathtaking sight. Even though the region is tucked away from other highlights of Argentina and Brazil, it is worth the trip to take in the scenery and dazzling World Heritage Site and Wonder of the World.
To begin, the Iguazú Falls are proclaimed to be the most dramatic and monumental of all waterfalls in the world. Actually, they are the largest broken waterfall in the world fed by the Igauzú River. About 275 different falls tumble over various cliffs that mingle with the border of Argentina in the province of Misiones and the border of Brazil, over the border of Paraná. The entire waterfall system is made up of important ecosystems and watershed systems. 80% of the falls are found on the Argentine side and the other 20% in Brazil.
WHAT MAKES IGUAZÚ FALLS SO SPECIAL?
In 1984, UNESCO named the Iguazú National Park a World Heritage Site. Later in 2011, the New Seven Wonders Foundation declared it one of the New Wonders of the World, and finally, in 2013, UNESCO once again declared the Iguazú Falls as an Exceptional Universal Value. It was named so due to the cultural and natural importance of the protected area. The subtropical rainforest that surrounds the cascades is home to over 2000 species of vascular plants and home to wildlife such as tapirs, giant anteaters, howler monkeys, ocelots, jaguars, and caymans.
With such titles, it is no wonder that the Iguazú Falls is the most visited place in the province of Misiones in Argentina and one of the most imposing natural attractions in the entire world. Besides the titles, the site speaks for itself. It has over 275 distinct drops of separate waterfalls with the largest width of 2700 meters wide and varying heights between 60 and 82 meters.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Any time of the year is a great time to view the majestic natural site. Although, there are two different seasons to consider. The first is the wet and rainy season and the other is the dry season. Both have their advantages and both seasons have a higher and lower number of visitors, however, they will both always be a bit wet and humid due to the subtropical climate.
The first season mentioned, wet and humid, is also the most visited in the summer months. Keep in mind the summer months on this side of the hemisphere are later, from December to March. The falls are at their best with mighty flows thanks to the rains, however, it is very hot and humid.
The second season from March through November has less rain and fewer amounts of visitors. Even though, it is important to remember that no matter what time of the year there will definitely be some amount of visitors, it is rare to find the falls lacking tourists. During this time there is better weather and bluer skies, but, this also means a weaker flow in the cascades as they are not at their peak, while the temperatures and humidity are more comfortable.
WHICH SIDE OF IGUAZÚ NATIONAL PARK IS BEST TO VISIT
Usually, a discussion between Argentina and Brazil is happening over a World Cup match, but in this case, it is mainly about deciding which side you want to visit or see first. Either side of the National Park in Argentina and Brazil is excellent and both can be visited on the same day. It will mostly depend on how much time to have to spend at Iguazú Falls and your budget.
On the one hand, Brazil will give you a constant panoramic view where you can appreciate the falls from many angles. Since the Brazilian side of the park is smaller with only 20% of the falls on this side, there is only one circuit to experience here. Circuits are the paths and bus trails that take you sightseeing through the National Park. The circuit is about 1500 meters but you take your time, about 2-4 hours stopping to take in the views and to snap photos.
Meanwhile, on the Argentine side of the National Park, there are 6 different main circuits to choose from and in this section, more time is required where you can enjoy taking in the different views on the platforms, perhaps taking it all in with some Argentinian mate. For those who like to trek, there is an option called the Macuco Trail. Most visitors to Iguazú will choose the Argentine side because there are sections where you can get up close and personal with the immense power of the incredible World Heritage Site.
If you still have trouble deciding, take into account your point of arrival and choose the point closest to you. For example, if you arrive at IGR, Puerto Iguazu Airport, and also depart from here, then it would be better to visit the Argentine side to save time by avoiding border crossings into Brazil.
Of course, if you simply cannot choose which side is best, you can always choose an aerial option to take in the sights! You can soar above the magnificent falls to get a bird’s-eye view of the rushing water and the surrounding rainforest, a moment you will not likely forget soon.
With this Iguazú Falls guide to one of the earth’s most stunning natural marvels, there is no doubt or reason why this incredible experience should not be at the top of your travel bucket list!
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Author: Deb Davad