While you can freely roam the walking trails that circle the falls, the Argentinean Park also offers a variety of guided walking tours that take participants off the beaten path and into the dense jungle not open to the general public. Varying between 2-3 hours in length depending on the tour, these guided walks provide opportunities for visitors to get up close with nature in a more private and informative setting.
With the help of a guide, participants can find animal tracks, diverse insect life and with some luck, may even spot one of the endangered species that call this habitat home.
The Devil's Throat
While every corner of the falls is magical, this vantage point is of particular note. The Devil’s Throat is the point of convergence between two of the largest bodies of water flowing from the upper Iguazu River. Here you can witness the true might of these powerful falls as you watch the peaceful river transform into a torrent of cascading water, much of it turning into the life-giving mist that hydrates the dense surrounding jungle. Tremendous in sight and in sound, the Devil’s Throat is an exciting interaction with this force of nature.
San Martin Island
San Martin Island sits at the foot of Iguazu Falls in the lower Iguazu River. Accessible by ferry from the Argentinean park, hiking from end to end along hilly trails takes roughly two hours. Various lookouts dotted throughout the trail offer views of both the giant waterfalls as well as the creeping jungle terrain of the Brazilian side. Journeying to the island for a picnic lunch makes for a great midday activity. It should be noted that the ferry only operates at low tide, so access to San Martin Island can be limited depending on the season – tides in the summer are higher than during other times of year.
Jungle Explorer Boat Ride
Inject a bit of adventure into your visit with a ride on the Jungle Explorer, a high-speed zodiac fit for up to 28 thrill-seeking individuals who want to experience the mighty waterfalls up close. Accessible from the lower circuit in the Argentinean park, the Jungle Explorer is a nautical adventure that takes passengers out onto the Iguazu River, circling San Martin Island to visit the waterfalls at either end.
This is no leisurely ride however, as the zodiac bounces off the tops of river waves and drives straight into the spray of the falling waters above.
For five consecutive nights per month, visitors are taken on guided tours of Iguazu Falls after dark on a Full Moon Walk. Feel completely immersed in nature as you take in the awesome views with the glow of the moon lighting the way. Away from the daytime crowds, a Full Moon Walk is a unique and immersive experience that will undoubtedly enhance your overall appreciation of this already breathtaking site. Full Moon Walks depart from the Argentinean park.
Due to the immense size of the Argentinean park, an open-air train was built to carry passengers easily from one viewing area to the next. This convenient system makes seeing the entire Argentinean side of the waterfalls doable in one day.
Constantly showered in the mist produced by the flowing waters of Iguazu Falls, the surrounding area and river islands are consequently home to flourishing plant life. Over 2000 plant species can be found in this humid microclimate. From skyscraping trees to colorful orchids, the vegetation here epitomizes a rainforest landscape. Plants blanket the ground, cling to the cliffs and even pop up from beneath the raging river.
The diverse collection of animals that call this ecosystem home are some of the most exciting to behold. Birds of brilliant colours, many species of butterflies, monkeys, turtles, black caimans (a species of alligator) and the always-entertaining South American coati move about the parks freely and are spotted easily.
Other more solitary species such as jaguars, ocelot and giant anteaters also live in the region, however they prefer the depths of the jungle away from prying eyes and are rarely seen. If you’re lucky, you might spot the tracks of some of these mysterious species on a guided walking tour.
The Argentinean Side
The Argentinean park offers visitors a more intimate experience with the falls, as the body of the waterfall is situated on this side. Extensive walking paths explore Iguazu Falls from all angles, while a train transports visitors through the jungle, and boat and ferry tours venture into the falls themselves. This up close experience naturally increases chances of getting wet, however rainbows are in abundance.
The Argentinean park is much larger than its Brazilian counterpart, so be prepared to spend the majority of the day on this side. While restaurants and gift kiosks are dispersed throughout, bringing your own snacks or picnic lunch is a savvy way to avoid pricy markups.
The Brazilian Side
The Brazilian park is situated along the cliff edge facing Iguazu Falls and offers visitors a panoramic view. From here, the full breadth and size of this natural wonder can be appreciated.
A walking path leads visitors down into the canyon to reach the corner of the semicircular falls. Here the waterfall has been broken into two parts by a natural rock plateau and visitors can walk out along a boardwalk to experience the falls up close. This is an especially breathtaking view as you stand between the two cliff edges facing the Iguazu River as it heads downstream; on one side the cascading waterfalls and on the other the sprawling rainforest. There is no escaping the spray from this immersive vantage, so be prepared to get wet.
Home to more than just stellar soccer, Brazil and Argentina also share one of the worlds more spectacular natural wonders
Straddling the border between Brazil and Argentina, the breathtaking Iguazu Falls, and the lush subtropical rainforest that surrounds it, is a stunning natural wonder with much to be explored.
Semicircular in shape, reaching up to eight meters high and spanning 270 meters across, the majestic Iguazu Falls is a mighty sight to behold. Blanketed in a dreamy haze by the billows of mist rising off the powerful waterfalls and interspersed with rainbows from every angle, the scene is a striking example of the combined force and fragility of the natural world.
From vantage points that will inspire awe and contemplation, to jungle tours that will amaze and excite, here are the top 10 reasons to visit Iguazu Falls.
Former intern turned contributing writer, Natalie Walters covers a range of topics for BC Living, with a special interest in travel, style and all things edible. She loves exploring food and far off places, preferably at the same time, and hopes to continue adventuring her way around the world as an international journalist.