You will not regret it. Each side is very different – it will not be ‘more of the same.’
Iguazu Falls, Brazil offers expansive, panoramic views from a single, long walkway that hugs the side of the valley for approximately 2 kilometres. Each bend of the path provides jaw dropping views, culminating in a remarkable feat of engineering – a walkway jutting out along the base of one enormous fall and across the top of another plunging waterfall.
In Brazil we saw giant millipedes, toucans and coatis.
Iguazu Falls, Argentina has the thundering, powerful Garganta Del Diablo – The Devils Throat – at the head of the magnificent Iguazu cataratas.
Walkways allow you to get close up to the deafening, roaring water as well as bringing you over the top of other cascading falls. The paths wind through dense forest offering great opportunities for wildlife spotting.
In Argentina, we saw lizards, butterflies, turtles and monkeys.
Arrive at the park as early as you can.
The Iguazu Falls are a tourist magnet and are very busy all year round.
To avoid the worst of the crowds, get to the park for opening time. Try to avoid peak dates such as school holidays or Easter.
Go to the most popular locations first.
If you get to the park for opening time on the Argentina side, go immediately to the most popular location first, The Devils Throat.
Seeing a breath taking natural wonder when getting repeatedly hit on the head with selfie sticks in amongst a jostling crowd of tourists can affect the enjoyment of the experience! And if you are a selfie stick user, please be considerate and don’t rest it on other peoples’ shoulders or heads!!!
This will mean doubling back on yourself to walk the pathway in the correct direction get the best waterfall views but it will be worth it to witness and enjoy The Devils Throat at a quieter time.
Take your time exploring the parks.
Sit back, rest, soak up the view (sometimes literally)! Allow large groups to pass you on the narrow paths.
This is a once in a lifetime place to visit; don’t rush it. It was such a shame to see many people running around the park trying to keep to a schedule.
Seek out less visited parts of the park.
Seeking out quieter parts of the park will increase your chances of seeing wildlife but always stick to the designated paths!!!
For example, we walked to The Devils Throat rather than using the provided transport. It was an extremely hot and tiring walk but there were no other tourists on the path the entire walk. It was blissfully quiet and, as a result, we saw lots of wildlife, particularly many beautiful, inquisitive butterflies who landed on our bags, feet and bodies. (But because it took so long to walk, The Devils Throat was very busy when we got there)!
Allocate an extra day in your schedule to allow for bad weather.
A visit to Iguazu Falls is all about the views so you need good weather to see them!
It would be hugely disappointing to have bad weather on the one day you have allocated for your visit. You may never get the chance to visit this remote region again, so it is worth allocating extra days for Iguazu in your schedule, just in case.
Prepare for the weather.
Check the weather forecast before your visit and plan accordingly.
Wear a hat / sunscreen / waterproofs as there is very little shade or shelter on the paths and walkways. Consider covering up to avoid biting insects and wear insect repellent.
Don’t forget to bring insect repellent and sunscreen with you to reapply after you get wet – and you will get wet!
Bring more water than you think you will ever be able to drink.
Iguazu Falls National Park is a tropic location and is very hot and humid. It essential to keep hydrated.
There are very few catering facilities in the park and none on the major walkways, only at the start and end of walking routes.
Bring lots of water!
Wear sensible shoes.
Flip flops may be cooling to wear in hot weather but your feet will thank you for wearing supportive, comfortable shoes on a long day visit to Iguazu Falls.
Paths can be stony and uneven and metal grill walkways are uncomfortable and slippery in flip flops.
With the incredible views surrounding you, it is easy to forget to watch your feet and we saw several people trip up and down steps. Move slowly and stop often to savour the stunning views.
Wear sensible clothing
If you wear khaki, outdoorsy style, multi pocketed clothing you will stick out like a sore thumb. We did! It is not a safari…
Instead, wear loose, cotton clothes that will keep you cool yet cover you up to protect you from hungry insects and the sun.
Be prepared to get wet from the spray. But don’t bother with a change of clothes; it is so hot you will welcome the cooling water and dry off quickly.
But don’t wear clothes if the colours might run and avoid white t shirts…
Use a toilet when you see one.
There are very few toilets in the park so use the toilets at the entrance and make it a ‘good’ visit! All the gushing water around you will soon make you want to go again…
Look after your food
Bring snacks but keep all food carefully and securely packed away and all bags closed.
Despite the multiple warning signs not to feed the wild animals, visitors continue to feed them, particularly the coatis.
As a result, coatis now know a tourist means potential food. They will try to get into your bag, get at the food you are carrying or even eating. Do not feed the animals or attempt to stroke them – they bite and scratch and can cause serious injury.
Prepare your camera!
Obvious – but so easily forgotten! – prepare your camera for your visit.
Charge batteries, bring a spare battery, make sure you have enough memory etc. You will never forgive yourself otherwise!
Wrap your camera in a plastic bag to protect it from the spray and remember a lens wipe.
Consider using public transport.
Public transport links to the park are very good in each country.
Cheap, punctual, direct public buses run frequently from local towns, plus they start early allowing you to arrive for opening time.
Travelling by public transport will allow you to set your own schedule for visiting the park, rather than joining a tour.
We used public buses from Puerto Iguazu, Argentina to visit the Argentina AND Brazil side.
VisitingIguazu Falls with kids
Since our return, I have read and heard comments from people how Iguazu Falls are not ‘child-friendly’ or appropriate for children. Nearly all of these comments were from travellers who had visited without children! Iguazu is absolutely for children; the perfect location to teach them about the wonder of nature.
Children will not be bored at Iguazu Falls because there are ‘no playgrounds’ or ‘child friendly’ facilities. Our children were enraptured by both parks and recall it as a highlight of our Round The World trip. I would not hesitate to return.
Apart from the thrill of the falls and the fun of getting wet over and over again, they loved animal spotting and examining plants. It was the best science and geography lesson ever!
Like any trip, visiting Iguazu Falls with children just requires some research and planning. Read all my tips above to start!
Keep children close at all times.
Paths and walkways can be narrow, slippery and very busy. For the majority of the time, any fences are sparse barriers with considerable gaps. Be aware of steps. Remind children to not feed the animals or get too close to them.
The walks are not challenging in length or difficulty and are easily managed by even young children. However, it is essential to arrive as early as you can as our experienced walking children struggled with the heat and in some places, the crowds.
Consider a carrier rather than a buggy
For very young children, use a carrier for ease and mobility. The paths are good enough to use a buggy but you may struggle with steps and the number of people.
Bring plenty of snacks and water as catering facilities are thankfully sparse.
Bring binoculars, magnifying glass, pen and paper, park map – anything to engage and entertain your children in such amazing surroundings. These items are fun for children to use, can be used as a record of their day but we also found it gave us an excuse to rest often and pace our day!
Carry a basic first aid kit for scratched knees or hands.
Children find it hard to regulate their body temperature so make sure you move slowly, rest often and keep hydrated. Let them pore over that millipede for ten minutes if it means a rest in the shade!
Talk about the day before you go.
Discuss what they will see and what they might see. Show them the maps, discuss the walks. Enthuse and engage! We have found our children react better to walking when they know it is an exact distance rather than an indeterminable trudge!
Make sure they know that ‘park’ does not mean a playground!!! It avoids disappointment later on!
Plus, young children are not allowed on the speedboat trips so rather than deal with splitting up our family (and dealing with the queues) we told the children in advance that it was not an option for us. After seeing how bumpy the boat rides were, we were glad!
If you have visited Iguazu, or are planning to go, I would love to hear from you!
Please add any comments or other tips you have learned from visiting this incredible place – we would love to hear them.