I say Iguazú, you say Iguaçu
Iguassu Falls is a natural world wonder and easily the most impressive waterfall attraction I’ve seen anywhere in the world. It puts Niagara Falls to shame by offering a beautiful setting, while it rivals Victoria Falls with its immense network of accessible trails, lookouts and viewing platforms on both sides of the falls.
Depending on the season, Iguassu is composed of 100 or even 200 different waterfalls, pouring water from the mighty Iguazú River into deep jungle canyons. They’re split into upper and lower falls, with fantastic names like Floriana, Santa Maria, Rivadavia and Tres Mosqueteros.
Iguassa borders Argentina and Brazil, so it is also known as Iguazú Falls and Iguaçu Falls. But which side is better?
While the majority of the waters spill over on the Argentine side, to fully appreciate Iguassu, you need to view these waterfalls from both sides – and you need to get wet!
Argentina’s Iguazú Falls
Let the adrenaline-pumping fun begin. For thrill-seekers, the Argentine side is the place to be. A walk along the Devil’s Throat Walkways brings you right to the edge of the intimidating Union Waterfall. You’ll get misted and wet here, but if you want to get really wet, take the ride down to the lower falls and get on a jet boat ride to get soaked by Santa Maria waterfall.
Adventure is everywhere on the Argentine side, they even have an eco-train ride and offer guided hikes along jungle pathways.
Brazil’s Iguaçu Falls
Before you consider yourself sold on the Argentine side, Brazil has a sneaky travel trick up their sleeve. You can only take scenic helicopter rides over the Brazilian side of Iguassu falls. How come? Argentina claims it disturbs the plants and animals of the jungle – which seems a bit far-fetched.
On the ground you can be enveloped by the mist and impressed by the roaring sound of the waterfalls. But the only way to see how immense and impressive the Iguassu Waterfalls really are, you need to be up high, in a helicopter.
Brazil also has the better vantage point when it comes to taking photos of many of the waterfalls. Since more than 75% of the different waterfalls are on the Argentine side, you need to be on the Brazil side to get the best photos of them.
The hiking trails on the Brazil side are arguably better, in that they offer more variety when it comes to viewing the different waterfalls. While you can get close to Union Waterfall on the Argentine side, the Brazilian side gets you right up close to impressive Floriana waterfall.
So, which side is better? The winner is – both! It really is impossible to say one is better than the other. It’s a shared wonder of the world, with big attractions on both sides. If you have the time to explore Iguassu for a few days, there is a network of side trails and paths that can take you close to almost any waterfall, or deep into the jungle.
Both sides also allow you to position yourself perfectly for a postcard-worthy photo. This is a tropical area too, so whichever side you’re on, you may encounter butterflies, coatimundi (raccoon-like animals), lizards, spiders or snakes.
Enjoy it all, as there is no other waterfall complex as varied and accessible as that of Iguassu.