Iguazu Falls Argentina vs. Brazil
“One feels helpless and overwhelmed in the presence of such a vast force.” --Helen Keller
You can’t dispute placing Mother Nature's enchantment and South America in the same sentence. Among all the great natural wonders, South America is home to some of the world’s greatest waterfalls, and in a continent of amazing waterfalls, Iguazu Falls, on the border of Argentina and Brazil, may just be the best.
The Argentine and the Brazilian side each have their own unique perspectives and activities surrounding the falls, and if you have the time, we definitely recommend you visit both. However if you are short on time, then you may have to make a challenging choice between the two. This is why we have decided to break down the best features and tours of each side.
Argentina - Iguazu Falls
Walk into the falls at Devil’s Throat.
The Argentine side encompasses a much larger portion of Iguazu Falls than the Brazilian side--at least by area. It includes San Martin Island, which requires a short ferry boat ride; and the Devil’s Throat, which can be experienced from both countries. From this side, you are able to literally walk into the heart of the falls at Devil’s Throat and take a boat ride under the falling waters.
Iguazu National Park by foot or train.
The metal catwalks and trails that allow you to get close-up views of many of the individual waterfalls and cascades that comprise the larger Iguazu Falls network are far longer and more extensive than the Brazilian equivalent.The Iguazu National Park, with a subtropical forest, is much bigger on this side, with more trails to walk along and some even leading to open water. Plan a full day or two to see it all and walk all the trails.
Plan on getting wet.
The walkways take you within arm’s length of some of the falls. The tren de la selva is the tourist train that will take you from the entrance to the three main spots. Boat rides from the Argentine side are affordable and plenty of fun. Leave your camera behind as you will get completely soaked on the Gran Adventura boat ride from the lower circuit.
Small town accommodations.
Puerto Iguazu, although a small and pretty town on the Argentine side, is limited in accommodations and infrastructure.The opposite is true of the reverse Brazilian side, which is larger with more accommodation options.
Brazil - Iguazu Falls
Despite the falls being further away, you will experience a more panoramic impact on the Brazilian side.The catwalks here are shorter with more of an overview, which is a pro and a con because the lookouts do tend to get very busy.
Expect a half day to walk along the Brazilian side. In comparison, the walk along this side is relatively shorter, but do take your time to explore. We suggest you give yourself time to take in the perspective of the falls.
May we suggest a helicopter ride, which will give you an even better aerial view---only available on the Brazil side.
The best views of the Devil’s Throat chasm.
Even though the falls are further away than the Argentine side, doesn’t mean you won’t feel the spray of water on your face. The special walkways that rise from the base give the feeling of walking on the edge of the waterfalls, staring straight down to bottomless depths. At the end of the route you’ll be at the heart of Devil’s Throat.
The best views of the Devil’s Throat, the giant chasm that swallows half the water in the falls, can be seen from the Brazilian side.You’ll see water drop with such a force that a 100-foot cloud of mist will be permanently suspended overhead.
Ride an elevator to the top of the falls.
To get a close up view, you may walk through the subtropical forest of Iguazu National Park and head to the base of Salto Floriano. Here, take the elevator to the top of the falls, or walk out over the falls at the Salto Union.
More accommodation options in Foz do Iguacu.
Travelers to the Brazilian side of the falls enjoy access to more hotels, restaurants, and other amenities. Additionally, the bird park, Parque das Aves, is a ten-minute taxi ride away and offers more than 200,000 species of birds native to Brazil. See the macaw, toucan, and jay.
Both sides are wonderful.
From either the Argentine or Brazilian sides, you can head to trails or ride a picturesque train that will follow an upper or a lower circuit path. The lower path leads to the base of the falls with an intense crash of the waters.The upper path gives incredible views of the falls from an extensive footbridge.
So both sides have their own strengths. But you really don’t have to decide. Why not visit both? In fact, we encourage you to do so.
Read more about travel to Argentina on our Travel Planning Pages.
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