The next part of our trip was one I had been looking forward to since we decided on South America as a destination. We caught an overnight bus from Curitiba to the small city of Foz do Iguaçu, home of the world famous Iguaçu Falls. The waterfalls (or Cataratas) are situated a short bus ride outside the city of Foz in the picturesque Iguazu National Park which lies across the border of Brazil and Argentina. The Brazilian side offers a grander overview of the falls from above (there are 275 of them in total) and the Argentinian side gives you an up close view. We decided to start in Brazil and then cross the border into Argentina (to Puerto Iguazú) a few days later.
The Brazilian entrance to the park was very much like having a tour of Jurassic Park. We bought our tickets at the entrance, and expected to be able to trek to the falls and have a walk through the national park. We were herded onto a bus which then played weird fake bird sounds as a very enthusiastic narrator talked us through the different tours available around this side of the falls. That was all a bit strange, but once we got off this internal tour bus to where the falls were it was much better. Going in the off season meant it wasn’t horrendously busy (nothing like visiting Cristo Redentor in Rio, that’s for sure), and there were ample opportunities for photos without other people in, and for a chance to take in the splendour of the falls without being hit with a selfie stick. The Brazilian side of the falls allows for you to go out on a walkway into the Devils Throat (the biggest section of waterfalls with the loudest roar), for a wonderful view – whilst getting completely soaked, of course. This side was great for seeing the falls from further away and we left very impressed. However, once we experienced the falls from Argentina, we realised this was merely an introduction.
A few days later we crossed the border into Puerto Iguazu, a small Argentinian town on the other side of the falls. The town itself was pretty lovely, much nicer than the commercial and a little run down Foz do Iguaçu. It turns out the town was a good reflection on what that side of the falls was like too. We took the bus to the national park, bought a ticket and then instead of being sheparded onto a bus, we were shown several walking routes to the falls (which weren’t an added cost, like in Brazil). We decided to get on the little train half way to the falls, which in itself was much nicer than the bus, and then walk the rest of the way. The park had been left to its own devices to an extent and felt a lot more natural than the Brazilian side. We walked to the Devil’s Throat first to see how different it was and it was incredible. The walkway took you right out to on top of the waterfall itself, inches away from the drop, which was both nerve racking and exhilarating (and again, soggy). We walked several other paths in the afternoon, and it became clear that Argentina got the better deal when it came to the falls. There were more waterfalls and you were much closer to them, so you could get a much better idea of their size and you could really hear their roar.
Overall, our visit to the falls was awesome (we were actually in awe). I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something that impressive in nature and I’m glad we made the special trip to go and see them.