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If you’re planning on visiting Iguazu Falls and want to make the absolute most of your trip, you’ve come to the right place! This 2-3 day Iguazu Falls Itinerary will take you through both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides of the falls, leaving from Puerto Iguazu (the Argentinian side), with some extra adventures if you are up for them (which you are, duh).
Two days is enough in Puerto Iguazu, but I recommend three. This is so you can spend one day on the Argentinian side of the falls, one on the Brazilian side, and one either relaxing at your hotel pool (the weather here is pretty good year round) or exploring indigenous communities, butterfly farms, or other lesser-known yet awesome things to do in Puerto Iguazu.
So, that’s why this Iguazu Falls itinerary is 2-3 days; as always with my guides and itineraries, you can choose your own adventure.
Visiting Argentina? Check out my other content from this incredible country and surrounding areas:
- Mendoza Wine Tasting
- Buenos Aires City Guide
- Northern Patagonia Itinerary
- Classic Patagonia Itinerary
- One Week Uruguay Itinerary
- Guide to Northern Argentina: What to See in Salta and Jujuy
- Riding the Tres A Las Nubes in Salta
- Cafayate 3-Day Itinerary with Adventures + Wine
- Places to Visit in Argentina (You Didn’t Know Existed)
- Complete Argentina Bucket List: Things to Do in Argentina
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Visiting Iguazu Falls on Both Sides
So in case you didn’t know, Iguazu Falls forms the border between Argentina and Brazil, deep in the jungle. We can debate which side is better later! But, if you want to make the most of your trip, you’re going to want to see both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides so you can make that determination yourself.
In order to plan your two days visiting Iguazu Falls on either side, you can either do it yourself via public transportation, or you can book a tour that takes you to each side – one side one day, and the other the next. Personally, I recommend taking a tour, because that way it’s totally hassle-free and you get everything organized for you and you to get to learn all the fun facts and history of Iguazu falls at the same time.
Experiences with Tinggly
I booked my tours through Tinggly, which is an amazing company that lets you give adventures as gifts. You can totally get it for yourself (treat yo-self!) or you can get your loved ones adventure packages for their birthday/Christmas instead of your usual run-of-the-mill material gifts. You can book/give the tour I did for either one person or two people, as well as hunreds of other experiences.Check Tinggly for a full list of experiences, including a trip to Iguazu Falls!
These tours pick you up from and return you to your hotel (see below for my hotel recommendation!) and take care of everything about the falls besides entrance fees. The guide will inform you about everything in English and Spanish and handle adventure timings too.
The falls taken from the Gran Aventura boat ride
Getting to and from Puerto Iguazu
To be honest, Iguazu Falls is kinda in the middle of nowhere. There’s no sensical travel route to take that it’s close to, and honestly because of this it’s best just to take a long bus in and our or fly.
Flights: Personally, I flew from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu for less than $75, which at the time was around the same price as a 24-hour bus. I was super happy with my decision! If you’re going the other way you can also fly from Salta to Iguazu, or from Iguazu to Salta after your trip.
Busses: Again, the bus from Buenos Aires is about 24 hours. You can also take busses to Salta from here which are also super long, but in South America, you’ll have to get used to long busses!
I traveled through Paraguay for a few days after Iguazu, but that was sort of an adventure on my part and not totally recommended as the best travel route. Going to Salta next is probably the best option.
You can pre-organize round trip airport transfers to Puerto Iguazu airport in advance if you like. Many hotels include pickup but not drop off at the airport.
Quick Iguazu Falls Facts + Info
Before you begin visiting Iguazu Falls, I want to give you a little bit of history and information about them that I learned on my tour.
Iguazu Falls are the biggest waterfall system in the world. One side of the falls is Brazil and one is Argentina, and Paraguay is just a kilometer or two away from there. There is a point in each country where you can stand and see all three – more on that later!
Iguazu Falls is fully formed by rainwater – no mountain snowmelt or glacier water at all! The area has similar levels of rainfall all year round, so the water level should be pretty high no matter when you visit without too much fluctuation. The mean temperature all year round is 25C (77F!)
Iguazu Falls became a national park in 1934 after the frontier between the three countries (Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil) was decided in 1865. The first walkways that people walk on today when visiting Iguazu Falls were made in the 50’s, and have since been remodeled.
There are 2100m of waterfalls on the Argentinian side, and 600m in Brazil. This may seem an obvious advantage for Argentina, until you realize that being on one side gives you a better and more fully encompassed view of the other side rather than standing above the falls and looking down. But, many have different opinions on this!
Wildlife: You might see some different wildlife on your trip visiting Iguazu Falls, such as coati (raccoon-like scavengers you should not touch!), turtles in the water, and Yacare, which are like mini crocodiles!
Scenes from the Devil’s Throat
Day 1 Visiting Iguazu Falls: Argentinian Side
Since you are visiting Iguazu Falls from Puerto Iguazu, I recommend you begin your time by visiting the Argentinian side of the Falls. There are basically four places you need to know about to visit the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls, which are as follows:
Devil’s Throat (La Garganta del Diablo)
This is the massive and most famous part of Iguazu Falls, shaped in a thin valley like if you made the letter ‘C’ with your hand. The waterfalls cascade into a central point from all sides of this elongated ‘C’ shaped valley, creating such an incredible force of nature I can hardly put it into words.
This is where the largest volume of water falls down, and is also the highest drop at 80m down.
On the Argentinian side of the Devil’s throat, you stand right above the powerful cascading water, occasionally able to make out the bottom of the valley when the soaking wet mist clears for a moment. And yes, you get soaking wet too! You’ll want to bring a poncho here, and to protect your valuables. It’s so humbling to stand at the top of one of the worlds largest waterfalls, but to do it you’ll need to get a bit wet.
Getting to the Devils Throat Argentina:
When visiting Iguazu Falls on day 1 of your Iguazu itinerary, you’ll want to start by taking the train to the Devils Throat. A tour would take care of this for you, but basically, once you enter the park you’ll purchase a little train ticket and take a short 5-10 minute ride 6km to the end of the waterfall system where the Devil’s Throat is.
Pro Tip: when boarding the train, sit on the left side. This faces the water!
Then there are pathways out over the water that take you right into the midst (or… mist) of the incredible Iguazu Falls. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk to the top, and trains run all day. It’s a pretty vast contrast between the tranquility of the water on the boardwalk vs. the sheer power of the falls when you reach them!
Circuito Superior and Circuito Inferior
The Circuito Superior (upper circuit) and the Circuito Inferior (lower circuit) are more metal pathways that take you to closer viewpoints of other parts of Iguazu Falls. The Upper circuit goes above the falls, allowing you to look down from above and see the water falling dozens of meters down. The lower circuit takes you to about the mid-point of a few waterfalls and along the river at the bottom.
These circuits are in the main part of the National Park, so to get to them you’ll have to take the train back to the beginning and follow signs to them.
Pro Tip: They are one-way so make sure to get all your photos in each lookout point before moving on!
The Gran Aventura (Grand Adventure)
If there’s one thing not to miss when visiting Iguazu Falls, it’s the grand adventure. This is a safari vehicle ride to a zodiac boat that takes you up close and personal to Iguazu Falls. I believe you can also do boat rides from the Brazilian side of the falls, but it’s cheaper and more popular to do here.
First, you’ll take a bumpy safari vehicle deep into the jungle, learning about more plants, animals, and history behind the falls.
When you arrive at the launch point, you’ll receive a dry bag and a massive life vest… both of which you will soon find out are much needed. I recommend a poncho for the Gran Aventura as well… hell, I recommend a wetsuit. Because you are going to get wet.
First, you take the zodiac boat up the river towards the falls, and they give you a little while to take photos up close before your imminent demise. After warning you to place your valuables deep inside your dry bag, it’s ‘shower time.’ And I’ll tell you, my plastic poncho has never been so ineffective in my life. Now, you get the unique experience to literally take a dip under Iguazu Falls, or, rather, 3 or 4 dips under different waterfalls!
We didn’t go deep into the Devil’s Throat (I can only assume that would be life-threatening!) but it was a huge thrill to get totally soaked under the biggest waterfall system in the world.
After the Gran Aventura is over, you may have some time visiting Iguazu Falls gift shops before returning to your accommodation.
For the evening, most hotels in Puerto Iguazu have great restaurants, or take a walk or quick cab into town to check out more options.
Devil’s Throat from Brazil
Viewing the Argentinian side (and a blurry boat ride ) from the Brazilian side
Day 2 Vistiting Iguazu Falls – Brazillian Side
Now it’s time for Visiting Iguazu Falls on the other side. With a tour, you don’t have to worry too much about the border because it’s all taken care of for you. On my tour, we just gave our guide our passports and stamped in and out of Argentina, without having to do immigration in Brazil because it was jsut a day trip. However, if you are American, make sure your visa is applied for and granted and that you have the proper paperwork to enter Brazil.
Iguazu Falls Circuit in Brazil
This side is much more simple, with a 1200m circuit to walk to see all of Iguazu Falls’ Brazillian side. You’ll begin right across from the upper circuit in Argentina, with, in my opinion, has a better view of it than looking down it from the Argentinian side.
Yes…. I said it. I do think the view is better here. Although there are less actual waterfalls on the Brazilian side, I think being on this side presents a better view of the 2100m of falls on the Argentinian side. Some people think it’s better to be closer to more waterfalls and standing next to them, but I personally preferred seeing all of them in a single view from afar. That’s my opinion! 🙂
You’ll walk along the pathway and get tons of different views of all of Iguazu Falls. There are plenty of lookout points and viewpoints, and the whole thing ends at another platform with a different view of the Devil’s Throat.
The Devil’s Throat on the Brazilian side of the falls is viewable from a platform about mid-level height of the falls. From here you’ll look out toward the Devil’s throat from outside of it, getting a full view of all sides of water pouring down into the valley. It’s definitely different than standing above it, and provides a totally different perspective on the most powerful part of the falls. In my opinion, it’s so worth making the most of visiting Iguazu Falls and seeing both sides.
Brazil Bird Park
The Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls is also apparently home to the largest bird park in the world! This would be an awesome addition to visiting Iguazu Falls if you are into that kind of thing – or even if you aren’t! Why not visit the largest bird park in the world while you are here? Most tours will give this as an option to ad an extra couple hours into your tour, and also to include discounted bird park admission with your ticket.
On a tour, you’ll also get the chance to stop at a fantastic artisanal craft gift shop before visiting Iguazu Falls, and also to stop at a duty free shop at the border. The craft shop is actually inredible – I’m usually not one for souvenirs and I couldnt help myself from a few purchases here. The duty free shop is good for anyone who will be traveling a long time and wants to pick up anything duty free.
Another incredible marvel – this one man made – that is worth visiting in the area is Itaipu Dam. This Dam is on the Brazillian side of the border, and seperates Brazil from Paraguay. It is the second largest dam in the world, and used to the the largest until a dam in Chila recently surpassed it. Nonetheless, it is totally incredible and you can go inside to learn more about the engineering that goes on inside.
This tour here actually takes you to the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls and Itaipu Dam, if you are more interested in the dam than the bird park.
This tour here takes you to all three (The Falls, Itaipu Dan, and the Bird Park) in one big adventurous day.
Day 3 Vistiting Iguazu Falls – Puerto Iguazu
Today is a ‘choose-your-own-adventure” day in Puerto Iguazu. I was so impressed by this little city and how much different it was from the rest of Argentina. It really feels much more like Latin America than a lot of the country with its European touches.
Even in that it’s a tiny city, there’s actually TONS to do here – from visiting indigenous Guarani communities, to visiting the Tres Fronteras, to shopping in town, to visiting museums, gardens, and butterfly farms – you will still be spoilt for choice.
Hell, you could even spend today relaxing at your hotel in the sun, or in a hammock on your balcony. See below for my hotel recommendation, but for now, here are quite a few things to do in Puerto Iguazu to make the most of your time visiting Iguazu Falls.
Visit a Guarani Community
This region of the world was inhabited originally by the Guarani people, an indigenous tribe. The name ‘Iguazu’ actually comes from the Guarani language meaning ‘Aguas Grandes” or “big water!” The names of quite a few neighboring countries, such as Paraguay and Uruguay, also come from Guarani roots.
Here in Puerto Iguazu it is possible to visit quite a few Guarani communities and learn about their culture. There’s one right next to the hotel I stayed at! You can book a tour like this one to see the Guarani, or the tour below.
Puerto Iguazu Jungle Bike Tour
Biking the Yaguarundi Road is a great way to familiarize yourself with the local scenery, wildlife, and indigenous communities. If you are up for an adventure and want to visit some locals, sign up for this two hour bike tour that leaves wach morning and evening and stops by some Guarani communities.Check Rates for This Tour
Visit the Tres Fronteras
This is the point where you can see Argentina, Brazil, and Praguat all at once! The river that seperates Brazil and Argentina runs perpendicular to a river that seperates Paraguay from the two countries, creating a point of tres fronteras “three frontiers” where you can see all three.
Tres fronteras in Argentina has a huge patio with vendors selling crafts, and also a point where you can take a photo with all three countey flags. Pretty cool, right? Have you ever been anywhere where you could see three countries at once?
You can also squeeze this visit in on day two to make more room for activities on day 3 of your Iguazu Falls itinerary.
Day Tour to San Ignacio Mission and Wanda Mines
This is an amazing and lesser known activity in the Missiones province of Argentina, which is often overshadowed completely by Iguazu Falls.
The San Ignacio Mission was built by Jesuit missionaries in the early 1600’s, and has a fascinating history. The Wanda mines are the source of much of the area’s unique gemstones, many of which are actually only found in Northern Argentina.Check Rates for This Tour
Jungle Zipline Adventure
That’s right, you can have a jungle zipline advenure right from Puerto Iguazu that includes trekking, rappelling, and ziplining. It’s a half day tour so you can also combine it with more of these options.Check Rates for This Tour
Iguazu Biocenter + Butterfly Gardens
Right in Puerto Iguazu and next to the Tres Fronteras you will find the Iguazu Biocenter, which is full of local flora and fauna. You will see local fish, reptiles, butterflies, and birds, as well as lots of plants – most famously, orchids.
You can do this as a tour with pickup service, or stop by while in town.
On the main streets of town, on the main plaza, and at the Tres Fronteras, you’ll find amazing indigenous crafts. This is a great place to get South America souvenirs, mate gourds, and more.
See a Brazillian Folkloric Show and All-You-Can-Eat BBQ
Haven’t gotten enough of Brazilian Culture? This tour actually takes you from your Puerto Iguazu hotel to an all-you-can-eat Brazillian BBQ with a Latin American folklore show. Sound like a great way to spend your last night to me!Check Rates for This Tour
Where to Stay when Visiting Iguazu Falls
I was graciously hosted by La Aldea de La Selva Lodge during my time in Iguazu Falls, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with this property. Their rooms are insanely affordable and are far more similar to suites than hotel rooms. My ‘room’ (I use this term loosely because it was far more than that 😉 ) had an entryway, a huge bathroom with a bath and window out to the jungle, a massive main room with a desk, California king bed, and TV, and a private balcony lookout out into the jungle with a hammock. I was seriously at a loss for words when I walked in here, and overflowing with happiness (which you’ll remember if you saw my Instagram story from that day – its still on my highlights!)
La Aldea de La Selva really does the ‘middle of the jungle’ vibe incredibly well. The main reception and dining room are dimly lit by beautiful polished wooded lamps, with huge windows displaying nothing but deep green jungle beyond a small patio. The entire room is wooded and jungle themed, with flowers and colors to complete the feeling.
To get between the rooms and cabanas, you must walk on wooded pathways straight through the jungle. It seems as if you’re on a jungle hike until you discover more wooded signs directing you between different parts of the property. They even have a pathway all the way around the property, with informational signs with facts about this jungle and the wildlife within it.
The pool area is also spacious and relaxing, with a multi-level pool and plenty of comfortable chairs to relax in the warm jungle sun. This is exactly where I ended up each day after my tours, relaxing and even flying my drone to get an extra perspective of this gorgeous place.
The food here was also on a whole different level. The breakfast buffet was like something out of my dreams (pictured) and I tried a steak at the restaurant one night to make the most of my stay here – also delicious. I truly loved staying here, and felt so at peace as if I was at a spa retreat in the middle of the jungle.
Like I said, the rooms here are super affordable. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that they started at just over $100 for my dates.
On a budget? There are tons of super cheap hostels on Hostelworld – starting at around $5!
Essentials for Vistiting Iguazu Falls:
Well, I think that’s about all I have to say about visiting Iguazu Falls! I hope this Iguazu Falls Itinerary has helped to guide your trip here. As always, let me know what you think and if there are any aspects of your trip I can help with!
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Thanks to La Aldea de La Selva Lodge for hosting me, and to Tinggly for helping out with my tour. As always, all words are my own.