Iguazu Falls

All about Iguazu:

Are you in South American wondering if you should go out of your way to see Iguazu Falls? The answer is yes! Take 3 days to go visit this spectacular natural park.

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In my opinion the falls were one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Granted I am only 23 and I have a lot more traveling to do in life, but nothing less, I do not regret this trip one bit.

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I just got back from my mini-vacation to Iguazu and I am already writing down everything I can remember, so others can have the amazing experience that I had. Lets see where to start?

 

Well first I traveled to Iguazu for 4 days/ 3 nights with my mom this week of May. We left Buenos Aires on Tuesday and arrived in the small airport right outside of the city in less than 2 hours. We chose to fly since it was only about $2,000 pesos each ($130ish dollars), which was similar to the price of a bus, but 10x faster.

Right outside the airport you can catch a van into town for only $120 pesos each. ($8ish dollars.) And right before you get into town you have to pay a $20 peso entrance fee, but that is like nothing so it doesn’t matter.

We got dropped off at our hostel Mango Chill, and were instantly happy with the place. This was the best hostel that I have ever been to. The place itself is adorable. Art work and painted quotes everywhere, a large pool and a cabana type bar in the back with lights and music for nighttime parties. The rooms were all in the same area, with a large front living room including another bar. In the back there is a large table for breakfast and dinner. I wish I took more pictures of the place but I was having so much fun meeting new people that I forgot.

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The hostel provided free breakfast and then you can choose to pay for dinner, which I recommend. One night it was a 3-course BBQ starting with an empanada and a sausage sandwich. Second was a HUGE plate of meat and vegetables, and then third was ice cream dessert. The next night was unlimited pizza where they just kept putting new slices on your plate. And the dinners include unlimited drinks..this can be a bit dangerous but makes the price well worth it. For the BBQ it was $180 pesos each and pizza was $140 each.

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What was nice about the hostel too is you do not have to pay until the end. So if you want a drink from the bar they just give it to you and you don’t have to think about the cost until later (which also can be dangerous, but made life easy.)

The staff was amazing, and happened to be all attractive guys who were super friendly, and loved to socialize. They remembered our names right away and seemed interested in our stories haha.

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The rooms were clean, and were all shared. No private rooms here, but we met some amazing people so this was not a problem. I recommend bringing a lock, because they had cubbies to put your belongings that you can lock when you leave for the day. If you don’t have one, you can buy one from them for $40 pesos, then return it when you leave.

There is also plenty to entertain yourself there, like games, books, a guitar, and 2 cats.

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I seriously suggest staying at this hostel. People from other hostels ended up coming over just to party, and kept saying how there’s were shit compared to ours.

 

Okay enough about that, lets get to the falls.

 

So the bus station is conveniently ½ a block from the hostel, with a local bus that goes to the falls every 20 minutes. This cost $130 pesos each for round trip. ($8ish dollars.)

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Once you get there you pay for your tickets, and decide where to start. We paid $200 pesos each, but I have an Argentinian citizenship, so it is actually a little more for US citizens. It is half price for a second day if you don’t get everything done in one.

Oh also there is the Argentina side and the Brazil side. We only did Argentina because it is way bigger, and thought it looked better so I have no input for Brazil.

We decided we wanted to start from the farthest and work our way closer. This means that Circuito Garganta del Diablo was first for us. So when you enter the park you can take a train ride (free) up to the second station, or you can walk the green trail. I recommend walking since it is short and in the jungle. If you take the train you have to get off at the second station and wait in line again to go up to the Diablo trail. Once at the top you walk along the top of the falls on metal pathways. Pretty short walk with an amazing end result. You stand right on the top of the largest fall and see how the earth just opens up. The water is so powerful that there is mist constantly so be prepared to get just a little wet. Nothing terrible. Along the walk we saw turtles sunbathing on the rocks and birds with crazy eyebrows in the trees.

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Once we were done with that trail we walked down to do the Circuito Superior. Okay so pay attention to the signs here because this is the only path that is one way. We did not see the signs right away, and entered through the exit, and then on the way back we saw so many signs saying do not enter. We did anyways since we needed to do the whole loop, but to save yourself the embarrassment just go the right way. This trail was along the top of the rest of the falls. I believe there were 10 waterfalls to see here. Could be more than that, and there are plenty of lookout spots to take photos.

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After that we did the Circuito Inferior, which I think was my favorite. This loop takes you to the bottom of the falls so it is where you really can see the vast size of it all. Absolutely breathtaking. I still cannot get over how beautiful nature can be. Get ready for stairs on this trail, because there are plenty. On this loop you can also walk down to the dock to either go over to the island (free) or pay for the speedboat that goes right under the falls. We did not do the speedboat but everyone who got off was drenched afterwards. We did take the free boat over to the island and apparently got really lucky because it was open. There was a nice little sandy beach and then off to the right a very steep stairway to the top of the island. This also was amazing because you could see all the falls at a new angle, sort of the middle. Not the top and not the bottom. There were also tons of giant birds that lived on the island that were good at posing for photos.

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Once we were done with the island we were pooped. Tons of walking so we decided to call it a day. So we arrived around 9:30 and left around 5.

 

On our second day (which was 50% off) we did the last walk, which was slightly hidden, called Sendero Macuco. Now if you are only going for one day and don’t feel like rushing through everything, this would be the one to skip. This was the least attended to trail, meaning it was a dirt road and there were hardly any people. The walk was the longest one, even though on the map it looks to be the shortest. (That is another thing, whoever made the map, didn’t get measurements very accurate, but at least it gets the idea across.) So the walk was about 4 miles round trip, and it was to the smallest out-of-the-way waterfall. I did enjoy how you are very much in the jungle though. We came across plenty of tarantulas just hanging out on the path, so be carful and look down.

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After that hike we decided to go back to the island to just hang out and enjoy the sun, and that is when we discovered that the water had risen so much that there was no beach and the island was closed. Apparently that is normal, and the day before the water was actually low so we got very lucky to check it out. Who knew?

 

So the falls are not the only attraction at the park. There is also the wildlife. As mentioned before we saw turtles, birds, and tarantulas but there are also deer, toucans, monkeys and coatis. The coatis are raccoon type animals and they are everywhere. Seriously everywhere. Absolutely adorable, but don’t let that fool you. They will try very hard to steal your food, and can get aggressive in the process. We saw one actually jump on this guys bag to get to his food. He didn’t get hurt, but the park has signs of a nasty bite to remind people to be carful. The monkeys were too funny too because they would also try to steal your food, but from the trees instead of the ground. One lady was eating an empanada and a monkey stole it right out of her hand. I got a million photos of the monkeys and coatis, and was so happy since I had never experienced that before.

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Okay so here is a good tip. I recommend packing your own lunch. I know I just said the animals try to steal it, but the park also tries to steal your money. Just kidding, but the food is very overpriced for being basic. They were selling sandwiches for $90 pesos and sodas for $40! They are normally $15. Plus if you pack your own lunch you can eat anywhere on the trails instead of at the “food court.” I still recommend going to that area because that is where we saw the monkeys.

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On our two days in the park we lucked out with weather as well. Bright sunny days that were not too hot and not too cold. I got away with wearing leggings, a t-shirt and a light sweater with no problem. Didn’t feel the need to use sunscreen, but May is also fall here so if you go in the summer it will be a lot hotter and wear protection. I also wore my sandals and was very happy with this choice. Everyone wears tennis shoes, but I felt my feet would get too hot. If you do decide to wear flip flops, make sure they are secure because some parts of the paths can become slippery.

So Iguazu falls are amazing and I really hope you decide to go. Photos do not do the place justice. You need to go there and experience the raw natural power yourself. Such amazing energy. The park is very well maintained and clean with trash and compost bins everywhere for easy access and the paths were either stone or metal, easy for anyone to walk on. The town is not very attractive though so don’t get your hopes up for that. I am so happy that I got to experience this in my lifetime, and it was so perfect that I do not think I would go again, so I wont ruin the memory.

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Cool tree I found on the green trail.

Please let me know what you think if you end up going.

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Nicole

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