Are you thinking about visiting the Iguassu Falls but not sure when it is best to go or which side, the Brazilian or the Argentinian, you will enjoy most? Here I have a comparison drawn from my own experiences.
When to go? From a climate point of view… The Iguassu Falls lie in the Southern Hemisphere on the border with Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Its subtropical climate offers rainfall all year round with the highest precipitation during spring and summer months (October to March), resulting into a spectacular flow of water and tremendous sound. Clear skies prevail from mid-November to mid-May, when the falls and the green scenery will offer their best colour contrast with the blue skies. Visibility will be at its best, guaranteeing the wonder of the Falls to your eyes and your camera lens! However, summer is also the hottest season with temperatures above 30°C, so be ready to sweat. And if you are like me, a mosquito-magnet, be ready to also scratch as mosquito season is at its peak! But hey, a little sacrifice for such a Nature Wonder is well worth it! If you prefer milder temperatures (around the lower 20s °C), go for mid-May to September, knowing you might encounter more cloudy skies. Am I telling you to visit the Falls in summer then? From a climate point of view, yes! But there are other factors to consider.
From a wide range of factors point of view… Summer season implies superlative adjectives not only for climate but also for tourism masses, for prices, for waiting times on queues, for longer daylight and for opportunities to enjoy a nice outdoors “churrasco” or “asado” (the Portuguese and Argentinian word for BBQ). Wintertime is less crowded, giving you more time to take your photos as not many people are queuing behind you to click their cameras. Also, winter sets a better surrounding and mood to drink and enjoy a good Argentinian Red wine. You need to outweigh the goods and bads and make your pick! I’ve been twice, in January and July, and both times I was mesmerized at the gorgeousness of Nature, being a complete experience to my senses!
Which side to visit? Because the Brazilian and Argentinian sides are completely different, a visit to both sides of the Park is really a must. While Brazil offers a spectacular front-view of the numerous cascades and waterfalls integrated into the green forest curtain, Argentina offers the visitor to be inside it. My recommendation is to start your visit in the Brazilian side to get an idea of the extension of the park and get your senses ready for what is to come. You walk along the designated view trail for that awe feeling; take an adventurous boat tour to the “Cachoeira dos Mosqueteiros” (a waterfall) and walk along the “Devil’s Throat” path to experience the vast amount of energy poured down the falls; and if you are not afraid of heights, hop on an helicopter to get the view from the skies. After the first exciting day, go back to the hotel and enjoy your rest to be fit for the second part. The next day, visit the Argentinian side. For me it is the juicy cherry on top of the cake, what makes one understand why the fuzz about this Nature Wonder. Start with the Devil’s Throat trail over the calmed-in-appearance- river waters that suddenly pick up speed as the one-kilometre trail starts coming to an end. You start feeling the moist on your face, the ferocious water sound masks the bird singing and then your eyes see the brown water turn into a dynamic white foam mass: THE FALL is there!! All your senses are fully awake, feeling that show of movement, energy and exuberance. Everyone is clicking pictures, trying to get the best shots possible, but none compares to what your own eyes and brain captures. Enjoy that moment because for sure you will never forget it. Once you have decided to leave the Devil’s Throat platform (you won’t want to!), head for the Upper and Lower Trails. If you only have time for one, I recommend the Upper as it is shorter in length, easy to walk without any steps in the way and allows you to be at the top and inside of that green forest curtain you saw the day before from the Brazilian side. It is beautiful. It is your opportunity to be inside the rainbow! 🙂
The Exploring Berry Traveling Tips…
- Money: Make sure you have Argentinian Pesos when you reach the Argentinian side of the park, as they do not accept any other currency or credit cards. There is no money exchange office at the park. Exchange earlier!
- Personal Documents: Nobody ever told me and I suffered it. So write down! If you are going to cross the Brazil-Argentina border (which most likely you will), take with you: the passport, the Immigration form filled in upon arrival in the country (a little white paper) and printed copies of both your hotel booking and your flight ticket out of Brazil/Argentina back to your home country or next destination.
- Clothes: Regardless of summer or winter, take a light rainy poncho that covers you to your ankles with you. If not, purchase one inside the park. You will need it if you do not want to get SOAKED.
- Bring your photo camera with plenty of memory space on your SD card, your powerful lenses, your tripod…anything you want. This is a photo-shooting trip. But most important of all: bring a clear waterproof bag (or plastic bag without any holes!) to cover your camera when near the Devil’s Throat, otherwise say bye-bye to your expensive toys.
- Park Entry Tickets: These can be purchased at the park ticket office. For a winter visit, this is ok. For a summer visit, it is better to purchase them online or through a tour operator offering VIP entry so you can avoid the long queues. Also, if you are a resident of MERCOSUR, bring a proof of ID or residency card as you get a discount!
I hope to have helped you plan your trip better and hopefully you are now eager to travel to The Iguassu Falls!!!
Brazilian Side Photos: (Starting with the front-view of the Iguassu Falls, the boat ride to the falls, the Devil’s Throat passage from above and the last photo shows both sides the Brazil and the Argentinian in the distance)
Argentinian Side Photos: (starting with the trail to the Devil’s Throat, the Devil’s Throat, The Upper and Lower Trail)