|Subject: Re: Iguazu Falls, Argentina + Brazil|
Hi, Iīve recently been to Iguazú on both sides so I can give you
updated information about the area.
Regarding Iguazu falls, you have two options: you can stay on the brazilian side or the argentine side. Please bear in mind that the Brazilian government requires that Americans apply for a visa to enter their country. I know that there are several other countries that need to apply for a visa in order to enter Brazil. Even if it is for a couple of hours, in case you just want to see the falls, the visa is needed. I have heard of people who paid a cab driver to take them to the brazilian side without having a visa, but I strongly donīt recommend that because you are taking a big risk. In case something happens to you, the brazilian government may not be responsible and there wonīt be any records at the inmigration office that you entered the country.
I stayed on the Brazilian side (Foz do Iguassu) but I went to Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) also. Both cities are totally different: the former is big, it has a population of around 300,000 inhabitants, and its main income is commerce (not necessarily tourism, as there is a lot of smuggling of goods with Ciudad del Este in Paraguay). The latter is small, it has around 30,000 inhabitants and its main -and only- income is tourism.
Most of the hotels in Foz are located away from the downtown area, thus making it necessary to take a cab (which are not very cheap) unless you want to travel by regular bus -which is what I did. One bad thing about Foz is that local people say it is dangerous, and that you are not supposed to go out after 6 pm. Even buses stop at 8 pm. Instead, Puerto Iguazu is very safe and you can perfectly wander around at midnight and nothing will happen to you.
As for prices, eating out in Foz is very cheap and the hotels are also cheaper. But be careful because some hotels charge additional fees for the use of sauna, game room, etc. and they have incredibly high fees for internet and phone.
If you want to see both sides of the falls, you need at least two days (one for each). I took a guided tour on my first day at the argentine national park, and I visited several circuits: the upper, the lower and the Devilīs throat. This requires one full day.There are two more circuits which are not included in the tours: San Martin Island and Macuco Trail. So I returned to the park on the next day and did those circuits on my own, because I wanted to stroll around the whole park and get to know it as much as possible.
The National Park on the argentine side is more extense and you will have to walk a lot, but believe me, it is worth.
The Brazilian park is much smaller (I mean, the part that people can visit) and it has one single circuit. You need half a day to visit it. The main difference between the view from both parks is that the view from Brazil is more panoramic, while in Argentina you are much closer to the falls, and you have more possibilities of walking and being in touch with nature.
I like the Argentine side much more, and of course , I am Argentinian and I love my country, but apart from this, I enjoyed much more the argentine side because there is more to see and do.
You donīt need a guided tour unless you want to learn more about the parks, the fauna and flora, etc. At the entrance of the argentine park you will be given a map with all the circuits , including the one in Brazil, so you can just follow the paths. There are also specialized guides at the entrance who will be able to help you.
I have had clients who stayed for one night only and they took a private guide to go to both sides. Unless you are short of time, I recommend three nights. The argentine side, as I said before, has several circuits, so you will need two days to cover all of them. The Macuco trail is beautiful, itīs a trail in the middle of the rainforest where you can find lots of monkeys as well as other animals (like snakes, spiders, huge ants, birds, etc.) and at the end of it there are different ways you can take: one will lead you to the Macuco port, where you can take a motorboat (additional fee) , go along Iguazu river and then get totally drenched by being almost taken under a fall. The other way takes you above a small fall called ARRECHEA (you will be literally above the fall) and the other one takes you to the POZON, which is like a pool where this ARRECHEA fall ends, and where you can swim if you want (it looks like The blue lagoon).
Cintia Buenos Aires,Argentina