Located in both Argentina and Brazil, Iguazú and Iguaçu national parks are considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. These sister parks preserve what remains of the sub-tropical Interior Atlantic Forest and comprise a system of 275 waterfalls, cataracts, and rapids. Over 2,000 species of plants are found within the parks alongside 400 species of birds and close to 80 mammals. Both parks are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are the highlights of Iguazú National Park, Argentina, where you will have the closest encounters with the falls.
Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo) is the star of Iguazú Falls. Crashing down from a height of 82 meters (269 feet), this colossal waterfall has an average flow of 1,800 cubic meters per second – which would fill 36 Olympic swimming pools in less than 60 seconds. A walkway connects the Ecological Train Station with a viewing platform that enables visitors to stand paces from the falls. This is a fully sensory experience; be prepared to get a little damp and be amazed by the roar of the cascades.
Other than getting a close look at the Devil’s Throat, Iguazú National Park is laid out with walking trails that bring you varying perspectives of the cascades and their rainbows. The Lower Walk traverses the basins of the Bosetti, Lanusse, Alvar Núñez, Chico Alférez, and Dos Hermanos waterfalls. Standing so close to the spray is an intimate experience – sometimes shared with resident coatis who call the jungle home!
In contrast, the Upper Walk crosses the tops of the waterfalls and provides panoramic lookouts over the balconies and treetops. In addition to surveying the falls mentioned previously from above, you will visit the second-largest waterfall in the park, San Martin Falls. While it is possible to explore these three walking trails over the course of one day, many travelers opt to spend two leisurely days at Iguazú National Park.
One of the most phenomenal things to do at Iguazú National Park is to partake in the Full Moon Walk. This occurs five nights per month when the moon shines at its brightest. After riding the tourist train to Garganta del Diablo Station, you will follow the moonlit footbridge over the Upper Iguazú River. Silvered by the natural reflection of the full moon, the mantle is at its most surreal.
Weaving its way through the thickest part of the jungle, the Macuco Trail is an opportunity to spot wildlife including toucans and monkeys that dwell in Iguazú. This is a flat, easy-to-follow hiking trail that takes around 3 hours to complete. Culminating at the Arrechea Falls, the Macuco Trail is an overlooked wonder in Iguazú National Park.
Other than exploring Iguazú National Park on foot, you may also visit the base of the falls by speedboat. There are services that spare you from getting drenched from the powerful water while other routes take you heart-stoppingly close to the tumbles. Eco Iguassu Adventure is the main provider with options to suit different preferences.
It is possible to visit Iguaçu National Park in Brazil by taking a bus over the border as a day trip from Puerto Iguazú. Contact me to make arrangements to visit these exceptional national parks and plan your bespoke itinerary in Argentina or Brazil.