Iguazu Falls – research

I am about to embark on my first trip to Argentina. Before every trip I do a lot of research. Below are my findings on Iguazu Falls. Once we embark on our trip I will be posting blogs on the results. To see my initial blog on Buenos Aires look at the previous posts, to pre-review will be on Mendoza so stay tuned if you like the first two pre-reviews.

Iguazu Falls are right on the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Two cities host most of the hotels and restaurants around the falls, Foz Do Iguazu (Brazil) and Puerto Iguazu (Argentina). This pre-review will assume that the traveler is coming from Buenos Aires.

Getting there – There are three ways to get to Iguazu Falls, first is by plane, second by car and third by boat. Obviously by plane is the quickest and the most expensive. LAN Airlines (www.lan.com) and Aerolíneas Argentinas (www.aerolineas.com.ar) are probably your best bet for flying to Puerto Iguazu, expect to pay around $300 round trip.

The second method is to drive or hire a private car. The distance from Buenos Aires to Iguazu is about 750 miles. There is some beautiful countryside and is certainly a more relaxed way to go if you have the time.

Third and final and maybe the most beautiful way to go is by boat. High recommended by the Inside Guide to Argentina but I searched for this options but did not find much online it suggested that you contact Terra Australis – Buenos Aires tel: 4326-1196.

 Hotels –

On each side of the falls there is only one hotel that resides within the park, the Sheraton ($234 per night) on the Argentinean side and the Cataratas ($340 per night, 192 reviews 83 excellent, note there are two hotels with this name, make sure you are making a reservation at the right hotel) on the Brazilian side. There are a small number of hotels that met my criteria for our time at Iguazu Falls 

Hotel Power Rating Price per night * Country Reviews
Sheraton 10 $234 Argentina 358 reviews 31% excellent
Loi Suites 9 $217 Argentina 35 reviews 54% excellent
Los Troncos B&B 15 $100 Argentina 84 reviews 86% excellent
Secret Garden 16 $100 Argentina 263 reviews 90% excellent
Cataratas 9 $340 Brazil 192 reviews 43% excellent
Mabu Thermas and Resort 7 $143 Brazil 35 reviews 42% excellent

 * Note the prices above are based on a May date which is low season in the area and prices will vary based on the time of year. Reviews come from Trip Advisor.

We chose the Secret Garden based on Power Rating and it received the 2010 Travelers Choice Award. Many of the reviews loved the B&B because of the charm and owner, John. I’m not a big fan of large convention/chain hotels, although I seriously considered the Sheraton since it is inside the park.

Most reviews I have read say that the majority of the falls and the best up close views come from the Argentinean side but the Brazilian side does have a couple of sweeping views particularly of the Devils Throat. Sounds like you can cover both sides in a day to a day and a half. If you want to go into Brazil you should get your visa early, fill out form at https://scedv.serpro.gov.br, plan to spend some time crossing the border and pay a visa fee of $130 per person if you are a US citizen (note many countries have raised their visa rate for US citizens because the US raised it rate for other foreigners).

Most people feel the “jungle safari” train is a waste of time but the Macuco boat tour is well worth it but be ready to get wet. Waterproof camera bags are provided.

Many people recommended hiring a driver to get around rather than renting a car. A driver can act as a tour guide, will help you cut through the language barrier and you won’t waste time looking for things. Be careful to select a good driver and understand that most drivers are going to take you to restaurants or souvenir shops that they get a kickback from, so get suggestions for both of these from independent sources or make sure you ask the driver if he/she is getting compensated from vendors.

Here are a couple restaurants that I have seen really good recommendations for:  

Aqva Restaurant – Puerto Igauzu

The Brazilian park has an excellent restaurant overlooking the best view of the grand falls