By Allie Almario
If you’re heading through Buenos Aires, Argentina, consider one of our most popular extensions – Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfalls (also referred to as cataracts) in the world and aptly named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Bordered by Argentina on one side and Brazil on the other, this spectacular natural wonder is a great option if you have an extra three or so days on your itinerary. More than one million visitors enter the national parks each year, so plan your trip carefully to avoid crowds.
ABOUT THE FALLS
Its geographic location spans across Argentina’s province of Misiones and Brazil’s state of Parana. It stretches across nearly 2 miles across in width and has at least 275 separate waterfalls, some as high as nearly 300 feet tall. Its raging waters fall into the Parana River.
According to CNN, “Iguazu Falls is nearly twice as tall as Niagara Falls and rivaled only by Zambia and Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls”, which is taller at 354 feet.
From the air, Iguazu is shaped like a reverse letter “J.”
BRAZIL VS. ARGENTINA – WHICH SIDE IS BETTER?
From the Argentina side, most experts say you can get better, up-close encounters with the waterfalls. You can have views from above the cataracts. We recommend stopping by Devil’s Throat (the tallest waterfalls) in the afternoon to avoid sun glare. This side of Iguazu contains the majority of waterfalls.
From the Brazil side, the view is often considered more panoramic. Guides tell photographers the best time to visit is in the morning on a clear day, due to the lighting on the water. Here 95% of the Iguazu River basin lies in Brazilian territory, but only has 20% of the falls.
HOW TO GET TO IGUAZU FALLS
You’ll need to fly in from Buenos Aires into Iguazu (airport code IGR); flight time from there is just under two hours. Most likely you’ll fly from the domestic airport in the Palermo area of Buenos Aires, the Jorge Newbery Airport (code AEP).
PRO TIP: The city’s domestic airport is across the city from the international airport, so if you are making connecting flights, allow at least five hours between flights. You’ll need time to exit out of customs and immigration out of the Ezeiza International Airport (EZE), then consider city traffic as you head towards Palermo where the other airport (AEP) is located.
DO U.S. CITIZENS NEED A VISA?
Not if you are staying on the Argentina side.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO IGUAZU FALLS?
Although it’s a year-round destination, the weather is quite pleasant during the shoulder seasons of February to April or July through October. The parks aren’t too crowded and the weather is mild.