Iguazu Falls / Iguassu Falls

Puerto Iguazu / Foz do Iguassu / Iguazu Falls National Park, Misiones / Parana, Argentina / Brazil

About Iguazu Falls / Iguassu Falls

Hiking Distance: up to 8km total (for all the catwalks and trails by the falls)
Suggested Time: at least a day

Date first visited: 2007-08-31
Date last visited: 2007-09-02

Waterfall Latitude: -25.69349
Waterfall Longitude: -54.43623

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Iguazu Falls (or more accurately Iguazú Falls) is the Spanish name for this mammoth waterfall. You might also see it referred to as Iguassu Falls or Iguaçu Falls if you favor the portugese name. Moreover, you might also see it referred to as Yguazú Falls, which I believe is native Guaraní. In fact, the meaning of the name (originally Guaraní) is said to roughly translate to “big water.” The photo you see at the top of this page certainly attests to its grand nature.

But no matter how you spell or say its name, we have to say that it is indeed a crazy waterfall.

How crazy, you might ask?

Consider a network of 275 different waterfalls spanning an area 3km wide (2km of which is the upper rim of the waterfall) during its normal flow of around 1000 cubic meters per second. It is such a natural wonder that UNESCO designated the falls as a World Heritage Area in 1986.

The immense scale of Iguazu Falls
Yet as a result of its grandeur, Julie and I were so overwhelmed with the raw human emotion of excitement and wonder during our visit that even the implications of these gaudy numbers seem to be dwarfed. Indeed, it’s one of those waterfalls that you just have to experience for yourself!

Sitting on the Iguazú River, it is shared by Argentina and Brazil as both countries are separated by the river. Catwalks are built on both sides providing closer (often times mistier and wetter) views of the great waterfall. Paraguay is also near the falls so this region is often referred to as the Triple Frontier.

From what we could tell, during normal flow, the Iguazu River consists of two main parts. These components are the Devil’s Throat section and what I’m calling the Argentina section.

Looking into the Devil’s Throat from the Brazilian side
The part of Iguazu Falls with the largest volume of water is the narrow horseshoe of the Devil’s Throat (La Garganta del Diablo). This is the portion of the falls that is split between Argentina and Brazil. It is also the most recognizable and powerful section of this world attraction.

The Argentina section is the part containing numerous segmented waterfalls as a result of islands (the largest of which is the San Martin Island, or La Isla San Martín) splitting up the river. And as suggested by the name I made up for this part, all of these islands are on the Argentina side.

Most of these segmented waterfalls and cascades have names. Just to give you an idea of how many named waterfalls make up this Argentina section, we’ve identified signs pointing out Salto San Martín, Salto Eva, Salto Adán, Salto Bossetti (very impressive), Salto Dos Hermanas, Salto Alvar Nuñez, Salto Guardaparque Bernabé Mendez, Salto Mbigua, Salto Chico, Salto Rivadavía, Salto Escondido, and Salto Lanusse. I’m sure there are others we didn’t even mention.

Catwalks giving us the ability to get close to these waterfalls
As far as we were concerned, what made this mega waterfall so special was that it felt like it was in Nature where it belonged. Sure the catwalks and jet boat tours (along with Brazilian helicopters) could take away from the Nature. However, it was certainly more natural than one of the rival waterfalls like say Niagara Falls, where it could be argued that it resulted in a Frankenstein-like mix of Las Vegas and natural world wonder.

Still with that being said, there was certainly no shortage of activities to do here besides walking the catwalks and soaking in the overlooks. Julie and I have engaged in a couple of of these excursions (including a thrilling boat ride). We’ve discussed our accounts of such excursions in a separate write-up, which you can read about here.

Speaking of catwalks, they afforded us various ways to view and experience Iguazu Falls. Argentina had most of the catwalks while Brazil’s walks mostly focused on panoramas of the Argentinean side as well as closeups of the thunderous Devil’s Throat. We spent a good deal of time walking the main catwalk trails, which were called Paseo Superior (the upper catwalks) and Paseo Inferior (the lower catwalks). We even caught a short train ride that took us to a catwalk to the brink of Devil’s Throat (known as El Paseo de La Garganta del Diablo). On the last day of our visit, we had some limited time exploring the catwalks and trails on San Martin Island after taking a short boat ride.

A closeup look at some of the waterfalls on the Argentina side
Since we were based on the Argentina side during our three day visit, we gave ourselves enough time to spend at least a half-day visiting the Brazil side. It was here that we got to look across the Iguazu River while also getting a closer and more frontal look at the turbulent and impressive Devil’s Throat.

Perhaps, you may have a preference on which side to spend most of your visit or to stay. Since Julie and I have been to both sides, we’ve documented our experiences and made an evaluation of the two sides. Your can read more about our in-depth comparison of the Argentina side versus the Brazil side here.

And with all this going on, we even saw some wildlife such as the banded-tailed coaties (they seemed to have become accustomed to being fed or digging for trash), birds like various species of parrot and toucans, and butterflies of many different colors. I understand that there are even predatory cats like the Jaguar as well as the Puma and Ocelot though I’d imagine sightings of these majestic lords of the jungle would be pretty rare.

Throughout the year, Iguazu Falls can be seen in various states depending on its waterflow as well as how the seasons can affect its surroundings. We made an attempt to summarize our findings in this writeup, which you can get to by clicking here.

Indeed there is much to say about Iguazu Falls, and what we’ve managed to do here merely scratched the surface of the many ways to experience the place. Heck, if the timing’s right, you could even do special tours of the falls by moonlight (something I wish we could’ve done)! Check out the photos and videos below as well as the links to our other write-ups and get ready to experience our favorite waterfall in the world!


There are many ways of getting to Iguazu Falls. We’ve composed a write-up of our accounts of how we managed to get to the falls, which you can access by clicking here.

And at least for foreign visitors like us, we also wrote up a guide detailing the logistics of how we managed to handle some of the less glamorous aspects of enabling a visit to the falls such as Visas, money changing, etc., which you can read about here.

Finally, for a bit of geographical context, the closest town on the Argentina side is Puerto Iguazú (within walking distance or a short shuttle to the falls). It’s roughly a 6.5-hour flight from Buenos Aires. On the Brazil side, the nearest town is Foz do Iguaçu, which is about a two-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro or 90-minute flight from São Paulo.

Find A Place To Stay

Sweep of the turbulent Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo) as seen from the Argentina side

Sweep of the waterfall starting from the Brazilian side beginning from Isla San Martin and moving towards the Devi's Throat (Garganta del Diablo).

View from the top of the observation tower on the Brazilian side

Sweep of the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls as seen from La Isla San Martin

Tagged with: puerto iguazu, foz do iguassu, foz do iguacu, misiones, parana, argentina, brazil, paraguay, triple frontier, waterfall, top 10

Visitor Comments:

Got something you'd like to share or say to keep the conversation going? Feel free to leave a comment below...

After hours visiting only possible in Brazil November 1, 2016 7:00 pm by Rod H - You can stay in an expensive hotel within the national park on the Brazil side which gives you unlimited access to the falls after the tourist busses stop running. As such, you can get excellent sunrise and sunset photos, something that is not possible on the Argentina side. ...Read More
UK Visa Not Required May 4, 2016 12:44 am by Anthony Tobin - we visited Igassu falls last year we were in awe of the natural beauty and splendor of both sides it was spectacular and we would not have missed the experience it is also worthwhile noting that for UK a visa is not required for ether brazil or argentina so I would wholy recommend a visit ...Read More
Argentina side now has Visa fee for US Citizens September 25, 2015 1:56 am by Paul - The Argentina government requires a $160 reciprocity fee payment for a Tourist Visa if you're a US Citizen. So the cost difference between Brazil and Argentina is no longer there. Here's a link to the information concerning the Brazil Visa fees (this link is from the US Embassy website). You'll see it's now the same… ...Read More
Making Niagara Look LIke A Cup Of Water September 4, 2014 7:37 pm by Sylvia Haffke - Iguazu Falls made Niagara look like a cup of water. Niagara is great, but Iguazu was unbelievable. Great experiences and the boat ride into the falls was a thrill of a life time (even though, at one point, I thought I might drown - made the mistake of opening my mouth to breath in). And… ...Read More
Awesome February 28, 2012 5:12 am by Nazeer - Definitely the most beautiful waterfall in the world. Only thing is that should open from 6am because to view in de morning would be good ...Read More
1999 Visit April 22, 2010 1:19 am by B. West - We visited the falls in 1999 traveling from Sao Paulo to Foz du Iguazu. I can't wait to return since it was beyond amazing!!! Our trip was cut short due to flooding in Sao Paulo which delayed our flight 10 hours and took a day of sightseeing from us . . . but we made… ...Read More
Clueless Tourist – Iguacu Falls January 20, 2010 6:25 pm by Robin - The first time I saw Iquacu Falls was from a small jet in 1985. It was my first trip to South America and shamefully I did not know of the Falls. We were flying over a muddy river for a while and it began to appear like a delta...it was splitting into fingers. Then the… ...Read More
More Than Worth The Trip January 10, 2010 9:49 pm by World Traveler - On our way from USA to Antarctica we purposely made a stop at the Iquazu Falls on the advice of a friend - and it was MORE than worth the trip! We live outside of Buffalo, NY so have been to the Niagara Falls any number of times. I have seen marvelous waterfalls in Iceland,… ...Read More
The Most Amazing Thing (Iguassu Falls) November 4, 2009 4:24 am by Ana - I was there when I was 17... and it was the most amazing thing I`ve ever seen in this world!!!! they are really great and deserve to be on the top!!! I was on both side... and Brazil rocks!!!! ...Read More
Iguazu Falls – Fee to Cross from Argentina to Brazil October 5, 2009 4:08 pm by Richard Marshner - It should be noted that there is a $100 fee to cross from Argentina to Brazil. If you hire a taxi and guide in Puerto Iguacu he might be able to get you over without this payment. Both sides are different and are worth seeing. ...Read More
Retired Medical Missionary December 23, 2008 6:10 am by Marion - I have been twice to Iguassu and can say without a doubt it is the most beautiful and exciting Falls to visit that I have ever seen. It is easily accessible by place to the City of Foz do Iquassu and can be viewed from several vantage points...my favorite was when we went up river… ...Read More

Share your thoughts about what you've read on this page

You must be logged in to submit content. Refresh this page after you have logged in.

Visitor Reviews of this Waterfall:

If you have a waterfall story or write-up that you'd like to share, feel free to click the button below and fill out the form...

“Challenges and solutions going from Paraguay to Iguazu falls” June 3, 2015 8:54 pm by Darius - “Iguazu Falls” is one of most beautiful places in the world. This wonderful place is located near “Tres Fronteras” where Iguazu River enters river of Parana and national borders of Argentina, Basil and Paraguay comes together. Visitors can enjoy amazing views from Argentinian or Brazilian sides. Unfortunately form Paraguayan side falls cannot be seen. Ones… ...Read More
I love this place (Iguazu Falls) April 21, 2015 3:59 pm by Saeed - Here are some pictures from my trip to brasil and Iguazu Falls in dec.2012 ...Read More
Iguazu Falls in Slow Exposure July 19, 2011 9:18 am by Andrew Waddington - Last January I was at Iguazu Falls on both the Argentine side and the Brazilian side. Annoyingly the falls open at something like 10.00am way too late for a photographer. And they close before sunset. I decided to sneakily stay in overnight and get a morning shot from one of the most famous locations. The… ...Read More
The most awesome place I have ever been! November 20, 2010 6:15 am by SandyST - I visited Iguazu Falls the first time back in 1978. I stayed in a hostel that was just outside the park where international travelers stayed - no electricity and no plumbing in the rooms. The falls were so fantastic that I went back another three times, staying at the same hostel. The natural beauty is… ...Read More
Iguazu Falls – Exceeds Expectations October 9, 2010 6:17 pm by Gary - I visited Iguazu Falls in 2003 and, based upon what I had read and what I had been told, I had high expectations for the falls. That said, after getting off of the bus, while I was walking to the falls, I heard a tremendous roar of the water. I got chills, the roar of… ...Read More
Most Amazing Waterfall! Iguazu Falls May 15, 2010 3:52 pm by Joseph Hollick - I visited Iguazu Falls in February 2010 for two days staying at the Sheraton Hotel in the Park on the Argentina side. Two days was not long enough as I did not make it to the Brazil side. We took a boat trip into the bottom of the falls thinking that it would be like… ...Read More

Have you been to a waterfall? Submit a write-up/review and share your experiences or impressions

Review A Waterfall

Nearest Waterfalls

The Waterfaller Newsletter

The Waterfaller Newsletter is where we curate the wealth of information on the World of Waterfalls website and deliver it to you in bite-sized chunks in your email inbox. You'll also get exclusive content like...

  • Waterfall Wednesdays
  • Insider Tips
  • User-submitted Waterfall Write-up of the Month
  • and the latest news and updates both within the website as well as around the wonderful world of waterfalls

How To Build A Profitable Travel Blog In 4 Steps