I know TLC told us that we shouldn’t go chasing waterfalls, but I bet you anything Chilli, Left Eye and T-Boz have never seen the Iguazu Falls in Argentina. If so, they would never “stick to the rivers and the lakes that they were used to”. Instead they would be taking speed boats under massive water avalanches, zip-cording through the jungle and repelling blindly off giant cliffs.
These waterfalls are ridiculous. There is no doubt why they’re considered one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. Seeing the incredible magnitude of these bad boys almost makes me feel sorry for Niagara. Don’t get me wrong, I love Niagara Falls, I grew up with them virtually in my backyard. They have been a great excuse to cross into Canada between ages 19 and 21 and they’ve provided a wonderful canvas for my father to entertain when he’d come visit. Both are great for their own reasons, but both are completely different.
Niagara Falls is developed and commercialized. Iguazu Falls is… jungle. You drive down a busy street filled with souvenir shops and restaurants to see a few viewpoints of the Niagara Falls. You walk down a dirt path lined with exotic birds and plants to see a million different prospectives of the Igauzu Falls. The pictures tell the story.
If done right, I think you need one solid day to cover the falls and surrounding area. This is how my dad and I managed to experience the best Iguazu Falls had to offer in only one long, amazing day (and full moon walk of Iguazu Falls at night).
1. The Brazilian Side: I would have had to pay $100+ dollars to get a VISA just to get a different prospective of the falls. The Brazil side of Iguazu Falls gives you a viewpoint from above which is great, but if you have limited time and money like us, the Argentina side is more than sufficient.
2. Take A Morning Hike: This wakes you up and gets you in jungle spirit. Because the Sheraton Hotel is already located on the Park’s premise we were able to wake up, walk through the lobby and right to the trail leading down to the falls. It was a beautiful 20-minute walk through the forest and over narrow bridges down to the river’s edge. We were joined throughout the walk by one of the park’s most popular resident, the raccoon like Coati, who didn’t seem impressed it was our first time seeing the falls.
2. A.D.D. Friendly Boat Tour: There are two options when choosing a boat tour around the falls. The first starts with a long 4×4 ride through the jungle before you get on a boat and tour the falls. The second is a fast & furious, 10-minute, A.D.D friendly adventure that skips everything but getting you completely soaked. Although it was $45 pesos a pop for the short trip, we took the advice of other travelers and chose the second option. It was perfect. They pick you up in this small, 20-person life raft and take off straight towards one end of the falls. Once in close range, the driver yells “photos, photos, photos” and you have a few moments to snap your best shots. Seconds later he instructs us to pack everything back into the waterproof bags as he positions the boat for power wash. Next thing you know the boat lunges forward and suddenly you’re getting dumped on by the amazing force of the water. The boat zips in and out, each time going further and further into the falls. Just when we thought the shower was over the driver speeds off to the other canal of the falls to rinse and repeat. We emerge laughing, drenched and relieved. It was the perfect way to see the falls up close and personal. The only thing that sucked was walking back up the hotel in our soaking wet clothes and the fact that I’ll never look at the Maid of the Mist the same way again.
3. Fly through the Jungle: Once we saw the falls we wanted to get out and cruise around the jungle a bit so we headed out on a hiking, repelling and zip-lining tour. We were picked up in a giant, window-less, 4×4 truck/bus and taken a few miles into the forest. From there we hiked a bit until we reached a giant cliff where we were strapped up with rappelling gear and told to jump our way down. I’m not going to lie, it scared me a bit at first because you were just supposed to drop off this ledge with only a cord supporting you. Fortunately there was a 9-year old girl who went before me to make sure everything was okay. After successfully descending the cliff we hiked our way to this giant tree house looking spot in the middle of nowhere. From there we all climbed up a ridiculously unsteady ladder, clipped ourselves into a zip-line and flew through the forest. There were 4 different towers along the way where you unstrapped from one wire and connected to another. On one of the towers you had to climb 15 feet up this tree with nothing more than a few pieces of wood stuck in a tree. Oh yeah and you were about 50 feet off the ground when doing it. Again, the little girl went first without concern so I had to follow. After harnessing my inner Tarzan we did some more hiking along these beautiful secluded rivers and waterfalls as we made our way back to the truck. It was an incredible day that was capped off by getting to see some of the villages and indigenous people that inhabit Iguazu.
4. Puerto Iguazu: After a much needed siesta we headed downtown to Puerto Iguazu for some dinner and cocktails. The best way to cap off a long day of bathing in waterfalls and swinging through the jungle is dancing it up at the Cuba Libre Nightclub.
We turned in late and woke up early to catch our flight back to Buenos Aires. It was a day and a half in paradise that I can tell all my friends about while drinking beer and playing video games at Boston Pizza while over looking the Niagara Falls.
View all the photos of Iguazu Falls Argentina side
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Thanks for all of the great information. Will definitely use this for my upcoming trip. What company did you go zip lining with? Thanks!