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36 hours at Igauzu Falls - Argentina & Brazil - Trip report

36 hours at Igauzu Falls - Argentina & Brazil - Trip report

Feb 22nd, 2018, 12:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 105
36 hours at Igauzu Falls - Argentina & Brazil - Trip report

We just finished our visit to the spectacular falls. We were quite happy with the trip - so wanted to pass along our thoughts/tips.

We were leaving from the Alvear Palace for a 6:15 AM flight out of EZE on Aerolineas. ( Contrary to what the guidebooks indicate- all of our internal Argentinean flights are out of EZE with the exception of our Mendoza flight. )We had a 3:30 AM wakeup call- had arranged for a 4 AM taxi ($45 USD) . We were at the airport by 4:45. We had purchased the Aerolineas travel pass tickets which was a pain but it does afford some extra poundage for luggage. We each checked a 50 pound bag and carried on one carryon.

The flight was on time - and we got a taxi from the airport to the Melia ( formerly Sheraton). Rates are posted in the airport. $500 pesos ($25 USD). We lucked out and got a driver,Sandro, who spoke excellent English. We hired him for the next day for the trip to the Brazilian side of the falls for $75 roundtrip. See below for further description of that trip.( I asked for his contact info which email is [email protected] or via Whatsapp 54 9 3757 44 2994. )He was delightful and informative and I really feel like we lucked out getting him. When you arrive at the gates of the park you have to pay the entrance fee $500 pesos ($25 USD) per person.

The former Sheraton had absolutely vile reviews - and I have had friends who had stayed there and basically said it was vile...but location location location. It is by no means glamorous...but some renovations have clearly been done on the public spaces. I was so pessimistic about the place that I was pleasantly surprised. The rooms are small but adequate. Beds were very comfortable. I expected terrible food but it was actually pretty good. I can vouch for the minestrone soup at lunch, roasted 1/2 chicken at dinner. The breakfast buffet (I dislike buffets in general) was extensive and everything looked quite good. I opted tor a made to order omelet which was frankly excellent. The club sandwich for lunch by the pool was uninspired. The pool is a nice respite at the end of the day. Lounge chairs are padded and comfortable. There is a shower/changing area at the pool which came in handy on our second day. It is spartan at best and has not been renovated- lighting is dim/ nonexistant- but it served the purpose. Check out is 10 AM- we left our luggage with concierge. After our visit to the Brazilian side of the falls we returned to sit by the pool for a couple hours before our 6:30 PM departure.

Tips for visiting the falls:
*You will get wet/soaked even if you don't do zodiac ride- depending on the weather ( we had rain off and on) and the wind. We had lightweight ponchos ( weight of a dry cleaner bag). They are handy to mitigate some of the water and to shield your backpack camera etc.
*Your shoes will get wet. Teva sandals probably would have been optimal but we had sneakers. You need something to grip the walkways - but they are going to get wet.
*Each of our walks took about one hour which included stopping for many photos. Two hours were recommended for each but that seems long to me.

There are 4 things to do on the Argentinian side.

1. The Jungle Tours zodiac ride under the falls. PLEASE READ IF YOU ARE THINKING OF DOING THIS. Many reviews said to skip the long drive through the jungle and just do the zodiac part. I had emailed the Melia asking if they could secure tickets for us. The replied no - there are no advance reservations. Well...that is true...except the zodiac only trip is not currently being offered ( not since November according to Jungle Tours). So ONLY the jungle drive and zodiac combo is offered at $60USD pp. So we say fine...to which we are told we can go right then - 9 am- otherwise it was sold out for the rest of the day. I asked how is it sold out if you dont take reservations??? The response - they sell the jungle/ zodiac trip via local travel agents in advance ( not on their website) Whatever. We went...the jungle part boring but the zodiac trip was really fantastic. There was time to take photos of the falls from sea level...then tuck the cameras in a waterproof bag and zip under the falls. It was really really fun.

2. The Devils Throat. There is a little train ( included in entrance ticket price) that drops you 1000 meters from the top of this major fall. It is really incredible. You literally stand on a platform that is practically on top of the falls. The train runs every 30 minutes or so - and it takes about 20 minutes. You save this for last IMO. It is the pinnacle of the trip.

3. Lower circuit. This metal walkway meanders around/ near the middle of the falls. You feel like you are in the falls.

4. Upper circuit. Same as above except you are almost above the falls. Different vantage point great views.

Brazilian side of the falls

A Brazilian visa is required. There is some online chat about getting around this - the borders seemed strict so not sure if this is still possible. The old Brazilian visa process ( for US citizens) was so onerous and expensive ($160USD pp)- and required surrendering our passports for 3 weeks so we had given up on it. About 1 month before our trip Brazil came out with a 2 year e-visa for $40 USD pp. I still found the online process a PITA - the issue being getting a photograph of your passport as well as a passport photo which would conform to the dimensions pixels etc required by the site.

Sandro picked us up at 8:45 AM. The lines to get across the border seemed insanely long- but Sandro could go in a special lane and it was really fast. You have to stop twice - first at Argentina then at Brazil. We were at the park by 9:30. I don't think you can count on that though.

We bought tickets into the park ($40 USD pp). There was an ENORMOUS line for the shuttle bus. The park opens at 9 AM....we waited forever...maybe 45 minutes to get the shuttle to the walkway to view the falls. In hindsight I would go later. You will never have the falls to yourself during high season...so why waste time in line. When we returned at 12:30 there was no line.

The view from the Brazilian side is fabulous for panoramic shots of the falls. The highlight was a walkway that literally crosses under the Devils throat. You will get as wet there as on the zodiac ride. They sell ponchos right before the walkway...lots of takers! I liked both sides equally well...but they are different experiences.
chichichicago is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,356
Thanks for the report! I absolutely loved the falls. I stayed in Puerto Iguazu and used buses, so the trip can be done more cheaply. I only got wet walking out below Devil's Throat, but maybe the weather was better for me.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2018, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 17,460
Thanks for the report. That is great news re the evisa, had not heard about that before. Explains why several friends have recently been to Brazil and seems to still be an option. Now I don't necessarily need to go thru Buenos Aires!
I found what seems to be the correct website.

Brazil Visa Information In eVisa - Home Page
mlgb is offline  
Feb 25th, 2018, 07:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 105
Thursdaysd- We did have spotty weather...but def everyone was getting wet on the walking paths. Probably depends on the wind?

mlgb- you have the correct website. The trick is to get a digital photo and the picture of your passport in a format they deem acceptable. I am reasonably competent at that sort of thing and I had trouble with it.
chichichicago is offline  
Feb 25th, 2018, 10:22 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,193
Thanks for the report. A nice summary of visiting the falls. Surprised you got a soaking though. We visited in August and November and both times we only got wet on the two main viewing platforms where it was to be expected ( and a welcome relief in the heat!). You may well be right about it being something to do with te wind direction.

re the Direction of travel on the argentine side, we did the opposite to you and got the train to the last stop for the Garaganta Del Diablo and then worked our way back and seemed to miss most of the crowds that way. . Worked for us but maybe you are right about leaving the best till last. It is certainly on of the most impressive sights
crellston is offline  
Feb 25th, 2018, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,597
Gracias, CCChicaco, for that interesting and totally informative TR. We loved The Falls on both sides and will likely return there next year - at least I hope so - and your report is an excellent guide for us and certainly for those new to The Falls.
MarnieWDC is offline  
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