When Is the Best Time
Make your Iguazu visit unforgettable! The insights we compiled from our own visits and from speaking with locals, you’ll find nowhere else:
Avoiding the Crowds (Worst Time to Visit)
With 1.5 million visitors each year Iguazu is pretty busy most of the year. Usually 5 – 6 thousand visitors come here each day. On average 10 thousand people visit the park in the peak season. There are even more during carnival, Easter and on bank holidays which are on the same days in Argentina and Brazil. The peak season lasts from late December until the end of February (school holidays in Argentina and Brazil). July is crowded as well. If possible avoid weekends. Important to know: The park gets closed with roughly 12 thousand visitors inside. This can happen during the peak season from midday onwards.
Opening Hours / Tickets
The Argentinian side is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the entrance is already closed after 3 pm. The Brazilian side of the falls opens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tip: It’s often mentioned that you should be at the ticket counter already before 8 a.m. to avoid queuing. We experienced the opposite. Lots of people come early and have to wait while we arrived after 9. It took us just a minute to get the tickets although it was crowded inside the park.
To take marvelous shots with the perfect sunlight consider the following order in terms of hiking to the falls:
- Hike to the Lower Falls in the morning
- To the Upper Falls around midday
- To the highlight Devil’s Throat at the end; in the afternoon.
The Iguazu Falls are spectacular with a high level of water but more difficult to experience and photograph with lots of spray. If it’s too dry, they might be less immense. The best months for a visit depend on what you would like to experience. During the summer season the level is higher and after the winter season July, August, and September it’s a lower level.
It’s a subtropical and humid climate. There is a high amount of precipitation around the year more than 1.800 mm. The winter months are a little drier from late May to mid-September. The day temps are more pleasant and nights are quite cold. In summer roughly from November to February day temps are on average around 30°C / 86°F and can be up to almost 40°C / 104°F.
The Color After Rainfall
They are not any longer clear as they were more than 40 years ago. Due to forest clearance, the unprotected soil gets washed out into the river. As you can see in the pictures, the color is brown-red nowadays. The harmful side effects fish can’t reproduce, birds and mammals can’t spot their prey.
Where we Stayed (Hotel Tips from Us)
Either you stay in Puerto Iguazu like Casa 24 where we spent several nights or the perfectly located Melia Hotel inside the park. This hotel gives you more flexibility to enjoy the beautiful falls. Just keep in mind, that you have to leave the park and falls at 6 pm like all other visitors.
There is a Full Moon tour to Devils’s Throat – Garganta Del Diablo offered each month.
Several times a day speedboat tours take place. These tours are popular. It’s highly recommended to book a tour in advance. You don’t want to risk not getting a spot.
Argentina, Puerto Iguazu
Review and Tips
The Iguazu Falls are one of the most visited sights in Argentina. The falls are in total 2.700 meters long; 800 m on the Brazilian side and 1.900 m on the Argentinian side. Depending on the water level there are up to 270 waterfalls. Iguazu comes from the Guarani language and means “Great Waters”. It was declared a National Park in 1939 and World Heritage Side in 1986.
On the Brazilian side, helicopter flights are allowed but not in Argentina due to the impact on flora and fauna. To be honest, the noise of the helicopters was disturbing the beautiful scenery.
How to Get to Iguazu (Plane, Taxi, and Bus)
There is an airport on either side of the falls. In Brazil, it’s the Foz de Iguazu (IGV) less than 20 km from the town center. Daily direct flights from Rio de Janeiro are being offered. In Argentina, the airport is called Cataratas del Iguazu (IGR) a bit more than 20 km from the town Puerto de Iguazu. Soon the airport will be enlarged to increase the number of flights and tourists. More direct flights from different cities not only Buenos Aires are planned.
After the arrival at the airport, you can either take a taxi, a bus or you’d arrange a pickup. If you stay in the town or nearby it’s pretty easy and cheap to get to the Iguazu Falls. You can either take a bus for 75 ARS p.p. roughly $ 3,70, or you share a taxi with four and for the same amount. Anyhow, ask for the fee first. We once paid three times more than usual in Iguazu due to a taximeter which was running too fast.
How Long Shall I Stay?
Many people arrive by plane in the morning and already leave Iguazu with the last plane the same day. We recommend staying at least two nights. Three nights are even better. That way you can experience all different outlooks and trails on the Argentinian side and visit the Brazilian side as well. For the falls on the Brazilian side you may need a few hours only, but for the Argentinian side, the minimum is a whole day. You can either get by bus or taxi to the Brasilian side. The trail there is quite short and takes 2 hours max. However, the view from here is fantastic and worth the effort. Citizens from the US have to pay $ 160 for a VISA if visiting the Brazilian side!
Hiking Trails (Argentinian Side)
There is an ecological train inside Iguazu National Park with two stops. The first stop is just a short ride to the Lower and Upper Falls trailhead and picnic area. Instead, you can walk to the first station just 10 minutes on the Green Trail through a verdant rainforest. The second stop is close to Devil’s Throat – Garganta Del Diablo. Here it’s advisable to take the train for saving time. The hiking trail is just next to the rails therefore quite boring.
- The Lower Falls trail is 3.4 km / 2.1 miles long
- The Upper Falls trail is 3.5 km / 2.2 miles long
- The hike to Devil’s throat 2.2 km / 1.4 miles frequently along metal boardwalks. You can already hear the rumble of the cascading water in the distance. Mostly you get utterly wet at the end where the falls rush down. Even in the rain, the sheer power of the falls is spectacular.
- The Macuco Trail, where once the falls were located, now there is just a single waterfall. Trail length 7 km / 4.3 miles.
- The trail on San Martin Island doesn’t exist for two years now. Usually, you got there by boat. The island is perfectly located in front of the falls.
Argentina: Foreigners ARS 500 / $ 25 Residents ARS 400 / $ 20
Tip: If you’d like to visit the Argentinian side twice; let the entrance ticket be stamped to get a discount of 50 % the next day.
What to Bring
- Comfortable trainer
- Plenty of water
- Picnic and snacks, there is only fast food offered
- Sun protection and sunscreen
- Insect repellent
- Either rain poncho or clothes to change. You’ll definitely get wet! If you plan to do a boat trip wear already bath clothes and bring a towel
Caution: Please, don’t feed the agoutis and monkeys. Many of them got already used to human food. The result they often become aggressive in the picnic areas and can harm people.