The Iguazu Falls is a gift of nature. However, there are several things that nobody tells you about visiting the world heritage site. Here are nine of these things that are good to be aware of before you go!
1. The falls are not in three countries
Before travelling to Iguazu, I was sure that the falls were in three countries. A triangle, between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. That was what they taught me in school. The same was my husband told. Afterwards, I have also met many people that would like to travel to Iguazu, that think the same. But the falls only have two sites: The Argentinian and the Brazilian.
That being said, in Paraguay, you can find the Itiapu Hydroelectric Dam, which is connected to Brazil. It is also nice to visit this dam, which is the largest power plant on earth.
The Iguazu Falls. Standing on the Argentinian side, while looking over at the Brazilian site.
The Itiapu Hydroelectric Dam on the Paraguayan site. Looking over to Brazil.
2. It is not cheap to visit the Iguazu Falls
Getting to Iguazu can be very expensive. Buses are the cheapest option. That being said, if you take the road through Brazil or Argentina, they still cost pretty much. However, going through Paraguay is more economical. We paid around 50 USD each way going all the way from Santa Cruz, Bolivia to Puerto Iguazú.
On the way back to Bolivia we wanted to take the Argentinian road. However, the bus prices can be multiplied several times. We therefore went back the same way through Paraguay, despite that the buses and roads are much more comfortable if going through Argentina.
Taking a flight is also another option. That being said, flight tickets to Iguazu cost a lot, and over 400 USD just from Buenos Aires.
The entry admission rates are another extra cost on top. As well as the bus ride to the falls from nearby cities. And if you would like to take a boat ride or helicopter ride when inside the park, just keep on adding the bills.
The food and drinks inside the park, is also over charged. So if you would like to save some money bring food and drinks with you.
3. It is not easy to visit the Iguazu Falls
The Iguazu falls are located far from any other major city in South America. For get there we had to take a very uncomfortable 24 hour bus ride. On a bumpy road. No toilet on the bus. With seats that were not able to be put back for rest. However, as said, this was the most economical choice. The buses in Brazil, and Argentina are better. Nevertheless, they are still long. On the Brazil side, Sao Paulo and Florianopolis are the closest biggest cities. They are both around 16 hours away by bus. From Buenos Aires it is a 24 hour bus ride. While the flight takes around 2,5 hour.
4. You walk in line, line and more line
The Iguazu falls is a very popular destination. Which I understand well based on its beauty. So, due to the many people visiting, you will be walking in line inside the park. If you would like to take a picture, you might need to wait. Because there are many people that would like to take photos first. Then you might be able to take a shot. However, fast! Because other people are waiting for their turn.
It is also hard to walk in your own pace. Because you might have an old couple walking very slow in front of you. Or people stopping up for taking pictures or look at something they found interesting on their way.
5. The Raccoons steal
Maybe even a bigger attraction than the falls. They are everywhere, and the tourists are taking more photos of them than the falls.
They can be very aggressive. Furthermore, they steel. We bought a very expensive sandwich inside the park, and in one second it was stolen. The same happened to many other tourists just minutes later.
6. The National Park is very big
On the Argentinian site, you can walk for hours. There is the upper trail, the lower trail, the trail on St Martin’s Island, and the trail to the Devil’s Throat. So bring good walking shoes!
That being said, on the Brazilian site there is only one walkway of 1.2 kilometres.
7. The nature around is amazing
The wildlife around the falls is truly beautiful. Thousands of colorful butterflies fluttering around, and landing on your skin. Furthermore, the jungle is gorgeous, and there are many colourful birds.
8. There is a lot of sun or a lot of rain
The Iguazu Falls are in a tropical region where it rains a lot. It can rain hard for a few hours or a whole day.
However, when I was there I was lucky, and it was sun. A lot of sun!
So to bring an umbrella for cover for the rain or the sun, is not a bad idea.
9. Men without benefits made the dam
When visiting the Itiapu Hydroelectric Dam, we were greeted by a big group of workers from the dam. They were protesting for getting benefits from the government. They told us that the Brazilian workers get that, got benefits but not them. That the work was hard and dangerous, and many have injuries. Now they that the dam is finished they are without job, and benefits.
They gave us food and the national drink tereré. They were very happy about our visit. They asked me to write about their cause and spread their message. So here it is! Though it does not have too much to do with the Iguazu Falls.