Updated: Aug 17
Want to visit one of South America's most visited UNESCO World Heritage sites? The legendary Iguazu Falls and the surrounding Iguazu National Park welcome thousands of visitors every year.
Even though it's a very "Touristic" destination- and you know, we are not a fan of the common tourist attractions! - it's a place we always recommend our travelers to include in a first visit to Argentina or Brazil. It's UNIQUE in the world; feeling the power of the Iguazu Falls is something you must live at least once in your life!
I’ve been to Iguazu more than ten times, and it’s truly something I’ll never get tired of. I could (and likely will) go again and again.
Spread across Argentina and Brazil; there are plenty of different ways to experience Iguazu Falls, so here is our ultimate guide for visiting The Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls, and how to do it avoiding the crowds!
So, let’s dive in and get inspired to plan your bucket list-worthy trip to Brazil's Famous waterfalls!
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Where is the famous waterfall in Brazil?
Split across Brazil and Argentina, Iguazu Falls is one of the most popular destinations in South America.
Iguazú national park ( Argentina) and Iguaçu national park ( Brazil) are located on the border of the Argentine province of Misiones and the Brazilian state of Paraná.
The falls themselves are primarily fed by the Iguazu River. These fantastic waterfalls have been formed by a mix of the Paraná and Iguazu Rivers, both based in Brazil.
The sheer amount of water being fed into the falls makes Iguazu Falls the most extensive waterfall system in the entire world. If you’ve ever been close to the falls themselves, you’ll know you can feel the power of Iguazu from a decent distance away!
Why is Iguazu Falls famous?
Size-wise, Iguazu is twice as wide as Niagara Falls, with over three times as much water cascading over the top of the falls each year.
Despite the sheer size of Iguazu Falls, it’s not the highest waterfall in South America - that honor goes to Angel Falls in Venezuela - but Iguazu is still much wider!
Finally, by comparison, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is actually narrower than Iguazu Falls, but Victoria Falls claims the title of the world’s largest continuous curtain of falling water, with over 500 million liters every single minute.
Okay, separate from the statistics about this picturesque waterfall, Iguazu Falls is a beautiful place with dozens of fantastic vantage points, stunning rocky cliffs, and plenty of natural wonders to enchant everyone who visits!
Best time to visit Iguazu Falls
Although realistically, there is no wrong time to visit Iguazu; some seasons are better than others. It all comes down to what you want to do while you’re here.
If you want to hike around Iguazu National Park and explore the falls on foot, you’ll want to visit in the dry season, from May to September.
If you want to see the falls at their full power and glory, you’re going to have to tackle the rainy season. This runs roughly from October to April.
That being said, even if you visit in the dry season, Iguazu Falls is still pretty magnificent - it’s not like the waterfalls in Yosemite that don’t exist in the summer months!
When to go to avoid the crowds?
✨Good times to avoid may depend less on rainfall and more on local holidays in Argentina and Brazil. So, If you can, avoid January, the final two weeks in July, and Easter week. There will be crowds and higher prices during this peak season.
Brazil Waterfalls or Argentina, which side is better?
We always recommend seeing both sides. Both parks have the most spectacular waterfalls but offer different experiences and have different characteristics and attractions.
The Iguazu Falls are formed by 275 falls, and 80% are in Argentina. The Brazilian side consists of a single circuit of approximately 1500 meters but offers beautiful panoramic views of the falls and where you will get the best postcard photos!
Certainly worth a visit!
Due to its dimensions, Brazil Waterfalls side can be visited in approximately 4 hours.
The Argentine park, meanwhile, is a larger park, it has three main circuits and a secondary one for those who like to trek (Macuco Trail). The three main circuits let you enjoy the Iguazu Falls in different ways. But obviously, for this visit, you will need more time.
The decision on which side to take from the falls depends on your available time. If you only have time for one park, we suggest visiting the park that is closest to your arrival/departure airport this way you save the time it takes to cross the border.
For example, if you arrive through Foz do Iguazu and depart through this airport too, it is better to visit the Brazilian side, since this way you save the time it takes to cross the border.
Now let's dive exclusively into the Brazilian side of the falls.
Getting to Iguazu Falls in Brazil
How is the best way to get to Iguazu Falls in Brazil will depend on where you’re flying from.
As Argentina and Brazil share the Iguazu Falls, you have two airports to choose from where to get there: Puerto Iguazu and Foz de Iguazu.
The main airline in Argentina is Aerolineas Argentinas and in Brazil, Latam.
If you come from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo, you’ll likely be flying to Foz do Iguaçu.
Located on the border of Brazil with Northern Argentina and Eastern Paraguay, there are plenty of direct flights from Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Brasilia to Foz do Iguaçu.
If you plan a more extended trip to South America, you can also fly directly from Lima. This makes Iguazu a perfect connection to visit another world heritage: Machu Picchu.
Getting from The Argentine Side
If you are coming from Buenos Aires, you’ll probably be flying to Puerto Iguazu on the Northern border of Argentina, which has an airport with plenty of direct connections to Buenos Aires.
To get to the Brazilian side of the falls, it is easy; you will have to cross borders From Puerto Iguazu to Foz do Iguazú in Brazil. It is a simple, safe, and hassle-free border crossing.
Do I Need A Visa For Brazil?
The good news about Visas! Until June 2019, American citizens needed a visa to visit Brazil.
US citizens no longer need a visa to visit Brazil, making crossing the border to see Iguazu from the Brazilian side a piece of cake.
Main Attractions in the Brazil Iguazu National Park and how to visit without the crowds.
Visiting the Brazilian Iguazu Falls.
Iguazu Falls National Park, on the Brazilian side, has approximately 180,000 hectares (three times more than the Argentine one). However, it has the peculiarity of only having one circuit of approximately 1500 meters. It can take approximately 2 hours to do the full circuit.
The path has no difficulty, but several stairs go up and down. If you want, you can go directly to the end of the circuit; this way, you will avoid the stairs. You will find an elevator that takes you to the best part of this national park, as you can be just over 100 meters from an imposing 200-meter jump.
One of the highlights of Iguazu Falls it's a loop fall area called The Devil's Throat. Besides the outstanding view from Argentina (On top of it,) You can get an excellent upfront perspective from the Brazilian side.
✨How to do it and Avoid the crowds? To avoid the crowds that daily visit the Brazilian Waterfalls, the best way is to sleep in the only hotel that is inside the park. Belmond Das Catarataras.
Although the main attraction of Iguazu National Park is undoubtedly the falls themselves, there are other amazing things to see and do away from the waterfalls.
Macuco Trail and Boat Ride
If you’re on the Brazilian side of the falls, you can hit the Macuco Boat ride. You’ll hike into the Atlantic Forest along a trail only around 3kms long. On average, this should only take an hour and a half and is considered a moderate trail.
As you’re heading into the forest, there are plenty of fantastic flora and fauna to explore, so it’s worth doing this hike with a local wildlife expert!
The hike is quite short but with some steps on the way. In case You feel like not doing it, it's not mandatory You can reach the dock by jeep.
The last part of the adventure is to take The Boat Ride. Yeah the boat ride is pretty wet but fun! and also safe.
The views of The Three Musketeers and Devil’s Throat are unmissable!
✨How to do it and Avoid the crowds?
To Avoid the crowds and enjoy a fantastic experience, one of the things we sometimes do for our travelers is organize this experience just for them! This way, you would not need to do lines, and have the boat just for you!
Parque das Aves
Consider yourself a bit of a bird expert?
Well then, you must check out the Parque das Aves, or the Bird Park.
This magnificent bird park, opened by Dennis and Anna Croukamp in 1994, provides a sanctuary for exotic birds rescued from trafficking.
The most giant Bird Sanctuary in all over South America! With over 800 bird species, it’s a paradise for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers.
In addition to seeing beautiful birds like toucans, macaws, flamingos, and more up close, you can also take part in interactive feeding experiences.
This park is not a simple zoo. They are doing a lot of work in recovering wounded animals from Biopiracy, breeding in dangerous species in captivity, and environmental classes for kids and the community.
✨How to do it and Avoid the crowds?
This is also a very touristic activity, but there is also a way to enjoy an exclusive visit to the park. Something we do for our travelers is organize a private visit to the park. with unique access to only personal areas of the Bird Park being conducted by specialists.
You will have the chance to feed some animals, Usually, flamingos are the chosen ones but also toucans among others can be part of the experience, it all depends on their well-being.
We do recommend to do the first tour of the day, at 07:30 a.m. Since the Bird Park opens for the general public at 08:30 a.m. it is much more exclusive and enjoyable. And at the end a plus, you will be invited for a light breakfast in a very cozy and comfortable area of the bird park!
The Helicopter Ride
If you’re looking for great views of the falls and aren’t afraid to splash the cash, why not take a helicopter ride over the top of the falls?
This ride is done on the Brazilian side of the Falls, and it is a 10-minute ride where you will experience an Incredible panoramic view of this Wonder of Nature, and amazing birds-eye views of the rainforest.
Where to Stay in the Brazilian Iguazu Falls.
When visiting from Brazil, my favorite hotel in Iguazu Falls is the Belmond das Cataratas.
A gem beside Brazil's Iguassu Falls. This pastel-pink hideaway is surrounded by lush rainforest, which grants exclusive access to the park.
The only hotel located inside the national park on the Brazilian side, Is the perfect place to enjoy the falls avoiding the crowds.
If you stay at Belmond, the walkways to the falls are in front of the hotel. You will have Exclusive access to the Falls before 9am and from 5pm: in summer-time, this equates to an extra six hours to explore!
So, wake up early and visit the park before the crowds arrive. IS MAGICAL!
Other Beautiful Waterfalls in Brazil
Outside of Iguazu, there are still plenty of amazing waterfalls to explore. Here are some of our favorite spots to explore if you want to avoid the Iguazu crowds.
✔️Cachoeira da Prata in the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park has super clear waters and the surroundings are famous for hiking and wild swimming.
✔️Cachoeira da Fumaça (Smoke Falls) is actually one of the tallest waterfalls in Brazil, located in the gorgeous Bahia region.
✔️Cachoeira do Caracol (Caracol Falls) isn’t too far from Iguazu and is also in the beautiful Atlantic Forest, but is a lot less busy than Iguazu.
✔️Cachoeira Véu de Noiva in Mato Grosso is a massively underrated waterfall in Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, with few tourists that is stunningly beautiful.
OUR SUGGESTED TRIP TO VISIT IGUAZU WATERFALLS FALLS IN ARGENTINA & BRAZIL
So, what do you think? Do you want to visit the Iguazu Falls on your next trip to South America?
If you want to visit Brazil Waterfalls Falls, we hope this guide helps you plan your vacation to this amazing destination.
And if you find yourself thinking like this:
Yes, I want to plan a trip to South America, "So, where do I begin?"
We can help!
Take a look to some of our suggested trip to South America for visiting the Iguazu falls,
As a boutique travel agency, we specialize in unique and custom made South American trips, we can help you customize and adventure to suit your individual needs. Learn more about our service here.
Clara Barciela Co-founder Across south America
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