I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Foz Do Iguacu during my trip to Brazil this month. Even though I’ve visited Brazil multiple times, it was actually my first time flying within Brazil. Niagara Falls was originally on my bucket list of places I wanted to travel. However, after a family friend mentioned that Niagara Falls is small compared to Foz Do Iguacu, I knew I had to go see these waterfalls for myself!
We arrived at a small airport and the novelty already began for me.
The falls itself is located between Argentina and Brazil so there is actually an Argentinian view and a Brazilian view. There’s an on-going debate on which side is more beautiful so I decided that I wanted to check both sides out for myself. My friends and I started off at the Argentinian side since we heard there was more to do there and the skies were clear our first full day. It was supposed to rain the two full days we were there, but we prayed a lot and miraculously it didn’t rain on the days we were there. Thank God! That’s something to watch out for if you plan on going.
ARGENTINA SIDE |
We went on the green trail first which included a taking a train to walk towards “garganta” which is the huge waterfall. It’s quite a trek walking towards the falls on these metal bridges that are right above the rivers (or maybe it just felt long to me because I couldn’t wait to see it). The design of this trail was brilliant because they get you more excited before “garganta” comes into view because you can see the mists rising above the trees and the sounds of water pouring.
Green Trail – rails going towards Garganta
Top 1/3ish of Garganta
Garganta and other waterfalls flow into the river
Luscious greens from the water
Attempt to capture the waterfalls through the heavy mist
Because of the power of the waterfall, it was so misty that it was honestly hard to capture photos especially because my camera (and I) got soaked! It wasn’t even raining but it felt like I just took a shower. Bring those waterproof gears with you!
On our way to the blue trail, we saw these “coati” at the train stop. They look really cute, but be careful! They can get pretty vicious (as we witnessed for ourselves) when they see you eating. Don’t feed them! They have rabies and diseases.
On the blue trail, there’s more walking and this time it includes a good amount of stairs. Might be a little harsh on those who have weak knees.
View of the waterfalls when starting the blue trail
Close up of a section of the waterfalls from the blue trail
End of the blue trail
Such a beautiful view! The end of the blue trail leads to another beautiful view and gets you close to another beautiful waterfall. Needless to say, I was satisfied by the end of the day despite being exhausted. According to my fitbit, my steps for the day was 15k for those that would like a reference.
BRAZIL SIDE |
The next day, we decided to go to the Brazil side which was a lot shorter. The Argentinian side took virtually the whole day, while the Brazil side only took us a couple hours. We decided to take the trail to the falls rather than the elevators. Unless you have problems walking, I would recommend doing that because throughout the whole trail, you see countless amounts of waterfalls. This is just a small part of the walk – I love how there were two layers of waterfalls (even saw a section with three).
Section of the waterfalls during the hike
At the end of the trail, be prepared to be soaked once again!
View of final destination
On the end of the bridge looking towards Garganta (Argentina)
Another magnificent view. It’s another feel being surrounded by the waterfalls when you’re standing right in the middle! Interesting fact: when standing there in the middle, you can actually see people at the Argentinian side viewing garganta (the end of the green trail)
SUMMARY | COMPARISON
After going to both sides and reflecting upon my experience, I would recommend following my itin erary (if you’re willing to walk long distances). The Argentinian side has more trails and involves a lot of walking while the Brazil side also has a small trail but they do provide an optional elevator for the elderly and disabled. Going to both sides gave me a better picture of how big the waterfalls really are – to experience the power of garganta and to see the vast amount of waterfalls that flow into the river. If possible, go to both! If you had to choose one, choose one according to how much you can handle 🙂
Add these waterfalls as a to-go to place! It’s seriously one of the most amazing places you will ever go – I was left speechless! These cataratas cannot be captured with photos (I tried and was only able to capture a glimpse of it), but actually standing there to see, hear, and feel the waterfalls is another experience in itself!!
SIDE NOTES | BRAZIL
If you only plan on going to the Brazil side, be sure to check out Parque Das Aves (a bird park) to get up and close to these beautiful toucans! Be careful though, these can bite you as well if you try to touch them.