South America is home to one of the remaining magnificent vestiges of the pre-historic world, a place similar in grandeur to the Garden of Eden. Situated along the border of Brazil and Argentina, at the point of convergence between two national parks, is a place still deemed sacred to the native Guarani Indians– Iguazu Falls. The beauty of this roaring, cascading landmark is just beyond words. You can’t make any wrong turn and miss it: the echoes of a distant past and the drums of the indigenous tribes venerating the splendor of the place will remind you of where you are.
Simply put, Iguazu is a natural beauty of outstanding proportions. Created eons ago, Iguazu is a product of a volcanic eruption that caused a rift in the earth’s surface.
Iguazu features 275 falls fashioned in a horseshoe style, with dimensions grander than the equally-famous Niagara Falls. It is separated by different islands, creating various sections. The most famous sector is Devil’s Throat, known to the locals as the Gargantua del Diablo. Other notable cascades include the Bossetti, San Martin and Bernabe Mendez. From November to March, or Argentina’s rainy season, the falls roar with 12,750 cubic meters or 450,000 cubic feet of water per second.
Best Time to Visit
January and February are the best months to visit Iguazu, since Argentinians and Brazilians are out on their respective vacations. Easter and the months of June and July are peak visit times as well, and because of the influx of tourists, accommodation and food prices are at their highest. The summer season, which runs from December to March, paves the way for the hottest temperatures in the area. Despite the scorching heat, summer is considered a good time for visitors as well.
Iguazu’s climate depends on the seasons, but on the average, the temperature ranges from 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit.) Humidity is upwards of 90%.
Unfortunately, the monsoon seasons can increase the river levels, which can render the catwalks flooded. High flow also causes mist to cover the falls, so a visit during the rainy season is not recommended. Winter, which runs from June through to August, is the usual time for rain. Humidity is upwards of 60%. The temperatures usually range from 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) to 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit.) Overcast weather during this season can be a boon for photo junkies, as blue skies provide better settings for pictures. High water flow can also occur during winter, causing mist-covered falls and flooded pathways.
Getting to Iguazu
Iguazu is one of Latin America’s well-kept secrets, but you will not find it hard to come across this feat of nature. Here are three ways on how you can get there:
1) Board a Bus
An affordable way to visit Iguazu is to take a bus from Buenos Aires. While the journey is very long – 16 to 18 hours – you do not have to worry about your comfort since Argentine long distance buses are equipped with reclining chairs (cama or semi-cama.) Meals and movies are provided as well. For the best experience, get on board the buses operated by Via Bariloche or Andesmar.
2) Catch a Plane
If a day’s worth of land travel is too much for you, your best option is to hop on a plane headed to Iguazu. Do note, however, that the fare can range from USD 350 to USD 550. If you want the comforts of air travel for an affordable price, make sure to book reservations in advance, especially if you are planning a visit during the peak months of December to February.
3) Rent a Car
Are you an adventurous soul? Well then, your best choice is to rent a car and drive from the airport (Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires).While this might save you the hassles of commuting, it is a particularly long trip along a two-lane highway.
The best way to avoid the traffic jam is to board a bus or an airplane headed to Iguazu, and rent a car once you are in town. The city, after all, is very quaint, so you will not find it hard to roam around the area. The best advantage to having your own vehicle is that you can visit nearby attractions as well.
Ways to Enjoy Iguazu Falls
Powerful and immense, Iguazu offers its visitors various ways to enjoy it. Grab a friend or a loved and head out to Iguazu Falls to enjoy the following adventures.
1) Macuco Safari Boat Ride
Safari tours commence at Kilometer 25 of the Cataratas Highway. The tour involves a 1.5 mile-ride on board electric jeep-towed wagons, as well as an optional walk and a casual swim through the waterfalls. Professional guides are multi-lingual, so you do not have to worry about learning to speak Spanish or Portuguese. If you’re up to it, you can take a 2-hour boat ride towards the Three Musketeers Falls. Make sure to have an extra shirt though, as you will be paddled close enough to the falls to get soaking wet.