Germany and France meet at the stately Rhine, and France and Spain are divided by the Pyrenees, but few countries enjoy as dramatic a border as the one where Brazil and Argentina meet – the stupendous Iguazu Falls. These enormous waterfalls tumble into the Rio Iguazu below, impressive not just in their natural beauty but in their raw power.
Standing at the foot of Iguazu Falls, or looking out from the walkways above is an experience that stays with you forever. Since the falls form part of the border between the two countries, you can visit Iguazu Falls from either Brazil or Argentina, but in fact whichever country you are on holiday in, you are best off doing both, or even combining it with a longer. Each side offers something different so if you only visit one side of the falls you would be missing out on half the fun! If you starting your holidays in Brazil, you will probably arrive from Rio into the town of Foz do Iguacu – the small town near the falls which will be your base.
There are several daily flights to and from Rio, Sao Paulo, Curitiba and other Brazilian cities, so it is well linked-in to other parts of the country you are likely to visit on your Brazil holidays. The town itself is fairly unremarkable, and the better hotels are out of town towards (and even in) the National Park on this side of the border. The Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls offers amazing panoramic views of the falls in their entirety and this is where you’ll undoubtedly get some of the best photos of your Brazil holidays.
The falls are almost absurdly photogenic and you would have to try very hard indeed not to come out with some good holiday snaps! The lush forest on either side of the gorge provides a beautiful contrast to the fast-flowing river and there is a near-permanent rainbow from the huge bursts of spray below. Most people take the conventional tourist ‘train’ to the Iguazu Falls but one of the best ways to approach the Falls on the Brazilian side is via a ‘safari’ through the National Park. If you’re looking for some adventure on your Brazil holidays then this is the perfect way to get it, starting with a 4×4 ride, then a short trek through the rainforest, before a speedboat ride takes you on to the Falls themselves. Alternatively, you may be beginning your holiday in Argentina, in which case you will probably fly from Buenos Aires to the Argentinian town of Puerto Iguazu.
Although smaller than Foz, Puerto Iguazu arguably offers better food and accommodation than you’ll get in Brazil, although opinions do differ on that. What is indisputably true is that Argentina has the only hotel from which you can see the Iguazu Falls themselves. The hotel itself (the Sheraton) isn’t the greatest in the world, but the views surely are… On the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls, a series of snaking wooden walkways takes you right to the base of the famous Devil’s Throat (the largest single drop fall at Iguazu) so you can get really close to this natural monster. You won’t see the rainbows here because you’re right in the middle of the spray – the force of the water as it hits the canyon floor is so loud and overpowering that it is genuinely breathtaking. It’s a total contrast to beautiful but more sedate Brazilian side, and you really have to see both to appreciate them. Whichever side of the border you visit first, to continue your holidays in Brazil or Argentina you just need to cross over the border and catch a short domestic flight on to either Rio or Buenos Aires – you cut out the expensive international flight between the two, and enjoy one of the great experiences of your holiday all in one go: what’s not to like?