Iguazu Falls & Itaipu Dam
Length of tour: 1-3 days
Iguazu Falls is located at the meeting point of three South American countries: Brazil , Argentina and Paraguay . The cascades are on the border between Brazil and Argentina , so to visit Iguazu Falls, it is necessary to visit one or both of these two countries, both of which have National Parks devoted to this natural wonder of the world.
The word Iguassu means “large water” in Guarani. The cascades are formed by the falls of the Iguassu River and the number of falls varies, reaching a little over one hundred during periods of average flow. There are 19 main falls and the largest volume of water typically occurs between the months of October and March.
Since most of the falls are on the Argentinean side and facing Brazil, the best views are from the Brazilian side while visitors are able to get up close to the falls to hear the powerful rush of water and feel the mist on the Argentinean side.
Although Itaipu is no longer the largest hydroelectric dam in the world (it was surpassed in 2012 by the Three Gorges Dam in China), Itaipu remains an incredible feat of engineering and was considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world due to its sheer immensity.
The environmental impact arising from construction of the Itaipu Dam was not without controversy; the creation of the reservoir displaced 40,000-60,000 local inhabitants, covered several waterfalls destroying some of the natural beauty of the region, and endangered hundred of wildlife and plant species.
Watch a documentary that explains how the dam was built, efforts were made to minimize environmental impacts and offers facts about the size and force of the dams, then board a bus to view the infrastructure up close and observe a panoramic view of both the dam and reservoir.
You may also choose to visit the Tierra Guarani "Guarani Land" museum (Tues-Sun), the Tatí Yupí Biological Reserve (Tues-Sun), or the Itapiu Illumination Show (Fri and Sat evenings).
Iguazu Falls & Itaipu Dam
Available every day
Private tour; reservations required.
Prices vary based on number of days, sites selected to visit, method of transportation (bus vs private van), hotel category, etc.
Please contact us for pricing.
Iguazú National Park in Argentina
The Argentina side of the Iguazu Falls is absolutely massive which is why it takes one full day to explore. After you get into the park most of the trails are elevated wooden walkways that are broken up into three sections; the Lower Trail, Upper Trail, and Devil’s Throat. Visitors can walk from the entrance or take the Rainforest Ecological Train, which travels 3700 meters to the Devil's Throat Trail, with a stop at Cataratas station to access the upper and lower circuits.
Devil's Throat Trail (Paseo Garganta del Diablo) is a one-kilometer-long trail that brings the visitor directly over the falls of the Devil's Throat, a 70-meter waterfall where several branches of the Iguazu river converge causing a violent water fall. The Devil’s Throat is absolutely incredible and the one thing that you should not miss before leaving the park - the trail over the river and the balcony set up at the border of the cascade offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Upper Circuit is a half-hour walk along a 1200 meter trail – with low degree of difficulty and no stairs – that goes deep into the jungle. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Falls. You will get lots of closer views at the different observation points, and more panoramic sights toward the end of the trail.
The Lower Circuit goes all the way down to the river, where the boat crosses over to San Martin Island. For safety, yhe free boat service into the island depends on the water levels of the falls. On the way down, there are balconies with marvelous bottom-up views of the falls (the same falls that you see from above in the Upper Circuit).
- The Nautical Adventure boat ride (cost not included in the park entrance, but well worth the extra cost) takes you on a ride in a powerful boat right to the base of the waterfalls – a truly amazing experience. See the waterfalls, including the Garganta del Diable, from every angle – even from beneath the falls! The ride concludes by taking visitors beneath the San Martin waterfall - make sure you bring clothes that you want to get wet!
The park is open every day of the year during regular hours. The park also offers evening tours during the full moon (full moon calendar and prices)
For more information, visit the Iguazú National Park website.
Other Sites Nearby:
Güirá Oga Wild Animal Refuge & Rehabilitation
Güirá Oga means “House of the Birds” in Guarani. Tourists are ushered onto a tractor-pulled trailer that leads them into the jungle where the animals are kept. Guides are bilingual and offer information on the birds and animals they are caring for until they can be returned to the wild. English tours offered throughout the day.
Iguassu National Park in Brazil
The Brazilian National Park features one walkway (compared to the numerous circuits and trails on the Argentine side) that overlooks the entire cataract and offers a stunning view. A tour of the Brazilian side of the Falls can be completed in a half day easily - allow about 3 hours to enjoy the views with plenty of stops.
After purchasing the ticket at the park’s box office, visitors board one of the double-deck panoramic buses that will take you 10 km inside the park to the beginning of the Iguassu Falls trail or on to the final stop at Porto Canoas Restaurant.
- At the top of the falls, Porto Canoas Restaurant offers good food and great views of the falls from its deck overlooking the River Iguassu close to the Devil’s Throat.
- The Macuco Safari starts with a trail in the Atlantic Forest area, riding in an electric cart, then a 600 meter guided walk along the trail where one can see orchids, palm tree, ancient trees and wild animals. The trip culminates with a ride on a powerful boat up to the river and to the base of the waterfalls. See the waterfalls, including the Garganta del Diable, from every angle – even from beneath the falls! The ride concludes by taking visitors beneath the San Martin waterfall - make sure you bring clothes that you want to get wet!
- Only the Brazilian side that offers helicopter rides over the falls. The Helisul offers you a privileged view of the Iguassu Falls and the Itaipu Hydroelectric Plant. The options are a 10-minute flight over the National Park and the Iguassu Falls or a 35-minute flight over the Iguassu National Park, Itaipu Hydroelectric Plant and Three Borders Landmark.
For more information, visit the Iguassu National Park website.
Other Sites Nearby:
Parque das Aves
The largest bird park in Latin America, located very near Iguassu National Park, Parque das Aves allows visitors to experience direct contact with more than a thousand birds from about 150 different species on 16.5 hectares of subtropical forest. Parque das Aves has three immersion aviaries and a butterfly house, in which you can enter and be side by side with toucans, scarlet ibises, macaws, jays and thrushes. More information on the Parque das Aves website.
Rafain Churrascaria Show with Dinner
Discover the traditional folkloric music and dance of Latin America at the Rafain Churrascaria Show in Foz do Iguacu. The show includes performances from throughout Latin America, from Mexico to the Pampas, including traditional music and dance from Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Uruguay - closing with a lively and impressive Carnaval! The all-you-can-eat buffet features more than 200 cold and hot dishes, including a variety of salads, traditional Brazilian dishes, other international cuisine, and a sampling of meats and dessert.