Straddling the borders of Brazil and Argentina is one of the world’s most spectacular set of waterfalls: Iguazu Falls. With a name deriving from the indigenous words for ‘big water’, Iguazu has been named one of the natural seven wonders of the world. Here’s all the information you need on the best time to visit Iguazu Falls and where to stay on each side of the border.
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This is the best time to visit Iguazu Falls
There are two factors to consider when deciding on the best time to visit Iguazu Falls. One is the weather and the other is the number of tourists likely to be visiting at the same time as you.
The Iguazu Falls are situated in the lush, tropical rainforest of Iguazu National Park (divided into Brazil’s Parque Nacional do Iguaçu and Argentina’s Parque Nacional Iguazú), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The climate here is hot and humid, with an abundance of rain, depending on what time of year you go.
The rainy summer season is from October to March, with temperatures reaching a sticky 33 °C. During these months, the level of the waterfalls is at its highest, so it attracts more local tourists. The drier and cooler winter season (10 °C to 25 °C on average) is from May to September.
The best time to visit Iguazu Falls is in the shoulder months between these seasons, from April to May or between September and October. It’s not as hot during these months and there is less rain, so it will be more pleasant to walk around the paths and view the waterfalls. There will also be fewer tourists.
Monday to Friday is the best time of the week to visit Iguazu Falls to avoid the majority of tourists, as most people visit at the weekend.
Read on for my full guide to visiting the incredible Iguazu Falls and the best places to stay to make the most of your visit.
Getting to Iguazu Falls
My first sight of the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu was from the aeroplane. My flight from Rio de Janeiro, shortly before arriving at the tiny Foz do Iguaçu airport, circled the falls, probably for the benefit of the passengers.
From high up you can see the heavily cascading water, so loud you can almost hear it, and white mist emanating from the green forests, like a steaming hole in the earth.
Where to stay in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
The best backpacker hostel in Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, is the Concept Design Hostel & Suites. This popular place is clean, modern and cool, with a swimming pool and a tasty breakfast. It has even been voted the best hostel in Brazil.
If you are looking for a guest house in Foz do Iguaçu, try the excellent Maricá Bed & Breakfast, which has beautiful rooms, a swimming pool and a helpful host, who will make you feel at home.
For a special stay, one of the best hotels in Foz do Iguaçu is the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, which is located right in front of the falls and has exquisitely furnished rooms. Staff here are happy to organise a tour of the falls at the beginning or end of the day, outside of normal visitor hours. If you are looking for a hotel closer to the airport, try the San Juan Eco Hotel. For Foz do Iguaçu city centre, check out the Bogari Hotel, which has an excellent on-site restaurant.
How to get to Iguazu Falls from Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
The easiest way to reach the Iguazu Falls from your accommodation in Foz do Iguaçu is to organise a transfer from your hotel.
If you are on a budget, you can reach the falls by local transport. Take the bus number 120 for Parque Nacional/Aeroporto. This bus departs from Terminal Transporte Urbano (TTU) in Foz do Iguacu city centre and goes to the entrance of Iguazú National Park on the Brazilian side of the falls, via Foz do Iguaçu airport.
For the most convenient way to get to Iguazu Falls, book a transfer direct from your hotel in advance, including your entrance ticket to the falls.
Visiting the falls from the Brazilian side
From the entrance of Iguazú National Park on the Brazilian side of the falls, there are a number of pretty trails along the forest wall. From here, you can view the scale and panorama of these impressive waterfalls, as well as the local wildlife.
At the end you come to Devil’s Throat, a U-shaped chasm where you can truly appreciate the sheer power and volume of this natural wonder. The falls cascade over cliff, bouncing off the shiny rocks and thrusting into the water below, generating a gauze of cool white mist that seems to cover everything.
There is a walkway, where you can venture out and get a good view of Devil’s Throat head on. Needless to say, you get wet, but on a humid day, it is refreshing.
Where to stay in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina
From the Terminal Transporte Urbano (TTU) in Foz do Iguacu, you can catch a bus that will take you to the border with Argentina and connect you on the other side with another bus that will take you to Puerto Iguazú.
The best hostel in Puerto Iguazú is the Ambay Suites & Dorms, which is exceptionally comfortable and clean. A great guest house is the Hospedaje Jose Gorgues, where the hosts go above and beyond to make sure you enjoy your stay. For a brilliant budget hotel, head to the Posada del Jacarandá, which has a great outdoor pool. If you want to splash out on accommodation with views of the falls from your room, check out the gorgeous Gran Melia Iguazu. Other beautiful hotel options include the Loi Suites Iguazu Hotel, for a luxury jungle retreat, and the Tupa Lodge, which has lovely views over the river.
Book a tour of the Iguazu Falls directly from your hotel in Puerto Iguazú.
Visiting Iguazu Falls from Argentina
The bus from Puerto Iguazú to Cataratas Argentinas, for the Iguazu Falls, is operated by Rio Uruguay and runs every 20 minutes. The journey to the falls takes 20 minutes.
From the Argentinian side, you can see the Iguazu Falls up close and personal, and even get inside them. Some of the views here are so beautiful, as the falls interweave with rocks, islands and greenery.
This side of the falls offers an upper and lower trail. The lower trail leads to a boat launch station where you wrap your belongings carefully in a waterproof sack, don your choice of swimwear or waterproof cagoule and prepare for a watery onslaught. After a few photo opportunities, the boat’s driver takes you through the damp mist to the base of the powerful falls – and then travels inside them.
As the white water slaps forcefully onto your head and all over you, you feel like you can no longer make out which way is up and it’s hard to even open your eyes. The second part of the falls we venture into is even more of a shock with the sheer weight of the water on top of us. What an experience. Drenched, exhilarated and happy, we took the rest of the walking trails to dry off.
From the upper trail you see so many astounding sights of this wondrous natural spectacle, from a variety of angles, you almost run out of space on your camera.
Following the first day on the Brazilian side, I was a little concerned I’d feel waterfalled-out with another day at this spot, but far from it.
It’s an awe-inspiring place as you appreciate the wildness and power of nature in its element. Iguazu Falls is most definitely ‘big water’ at its best.
Next, check out my full guide to backpacking Buenos Aires, Argentina’s colourful capital city.