Suitcase on wheels     stuck in the snow   sniffer dog

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

16. Iguazú Falls (Brazil / Argentina)

Iguazú Falls is at the border of Brazil and Argentina and is 275 waterfalls across 3km and supposedly 80m high. To see the falls properly you have to see them from both the Argentina side and the Brazil side, so they say.

Bus travel in Argentina (and Brazil) is divided into 4 classes - standard, semi-cama, cama and cama suite (cama means bed). Semi-cama is like an economy seat on a plane, cama is like a business class seat, and cama suite is a seat that goes completely flat like a bed. The trip from Florianópolis to Iguazú was another 12 hour+ overnighter so us boys decided we'd go for the cama suite this time. Oh, how we were looking forward to the cama suite. The schedule was tight - bus overnight, arrive 7am at Foz do Iguaçu, the nearby town on the Brazil side, check out the falls during the day, cross the border into Argentina, book a bus ticket back to B.A, stay a night in Argentina, and the following day check out the falls from the Argentina side and catch a night bus back to B.A that night.

Julien and Roger in the Pluma cama

It was pretty much mission accomplished, the only downer was the cama suite seat/bed we'd booked to Foz wasn't a bed after all but just a standard cama. Still comfortable, but not the bed we'd paid for.

The falls from the Brazil side

For those of you in South America, I've travelled with 3 bus companies - Flecha, Pluma, and Via Bariloche. Via Bariloche were the best, with great service - a steward with drinks and food, and DVD after DVD playing - in English with Spanish subtitles, not the dreadful overdubbed movies we got stuck with on Flecha. And as for Pluma - they didn't have any movies or food service - sucked.

The "Devil's Throat" part from the Argentina side.

As you can see from the 2 pics above, the main part of the falls is called the Devil's Throat, which is in the far distance in the Brazil shot but you can get much closer from the Argentinian side.
I preferred the Argentinian side, and having seen both sides I don't see the need to see them from Brazil. Both sides are quite expensive, Brazil charges 20 reals and Argentina 30 pesos. The best place was the photo above, where you could get close to the Devil's Throat. It was quite hypnotic gazing at the tonnes of falling water its patterns in the cascade, along with the noise, the rainbows, and the cooling spray. I don't know about it being 80m tall though, it looked only about 50m to me. Propaganda perhaps, or maybe I'm mistaken.

An ant chewing on my flip-flop

But the best part of the trip was the illegal swim we had on the Argentinian side. It was so hot the second day but it was forbidden to swim anywhere. But we came across a couple of young guys having a swim under one of the smaller falls so we were in straight away - bliss. We were only in for about 15 mins before a ranger blew his whistle and told us to get out, but it was just what we needed.

Another shot from the Argentine side

Crossing the border between Brazil and Argentina is too easy - we didn't even get stopped on the Brazil side so my passport has a Brazilian entry stamp but no exit stamp! Many countries require a visa for Brazil (US, Canada, Australia) and I'd wager that if you didn't have the visa you could enter Brazil here, and so long as you exit here again it shouldn't be a problem. But if you end up in jail don't blame me.

If you go to Iguazú stay at the Hostel Inn Iguazú, it's close to the falls and has a massive swimming pool. We didn't know about it so stayed in a hotel in town, but we passed the hostel on our bus to the falls - it looked great.

That evening we caught another night bus back to BA, again cama, not cama suite unfortunately. The highlight of that trip was seeing two dogs stuck together on the side in post-coital bliss.


  • Wicked, man you're taking some cool photos..

    By Blogger Hamiltron Stu, at 2:22 PM  

  • I thought you would have posted that comment about my beach pictures not the waterfalls :-)

    By Blogger mattyboy, at 4:37 AM  

  • I'll have to get the low down on all the buses - we're gonna do that same trip in Julio.

    By Blogger Nasty McFly, at 4:12 PM  

  • Bueno, ViaBariloche was my favourite company. Go for the cama suite, that's the bed. I think it's about $200 pesos but it may be less. I can't remember. And it took about 15 hours - but again I can't remember.

    Julio? I thought you were coming over in Mayo?

    By Blogger mattyboy, at 2:00 AM  

  • Hey, your blog is great! I am a 21 yr old from NY and my 2 friends and I are heading to SA this January. (We are actually doing the route you kinda did - BA to Iguazu over to Salta to Uyni then La Paz to Lake Titcaca then Cuzco and to Lima) I was wondering if you could answer a bus question for me. I am having trouble with booking buses. Is this because you cannot do it through the Internet or I just can't find it? Do you have the sites for buses thoughout Argentina? Any other advice would be helpful! My e-mail is

    Happy travels!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 PM  

  • Yep, you can't do it through the net, but don't worry you don't need to. There's so many buses that usually when I want to travel I just turn up and take the next one that's leaving. Or I'll book it the day before.

    However in high season you might have to wait a day or two... but as I said it's usually not a problem.

    By Blogger mattyboy, at 1:19 PM  

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