The epic Iguazú waterfalls which span both Argentina and Brazil are world famous and spectacular. We headed to Iguazú falls in July, and they were ridiculously and insanely busy. Here is how to beat the horrendous crowds at Iguazu falls Argentina.
How busy were Iguazú Falls?
On the Brazilian side of Iguazú falls, I got elbowed out the way multiple times. At one point, I waited to take a photo of the waterfalls for 10 minutes whilst a couple took a million (no exaggeration) extremely posed photos. I waited in a huge queue for the women’s toilets (there was not enough women’s toilets), almost peed myself and ended up in a foul mood. The crowds really made me not appreciate the beauty of these spectacular waterfalls. Here is a photograph of the crowds on the Brazil side:
Overtourism is becoming an issue across the world, and has been caused by Instagram and more people travelling. It’s wonderful that more people are getting the opportunity to see the world, however I do believe we need to spread ourselves out, visit places off season and get out of the “bucket list”/just visiting famous places mentality. I battled the crowds at Iguazú falls, but when I headed to Paraguay a few days later I got an entire UNESCO World Heritage site to myself.
Visit Iguazú Falls in low or mid season
We made a big mistake and visited Iguazú Falls in high season. Although ironically it was low season in other parts of Argentina, particularly in Patagonia which was AMAZING. Off-season is my favourite time to travel, as it often gives locals income in which they might not have had.
However if you can, arrange your trip to Iguazú Falls for mid-season which is July to October and from February to April. The weather is still nice at that time of year and the park is apparently less crowded with tourists.
If you do make the mistake of visiting in high season, you need to find ways to beat the hoards of people. When visiting the Argentinian side of Iguazú falls, we totally beat the crowds. We had the waterfalls pretty much to ourselves. The epic Iguazu falls Argentina took my breath away. I felt pretty emotional and like I finally appreciated these beautiful waterfalls. Here’s how we did it.
Brazilian side of Iguazú: Overtourism nightmare
On the Brazilian side I got pushed and shoved by people wanting selfies. The issue is you are bussed to a number of viewing points, unlike on the Argentinian side where you can explore them yourself. It is very hard to escape the hoards and it felt like you are on a mass tour with thousands of other people. Getting there as early as possible could help avoid the crowds on the Brazil side of Iguazú, we got there at 11am so not early enough!
Remember if you are coming from Argentina (Puerto Iguazú), you will need to cross over the border with Brazil to see the Brazilian side of Iguazú falls. We stayed in the Argentinian town of Puerto Iguazú, rather than Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazilian side.
Bus from Puerto Iguazú to the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls
To get from Puerto Iguazú to the Brazilian side of Iguazú falls, you can get a Rio Uruguay bus from the main bus terminal in Puerto Iguazú. When we were there, there were hourly departures from town and returns from the falls for ARS 320 return (£6 GBP / $8USD per person). Do check with Rio Uruguay at the bus station though.
The bus will stop and wait for you at the border as you exit Argentina and then drive you to the Brazilian border and wait for you to enter. Remember to check if you need a visa before entering Brazil and don’t forget your passport!
Beat the crowds: Iguazu Falls Argentina
For the Iguazu Falls Argentina we worked out a hack to beat the crowds. Get the earliest bus you can from the bus station in Puerto Iguazú. Check the bus times the day before you head to the Argentinian side of Iguazú falls.
We got up at 5:30am and got to the Argentinian Iguazú falls entrance by 8am. There were already big queues at the entrance. At 8am the gates open and you get through fairly fast. Just walk straight ahead following signs for the 2nd train station through a little bit of forest on a well-marked path. You’ll pass massive queues of people waiting to get the tourist train (Tren Ecologico De La Selva).
Travel hack: Don’t take the tourist train
If you take the tourist train you will arrive as a massive crowd. Instead just follow the tracks and head right to the most popular and spectacular viewpoint Garganta Del Diablo. We basically fast-walked / jogged to this viewpoint. It was only a couple of kilometers and we are fit.
We beat the first tourist train by about 20 minutes and therefore the massive endless crowds who took the tourist train. Once you get to the train station near the viewpoint of Garganta Del Diablo, it is a 700m walk over the water to the waterfalls along a raised walkway that is very beautiful. Don’t be tempted to stop yet though as everyone else won’t be too far behind you. Walk straight to the end which has the most epic view and save taking pictures for the way back!
Iguazu Falls Argentina at its most awesome
We got the best bit of the park virtually all to ourselves. It was magical and breathtaking. I finally appreciated the beauty of Iguazú waterfalls in a way you can’t when middle-aged, short, rotund Brazilian women are elbowing you out the way.
After the main Iguazú Falls Argentina viewpoint
For us, after racing to the main view point of Garganta Del Diablo, we could explore the other viewpoints with more ease. The other viewpoints and walkways (for example circuito superior and circuito inferior) on the Argentinian side of Iguazú weren’t too busy as it was still early and everyone was still at the main viewpoint. We got one of the empty trains back from Garganta Del Diablo after it had just dropped off shed loads of people. We walked the circuito superior and circuito inferior from near the entrance.
You could escape the crowds easier on the Argentinian than the Brazilian side. The Argentinian side still got insanely busy by the time we left though.
Price to visit Iguazú falls
We chose to see the falls from both the Argentinian side (Iguazú) and the Brazilian side (Foz do Iguaçu). It costs about the same on both sides (£15/per side/per person). You can pay in Argentinian Pesos, Brazilian Reals, USD and even Euros.
Other things to do in Iguazú:
- Head over to Paraguay to get a whole UNESCO World Heritage site all to yourself.
- Visit the bird park called Parque das Aves on the Brazilian side of Iguazu falls.
Getting from Buenos Aires to Iguazú falls:
We had to fly as the bus would take days as it’s 1,300km between Buenos Aires and Iguazú! When it comes to flying in Argentina, I recommend flying with Latam or Aerolineas Argentinas. They are the best reviewed airlines. Don’t get caught out in South America, some airlines are awful! The closest town to Iguazu falls on the Argentinian side is Puerto Iguazú. Thus, you need to fly into Puerto Iguazú.
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