What Is Iguazu Falls?
Iguazu Falls is a chain of hundreds of waterfalls that stretch nearly 1.85 miles long. This system of waterfalls is located on the Iguazu River, which creates a border between Argentina and Brazil. Together, the individual falls make up the largest waterfall system in the world and are one of the most popular stops for Argentina group tours.
Iguazu Falls sits within the Iguazu National Park. The park was created in 1937 to conserve the environment and biodiversity of the falls. In 2011, UNESCO named the falls as one of the new Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Visitors marvel at this unique natural environment, which includes 275 waterfalls, 80 percent of which are located on the Argentine side. You can also find La Garganta del Diablo, or “The Devil’s Throat,” on this side of the falls. The Devil’s Throat is the most visited waterfall in the park – a torrent of cascading water plummets 262 feet into the river, creating an amazing spectacle of raw majesty. This impressive natural feature has the largest water flow in the world.
Plane, Train, or Automobile - Getting to Iguazu Falls
Visiting Iguazu Falls is easy – just reserve a spot with one of the many Iguazu Falls tour packages that are available to international travelers. To get to the falls, your tour guide will likely book a flight for you from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu. Puerto Iguazu is the closest town to Iguazu National Park and is a great place to set up a base camp for your adventures. Flying is the quickest and most convenient way to reach Iguazu Falls, and the most recommended route if you tour Argentina with a guide. The flight is a short two-hour trip from the country’s capital, compared to a 20-hour bus ride from Buenos Aires. It’s easy to see why flying is the desired mode of transportation!
What Can I Do At Iguazu Falls?
Spending the day at Iguazu National Park is an adventure! The entrance fee to the park includes access to the trails leading to various waterfalls and the use of the train that runs through the park at no extra cost. However, if you are part of the many Argentina group tours that visit the park each day, your entrance fee has already been covered! The park is sprawling, however, and getting to the many falls requires a fair amount of walking. Once you get tired of walking, you can take a boat ride under the waterfalls to get a unique view of the river and the falls that make it so special.
Of course, most Iguazu Fall tour packages include a good bit of walking to take in the unique biodiversity of the jungle that surrounds the falls. Iguazu National Park includes six individual circuits to tour the park, including:
- The Superior Circuit – this trail gives visitors a panoramic view of Iguazu Falls from the upper walkways surrounding the falls. The trail is approximately one mile long and is suitable for people of all fitness levels. Along the way, you can see the following waterfalls: Dos Hermanas, Chico, Ramirez, Bosetti, Adan and Eva, Mendez, and Mbigua.
- The Lower Circuit – This trail takes you through the jungle, where you will see the flora and fauna that is native to the area. (Visitors will need to climb up and down stairs.) At the end of the path, you will be rewarded with a view of the Devil’s Throat.
- Devil’s Throat – To get to the Devil’s throat, you will need to ride the Ecological Train of the Jungle, which takes all visitors through the park. The train will take you to the pathway that leads directly to the Devil’s Throat. The walkway is less than a mile long, and the path is flat. It ends in a viewing platform directly below this magnificent waterfall, where you can watch the massive flow of water disappear into the mist it creates when it crashes into the Iguazu River.
- Macuco Trail – This trail is approximately 4 miles long and leads to the Arrechea Waterfall. Along the way, visitors can see native plants and animals, including groups of capuchin monkeys!
- Rainforest Ecological Train – this train is a favorite of visitors with Argentina group tours! It transports people through the park while maintaining the integrity of the jungle. It also uses a special fuel that minimizes waste and does not make noise that might startle resident animals. You can ride the train directly to the path that leads to the Devil’s Throat, or you can take a round-trip tour of the park.
- The Green Trail – this short trail is an easy, flat path that anyone can access. It connects the park’s visitor center to the Cataratas train station. It also connects to the Lower or Upper Circuits, allowing visitors to customize their walking route.
The Wildlife of Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls is home to a variety of animal life that cannot be found anywhere else in Argentina! The subtropical climate and jungle plants create a perfect home for some very unique creatures. Iguazu Falls tour packages should include plenty of time to explore the park via its six circuits, which will allow you to spot these native creatures.
- Coati – this small, four-legged animal with a long tail is a member of the raccoon family. The coati is native to South America, but acts very much like its North American relative – it is an expert scavenger and can often be found begging tourists for food. (However, visitors are strongly encouraged not to feed them!)
- Toucan – the trees lining the Devil’s Throat circuit is filled with these colorful, large-billed birds.
- Harpy Eagle – not only is the Harpy Eagle the largest bird in Iguazu National Park, but it is also the largest bird in the world! Harpy Eagles prey on a variety of species, ranging from rats and mice to small primates, which are plentiful in the rainforest.
- Capuchin monkeys – this small, agile monkey is familiar to visitors. Known as an “organ grinder” monkey, they often are featured in films because they are clever and easy to train. The capuchin monkey is native to South America and lives in groups of 15-20. They are easy to spot in the trees of Iguazu National Park!
- South American Tapir – this mammal is one of the park’s largest animals. It stands more than 3 feet tall at the shoulder and weighs up to 700 pounds. This peaceful herbivore can be spotted searching for leaves, fruits, and aquatic plants around Iguazu Falls.
- Giant Anteater – this large mammal weighs up to 90 pounds. Giant anteaters use their long, sticky tongues and powerful front legs to reach and access hiding ants and other small insects.
- Yacare Caimin – this medium-sized reptile is between 5 and 8 feet in length. You can see them floating in the Iguazu River or sunning themselves on nearby shores. Yacare caiman feed on aquatic snails, fish, amphibians, and snakes – but have been known to feast on large mammals like capybara, too!
Finding The Best Iguazu Falls Tour Packages
Once you decide to tour Argentina, make sure you book with a tour company that includes at least a day trip to Iguazu Falls in your itinerary! The falls are one of the most spectacular natural sites in Argentina, and definitely worth a trip. Get ready to enjoy the unique biodiversity of Iguazu National Park, as well as the natural beauty of the falls that make the area simply breathtaking.