South America

From Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls

Going from Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls was the best part of my South America trip.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Buenos Aires — but it was a very big city. I consistently got lost, and I never quite figured out the bus system. I made the same walk every day, and yet I made a wrong turn 2 out of 10 times. Needless to say, my teacher wasn’t impressed after I showed up late to class for the third time. Did I mention that there were only 5 people in the class?

After 4 weeks surrounded by large buildings and heavy traffic, I needed some nature. And I needed some heat — Buenos Aires in June isn’t exactly the warmest place to be. According to locals, Iguazú Falls was the place to go. Boy were they right.

North of Buenos Aires, Iguazú Falls is a treasure. I was in love with the falls from first glance, and even after hours and hours of exploring the falls from every conceivable angle, they never ceased to amaze me. I took hundreds of photos of the same view, and found something new to admire with every shot.

If you have the chance, I definitely recommend a trip to Iguazú Falls. One of the best choices I made while bumbling around South America was squeezing in an Iguazú trip.

Getting from Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls

From what I understand, the two best ways to travel around South America are bus and plane — and flights are often very expensive.

If I had more time, I’d have bought a bus ticket. It would have been a great way to see the Argentinian countryside, and save money. The bus tickets from Buenos Aires to Iguazú Falls that we saw on andesmar.com only ended up being around $60 roundtrip. However, I only had three days and it was a 17 to 20-hour bus ride. You see the problem?

So, I looked into flight costs and almost had a heart attack. I swear, my left arm started tingling.

I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to go. At the time, the average roundtrip flight from Buenos Aires to Iguazú cost about $1200. I didn’t even pay that much to get to Argentina! How was that even possible?

That’s how I learned that sometimes, there actually are such a thing as tourist prices. Upon searching for a flight in Spanish, I was able to get roundtrip tickets for about $280 at Atrápalo.com.

Puerto Iguazú

For two nights, we stayed at the Puerto Iguazú Hostel. It was reasonably priced, centrally located, and had a bunch of hammocks. In short, it was exactly my kind of place. We only had the evening to explore the town, but with the recommendations of hostel employees, we managed to get a lot done.

After a quick dinner, my friend and I decided to make the trek towards a lookout point where you could see both Brazil and Paraguay from across a river. On the way, we found a boat ride for only $5 that gave us an interesting view of the boarders of these countries.

The lookout point had some interesting water features. Though we went to Puerto Iguazú for the falls, the town was well worth a visit.

The Falls

Depending on your VISA, you could easily spend two days at the falls. There is an Argentinian and Brazilian side, and tourists often spend a day on each side. As a U.S. citizen, I needed a VISA for the Brazilian side. So, I stayed on the Argentinian side. Despite this, I don’t feel like I missed anything.

There are multiple paths you can take to and around the falls, as well as a train that will take you to the top. I recommend you ask someone who works there where you should start. We did that, and I think we were told to start at the top and work our way down for the best sunlight.

There are gruesome signs all around the park warning tourists not to feed or get too close to the monkeys and coatis. These signs are largely ignored. I watched a woman allow her child to hand a sandwich to monkey while the monkeys and coatis seemed to be in the middle of a turf war. Ok, then.

Like. Niagara, there is a boat that will take you into the falls. Predictably, I demanded we take it. This was a poor choice in July when it was only 70 degrees. On the bright side, the freezing water really woke me up. I was already awake, of course, but I’m trying to be a more positive person.

There is no doubt about it, Iguazú Falls is a touristy location. But I’ll tell you right now, it’s not overhyped (I’m looking at you Mona Lisa). Even if you’ve seen countless waterfalls before, nothing will prepare you for the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site. I might even go so far as to say it’s worth that $1200 ticket.

Ok, it’s not worth $1200.

But I thought about it, and that’s all that matters.

“High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.”
― Mark Twain

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