Many cruises in South America begin or end in Buenos Aires and the cruise we took last year was no different. We built in an extra day in Buenos Aires at the end of our cruise and enjoyed our Food Tour and walking around Buenos Aires.
We wanted to do something different, something more. We both love the beauty we see in nature and I had heard a few years earlier about Iguazu Falls. These waterfalls are on the border of Brazil and Argentina though about 80% of the falls are actually in Argentina.
Iguazu Falls are one of the new seven wonders of the natural world as voted by thousands of people worldwide. The falls are the largest waterfall system in the world. They are so large that they are broken down into the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. From my experience, the park in Argentina has beautiful views of the Upper Falls as you look down and Brazil has great boardwalks out to see the bottom of the falls. These falls are often compared to Victoria Falls because of the sheer size of the falls. Iguazu Falls are wider but since they have so many islands in the river that they break up the water into many smaller falls; they do not have the large amount of water going over the falls at one place. Instead, Iguazu has about 275 separate falls which, to me, adds to it beauty. The spray from the falls can be seen from quite a distance from the falls and was very visable as we flew to the airport. In some spots the falls reminded me of waterfalls in Hawaii because of all the green vegetation.
So how did we get to Iguazu? We booked tickets on Aerolineas Argentina from the city airport in Buenos Aires (airport code AEP) – not the international airport which is about 30 miles outside of the city. We booked economy tickets but “bid” on an upgrade to First Class which we received. A lunch came with our first class seats as well as being able to have a second piece of checked luggage.
We arrived into the small airport on the Argentina side – Cataratas Iguazu. There is another airport on the Brazilian side – Foz do Iguaco. We originally had booked a driver through our hotel, The Melia, but he never showed up. We saw passenger after passenger go to a little booth near the exit doors where they booked cabs that were waiting outside. We ended up canceling the driver and took one of the cabs. The pricing was the same so if you decide to go to Puerto Iguazu, don’t worry about getting a cab to your hotel.
As we drove into the National Park, our cab driver dropped us off at the ticket office where we had to pay 500 Argentinian pesos each for our fee to go into the park where our hotel is located. You also need to bring your passport with you when you go to the ticket office. Save your ticket in case you go in and out of the park.
We quickly got back into the cab and about ten minutes later we arrived at our hotel, The Melia. When we booked it, it was The Sheraton but sometime after our booking and before our stay, it was purchased and renamed by The Melia. I booked it on points and I had received an email a few months prior letting me know about the change of ownership and that my point reservation would be honored. I had read various reviews on Trip Advisor about the Sheraton but it was the ONLY hotel in the park on the Argentinian side so I knew we wanted to stay there. The hotel was in a state of remodeling which they needed to update it but it did not affect us.
The back of the hotel had the most beautiful view of the Falls and the lawn and paths leading to the Falls. There was also a swimming pool with lounger chairs around it. A great way to cool down after walking to the Falls.
Our room was ready when we checked in and we wasted no time in dropping off our suitcase and heading outside. What we liked about staying here is that the paths to the falls were all level and very easy to follow. I would say for the most part other than a few steps here and there that it was mobility accessible. We didn’t go all the way out but enough of the way to be mesmerized by the volume of all the falls, the noise of the rushing water, the beauty, the rainbows that were over the falls and the many butterflies that were all around. You know those times where you are somewhere and just can’t believe it? That’s how I felt. I was in Argentina and at Iguazu Falls. It was really hot and humid here and after going about halfway, we turned around and walked back to the hotel.
While Blogger Hubby took a quick nap, I got into my swimsuit and went into the lower level of the hotel where there was an indoor pool with about 20 jets all around the pool and they felt wonderful.
Feeling refreshed we went to the bar in the lobby and noticed they were going to be having a tango demonstration. Lots of little bar tables and chair surrounded the dance floor. The bar area had delicious bar food, appetizers and burgers. If you wanted something more, there was a dining room downstairs where my friends and I ate. Sorry for the blurry picture below.
This is an unpublicized roof top area. You have to ask at the desk for the key but going up there, the views are unparalleled. We brought our drinks there, sat on the few chairs they had and just took it all in.
The next morning we walked out front of our hotel and followed a path to the central train station to board the Ecological Jungle to take us into the Devil’s Throat area. I’m told this is the only way to get to this section of the Falls.
Once there we walked on some of the walkways to get so very close to the edge of the Falls. You will get wet if you walk all the way out but I highly recommend it.
Here are a few pictures. The one of me is not very flattering but it gives you an idea of the sheer volume of water going over the edge of the falls.
All along the walkway we saw many unique butterflies. In fact, there were so many that were flying around us, landing on us that at one point we felt surrounded like them and they felt like a nuisance. Can you imagine anyone feeling that way about butterflies?
We walked back and saw a few animals along the path headed back to the hotel. We were warned by the hotel to not leave our sliding glass door unlocked because howler monkeys knew how to open them. We saw birds
After we walked back to The Melia, we packed up and left to go to the Brazilian side to see the falls there. Since we had very little Argentinian money left we had the hotel call us a cab that would take a credit card. If you do this, make sure you use a credit card that doesn’t charge you any foreign transaction fees.
Tips for visiting the Falls:
- take insect repellant – this is a subtropical area
- bring plenty of water and drink it
- wear toe enclosed and comfortable shoes. We stayed on the paths but you might not
- don’t forget your camera. I brought my cellphone and a point and shoot
- if you go out to the edge of the falls you might want to consider a rain poncho
- sunscreen is a must
- if you plan on spending a long time, bring snacks with you. I brought a few granola bars in my backpack
- did I say bring water?
- do not pet or feed the animals. There are signs posted all around letting you know how dangerous they are.
- if you have the means, book a helicopter tour over the falls. You may have to book it early.
Next post – going to Brazil!