Iguaçu Falls – backpacking Brazil

The Iguaçu Falls are a source of great pride for both Brazilians and Argentinians. All 275 waterfalls (!!!) straddle the border between the two countries, and natives from either side will swear blind that the view from their side is by far the best. We only visited the falls on the Brazilian side, but it’s fairly easy to see them both on consecutive days – something we thought about doing, but for us getting to see the Brazilian side turned out to be more than enough. It is quite simply breathtaking!

How to get to Iguaçu Falls

The falls are located in the Parque National do Iguaçu, about 40 minutes by bus from the town of Foz do Iguaçu where most visitors stay.

What to do at Iguaçu Falls

The National Park is huge with lots to do, but the main attraction is obviously the falls. From the park’s entrance, a shuttle bus takes visitors to a 1.2km walking trail towards the waterfalls that’s paved through the jungle. Along the way there’s lots of great vantage points to soak up the view and take photos; I was more awestruck each time we got a glimpse of a new waterfall or saw things from a different angle.

How to get to Iguazu fallsBackpacking Brazil Iguazu falls

But nothing compares to the up close views when the trail culminates at the Garganta do Diablo. A walkway goes out along the water and brings you face to face with one of the biggest falls. Prepare to get wet! The sheer power of the water breaking means that everybody on the platform ends up soaked..

Backpacking Brazil Iguazu FallsIguazu falls day trip

Iguaçu falls boat trip

Our highlight was yet to come though. We had heard about companies offering boat trips of the falls, but thought it would be way out of our price range. As it turned out, it was, but we did it anyway… who needs to eat! The trip first takes you a couple of miles through the jungle in a Jeep until you reach the Iguaçu river, where you strap on your life jacket and jump into a speedboat. It’s a really bumpy, white water ride that takes you right underneath some of the waterfalls. I was nervous at first but it was amazing – it was one of the best things I’ve done and was such an amazing way to experience Iguaçu up close.

Iguacu falls boat tripIguacu falls boat trip

**The boat trip cost £50 per person so was actually quite reasonable, we were just already half broke by this point – Brazil is EXPENSIVE.**

Apart from the falls, the park has a few hiking and cycling trails you can take to try and spot some wildlife. We didn’t see much apart from the ubiquitous coatis that basically rule the park. They’re so cute and are absolutely everywhere. Looks can be deceiving though as they can actually be quite vicious, especially if there’s food involved! We saw a gang of them jump on some poor guy’s table and snatch his lunch straight out of his hands!

Iguacu falls wildlife

Aside from the coatis, we only saw a few big lizards and a lot of different butterfly species, but there are plenty more animals lurking around the park – even a few wild jaguars. I almost cried when I saw this sign! Luckily for me we didn’t run in to any though, much to Jordan’s disappointment…

Iguacu falls wildlife

Iguaçu falls hostels

To visit the Iguaçu falls, you’ll have to stay in the town of Foz Do Iguaçu. Don’t expect much from this place – as it sees so many tourists I expected there to be a lot going on here, but it’s totally dead. So different to everywhere else I’ve seen in Brazil where the vibe is electric 24/7! There are a few hostels here though and some bars and restaurants. We stayed at Che Lagarto and it was really great, with a bar, good common areas and and a rooftop pool.

I’ll leave you with a few more photos of the Iguaçu falls, as I’m sure pictures can do them a lot more justice than I can!

Backpacking Brazil Iguacu fallsBackpacking Brazil Iguacu fallsBackpacking Brazil Iguacu fallsBackpacking Brazil Iguacu fallsBackpacking Brazil Iguacu falls

Hats off to you, nature! ✌️

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