Iguazu Falls: Argentina Vs Brazil - Which Side is Better?
One of the highlights of our South American adventure was no doubt the Iguazu Falls. Split between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls are one of the largest waterfalls in the world. A collective of 275 spectacular falls which extend for nearly 3 kilometres in a semi-circular shape.
The star of the show here is the Devil’s Throat, the largest of the falls in the area. Around half the Iguazu River’s flow falls into the long and narrow U-shaped chasm. At 82m high, 150m wide and 700m long, the Devil’s Throat is an amazing force of nature. Other impressive Iguazu curtains of water have also been given names, such San Martin Falls, Bossetti Falls and many others.
The only other waterfalls in the world that can compete with Iguazu would be the hugely famous Niagra Falls in the United States and Victoria Falls in Southern Africa. But at 50m high, even Niagra comes in a third shorter than Iguazu, which gives you some comparison. And due to spanning across 275 separate falls, Iguazu comes in wider than Victoria. However, at 100m in height, Victoria Falls does win the prize for tallest.
Due to travelling extensively across South America, we were lucky enough to visit the falls from the Argentinean and Brazilian side of the border. We chose to enter Brazil from Argentina at the Iguazu border crossing so we could access as much of the falls as we possibly could. It may have been our only opportunity to visit this area so we wanted to make the most of it!
But not all travellers have the same opportunity to visit the falls from both sides. We met plenty of people that had to make a choice due to time constraints, budget or planned routes they were committed to taking.
Argentina Vs Brazil – Which Side is Better?
If you’re having the Iguazu Falls Argentina vs Brazil debate, let us tell you that both sides are great, but we do have our favourite. If you have the time and budget to see both then please do, as they offer different experiences and views of the falls. But if you have to choose to view the falls from only one side of the border, then we hope the rest of this post helps.
How the Iguazu Falls are Split Between Brazil and Argentina
If you want to see as many of the 275 falls as possible, then we recommend visiting the falls in Argentina. The border runs right through the middle of the Devil’s Throat with 20% falling on the Brazilian side and an impressive 80% in Argentina.
Devil’s Throat Viewpoints
Both of the Devil’s Throat viewing platforms on each side or the border allow a close-up look at the main attraction, but both offer a very different experience and photo opportunity.
The Brazilian side offers a fantastic panoramic view of the whole chasm. Almost 360 degrees! The main Brazilian viewing platform is situated midway from the top to the bottom of the falls, so you can get a good perspective of its full height. It’s impossible not to take that perfect photo here.
The Argentina viewing platform is best for an aerial view. Situated at its top, right on the edge, it’s here where you appreciate the absolute enormity and power of the falls. The deafening noise helps you understand why Iguazu holds the title for the greatest average annual flow of water in the world.
Walking Trails and Alternative Access
On both sides or the border, Iguazu Falls are set amongst National Parks, which consist of subtropical rainforests that are home to hundreds of rare and endangered species of flora and fauna.
The Argentinian side gives you the best opportunity to explore this lush landscape and its inhabitants. There are a number of mapped walking trails that wind through the jungle. Some trails are long and some are short, so you can pick which you want to walk based on your fitness levels and what you want to see.
Each trail has its own number of viewpoints to see the many dramatic cascades of water. We spent a whole day enjoying these trails and our breaths were taken away at every view. We’d seen waterfalls before, but not on the scale of Iguazu Falls. The first viewpoint we came to almost brought us to tears because of the sheer beauty of what we were witnessing.
The much longer walking trails take you to more remote waterfalls deep in the jungle. If you want to venture to these falls, we recommend purchasing a multi-day ticket to the park as you won’t be able to fit seeing everything into one day.
If you’re unfortunate enough to not have a lot of time, then with only a 20% share of the falls, the Brazilian side can be done in just a couple of hours. The site entrance road and car park are situated close to the Devil’s Throat, so our visit consisted of just a single 30-45 minute walk through the rainforest with various panoramic views. The walk ends at Brazil’s main viewing platform of the Devil’s Throat.
If you don’t fancy walking at all, then the Brazilian side has an elevator at the last bus stop which will take you straight down to the main viewing platform. And the Argentinian side has its own little train with three stations. allowing visitors, if they wish, to ride all the way from the park’s site entrance to the Devil’s Throat. The only exercise needed from the train’s stop is a short stroll along the steel walkway to the main viewing platform.
Other Activities at Iguazu Falls
Both sides of Iguazu Falls offer boat trips to various points, but Brazil is the best option for a close up of the Devil’s Throat. The boats verge as closely as they possibly can to where the water crashes at the bottom. Boat trippers get a good soaking so don’t even bother taking a rain poncho, they won’t keep you dry!
For a bigger adrenaline rush, try rappelling down the waterfall via zip line in Argentina!
We didn’t try either of these activities because they weren’t cheap and we felt all the walking trails were enough fun for us.
Where to Stay During your Iguazu Falls Visit?
The falls may be visited from two main towns, one on either side of the border. Puerto Iguazu in Argentina and Foz do Iguacu in Brazil. Both are almost equal distance from the falls and neither take long to get there, so distance can’t be considered as a deciding factor for your choice of side. But they are very different towns.
Puerto Iguazu in Argentina is much smaller. Most of the people you’ll come across will be other travellers who are all there for the same reason – to see the falls. But it’s still a pleasant, safe and quiet town with lots of sleeping, eating and drinking options.
Foz do Iguacu is a much larger town and does not have the purpose built tourist town feel like Puerto Iguazu. It has its own sights and places of interest to offer so could be considered as somewhere to stay for a few days, rather than just a single night stop for the falls.
Our Conclusion of Iguazu Falls Argentina vs Brazil
For us, we preferred the experience on the Argentinian side. The simple fact that Argentina has the much larger majority (80%) of Iguazu’s Falls and National Park allows for a longer and more enjoyable day. Or multiple days!
We loved the varied selection of walking trails in Argentina, which increased our sightings of tropical birdlife, butterflies and animals. The higher amount of Argentinian viewpoints and the striking experience of standing at the Devil’s Throat edge is something everyone should encounter. We also preferred staying in the smaller town of Puerto Iguazu, it may be a tourist town, but that made it an exciting place to stay because we all shared the excitement of seeing the wonder of Iguazu Falls.