By Darren Griffiths

Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil - Which Side is Better?

25th January 2024

Iguaza Falls in Argentina and Brazil was one of the highlights of our South American adventure. Split between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls are one of the largest waterfalls in the world but which side of the falls should you visit them from? Do you want to see as many falls as possible, or get up close and personal with the Devil’s Throat by boat? We’ve visited Iguazu Falls from Argentina and Brazil and we’ll explain the pros and cons of visiting from each side below and show you why we prefer to visit Iguazu Falls from the Argentine side of the falls.

Intro to Iguazu Falls – the largest waterfall system in the world

A collective of 275 spectacular falls which extend for nearly 3 kilometres in a semi-circular shape. The falls divide the Iguazu River into two sections that are called the Upper and Lower Iguazu.

The star of the show here is the Devil’s Throat, the largest of the falls in the area. Around half of 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, made up of 14 waterfalls.

Other impressive Iguazu curtains of water have also been given names, such as San Martin Falls, Bossetti Falls, and many others.

Argentina viewpoint of the Devil's Throat, Iguazu Falls
Argentina viewpoint of the Devil’s Throat, Iguazu Falls

The only other waterfalls in the world that can compete with Iguazu would be the hugely famous Niagara Falls in the United States and Victoria Falls in Southern Africa.

But at 50m high, even Niagara Falls 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.

Argentina Vs Brazil – Which Side is Better?

Due to travelling extensively across South America, we were lucky enough to visit the falls during our trip to Argentina and the Brazilian side of the border.

Iguazu Falls from Argentina
Iguazu Falls from Argentina

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 who had to make a choice due to time constraints, budget, or planned routes they were committed to taking.

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.

Iguazu Falls, from an Argentina viewpoint
Iguazu Falls, from an Argentina viewpoint

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

Note: the Devil’s Throat is Garganta del Diablo in Spanish and Garganta do Diabo in Portuguese.

Both of the Devil’s Throat viewing platforms on each side or the border allows a close-up look at the main attraction, but both offer a very different experience and photo opportunity.

Iguazu Falls from the Devils Throat viewpoint in Brazil
Iguazu Falls from the Devils Throat viewpoint in Brazil

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.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina viewpoint
Iguazu Falls, Argentina viewpoint

The Argentinian side gives you the best opportunity to explore this lush landscape and its inhabitants. Several mapped walking trails 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 a 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.

Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls, Brazil viewpoint

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 National 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 Brazilian National Park 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.

Iguazu Falls from Brazil
Iguazu Falls from Brazil

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 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

Boat Ride

Both sides of Iguazu Falls offer boat trips on the Iguazu River to various points below the falls, but Brazil is the best option for a boat ride that provides a close-up of the Devil’s Throat.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina viewpoint
Iguazu Falls, Argentina viewpoint

The boats converge as closely as they possibly can to where the water crashes at the bottom.

If you take a boat trip you need to know that you’re going to get a good soaking so don’t even bother taking a rain poncho, they won’t keep you dry!

Ziplining

For a bigger adrenaline rush, try rappelling down the waterfall via zip line in Argentina!

Helicopter Ride

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, helicopter rides offer incredible views of the falls from both sides of the border!

We didn’t try 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?

Iguazu 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.

Devil's Throat Walkway above the Iguazu river, to Argentina viewpoint, Iguazu Falls
Devil’s Throat Walkway above the Iguazu River, to Argentina viewpoint, Iguazu Falls

Both are almost equal distance from the falls and neither takes 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

Puerto Iguazu in Argentina is much smaller.

The view of the Iguazu River from our hotel in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina
The view of the Iguazu River from our hotel in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

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

Foz do Iguacu is a much larger town and does not have the purpose-built tourist town feel like Puerto Iguazu.

Skyline of Foz do Iguacu, Brazil

Foz do Iguacu 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 Iguazu Falls.

Our Conclusion of Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil Comparison

For us, we preferred the experience of visiting Iguazu Falls National Park on the Argentinian side.

Iguazu Falls National Park, Argentina viewpoint
Iguazu Falls National Park, Argentina viewpoint

The simple fact that Argentina has the much larger majority (80%) of Iguazu’s Falls and that Iguazu National Park allows for a longer and more enjoyable day. Or multiple days!

We loved the varied selection of walking trails in the National Park, 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 experience.

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If you're having the Iguazu Falls Argentina vs Brazil debate, read this article for information and photos to help you decide which side is best for you.