Puerto Iguazu: There’s more to it than the falls

It’s not all about the Iguazu Falls you know. Okay, it is – but if you have some extra time..

It obviously helped that we visited Iguazu Falls on my birthday, and the day started off with surprise gifts and chocolate, so things really started on a high.

There’s no easy answer if you’re trying to pick between seeing the falls on the Argentinian side, or the Brazilian side, and I can only answer the greedy option: both. They’re so vastly different on each side, and while you’ll get the sweeping views from the Argentinian side, you’ll get way closer on the Brazilian.

How to get there

While Puerto Iguazu is largely unremarkable, it’s a good base for a night before checking out the falls. Especially after a long bus ride from Buenos Aires.

The bus will take you a whopping 16 to 18 hours, and all cost about the same. Just do us a favour and make sure you get ‘cama’ or ‘semicama’ level – where your seats recline all the way and you’ll get food and movies. From experience traveling in Argentina, go wtih Via Bariloche, Crucero Del Norte or Andesmar for comfort levels.

Stay

Hostel Inn Iguazu

Complete with large pool, spacious rooms and a decent breakfast, you can’t really go wrong with this one. It is slightly further out of town than many of the others, but that’s why you’re paying a cheaper price. We got a double room for the equivalent of $60 NZD.

Eat

Waiters/ friends

Nondescript parilla in the middle of town

Filet mignon the size of your head? You got it. Puerto Iguazu hasn’t yet succumbed to the tourist drive that’s overwhelmed some of its international counterparts, mostly because people usually come for the falls and don’t bother with the surrounding town or scenery. That means that there’s still plenty of places to eat, stay and socialise. Wander the streets and just pick restaurants at will, we didn’t experience a single bad meal here. And if it’s your birthday, your waiters might just bring you out a flan with a candle lodged in the middle. And that my friends, is how to earn a tip.

Do

The Triple Frontier

The meeting place of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. But unfortunately, none of them got the naming rights. This is where the Rio Uruguay creates a border between the three countries, and from which you can see the border towns of Ciudad Del Este (Paraguay), Puerto Iguazu and Foz de Iguazu (Brazil). Must have really sucked to be Paraguay, missing out on even a look in to the falls.

The tri-border area also been in the likes of Miami Vice and NCIS, so that’s when you know it’s a big deal.

La Casa De Las Bottellas

A thing not water-related to do, which is made all the more interesting when your travel companion is all about sustainability. This house is made primarily out of recycled plastic water bottles, and it all but beat everyone to the sustainability trend. For only a couple of bolivianos, and situated almost right next to our hotel, it’s worth a peek.

Guira Oga

A rehabilitation and wildlife refuge and animal hospital, which also carries out important research into the Iguazu forest and has several breeding programmes for endangered species. You’ll get on board a jeep and be driven through the park to take in its animals and programmes.

Watch the semi-final of the Fifa World Cup when Argentina loses

And then get the hell out as fast as you can.

Chaos in the streets
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