Iguazu Falls: Which Side is Better?

Catwalks are on both sides of Iguazu Falls, but which side is better?
Because a waterfall such as Iguazu Falls spans two different countries it's natural to ask which side is better. In this case, is the Argentina side or Brazil side better?

Now I know there are those who'll dismiss this question and say, "well Iguazu Falls is good from both sides, but they're different." And that's very true. We'll break down why this is the case. Perhaps after the break down, you'll draw your own conclusions and decide how to plan and prepare for your trip accordingly...

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ARGENTINA SIDE
The Argentina side encompasses a much larger portion of Iguazu Falls than the Brazil side (at least from an area standpoint). This includes all of the San Martin Island (a large parcel of land that comprises one of the series of islands splitting the falls into two main components - Devil's Throat and then the rest). Catwalks are far longer in length than its Brazilian counterpart and this means you get right up to the majority of the network of waterfalls that make up the greater Iguazu Falls. The pictures below give you a taste of just how close you can get to the Argentina side of the falls...

Up close to the Salto San MartinUp close to the Salto San Martin

Up close to the Salto BossettiUp close to the Salto Bossetti

Closeup of Salto Bossetti from a lower catwalkCloseup of Salto Bossetti from a lower catwalk

Closeup of the Salto Bossetti from the lowest catwalkCloseup of the Salto Bossetti from the lowest catwalk

Closeup near Salto Bossetti from an upper catwalkCloseup near Salto Bossetti from an upper catwalk

Another closeup of Salto Bossetti from a lower catwalkAnother closeup of Salto Bossetti from a lower catwalk

In-your-face look at wall of water from Isla San MartinIn-your-face look at wall of water from Isla San Martin

Looking right down at the Salto Bossetti and catwalkLooking right down at the Salto Bossetti and catwalk

Direct view of Salto San Martin from the lowest catwalkDirect view of Salto San Martin from the lowest catwalk

In addition to getting up close to the immensity of the Iguazu Falls, there are also smaller waterfalls that are part of the greater network that you can get right up to for a much more intimate experience. This is exclusive to the Argentinean side. The photos below show some of the smaller named waterfalls you can get closer to...

Salto Alvar NunezSalto Alvar Nunez

Salto ChicoSalto Chico

Salto Dos HermanasSalto Dos Hermanas

In terms of wider panoramic views, you'll get pretty satisfying vistas of the side south of San Martin Island, which the following pictures demonstrate...

Profile views of the Argentina side of Iguazu FallsProfile views of the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls

View of the wide wall of water of Iguazu FallsView of the wide wall of water of Iguazu Falls

Direct view of Salto San Martin from Paseo InferiorDirect view of Salto San Martin from Paseo Inferior

The famous view of Iguazu Falls framed by palm treesThe famous view of Iguazu Falls framed by palm trees

Salto Escondido as seen from Isla San MartinSalto Escondido as seen from Isla San Martin

A little beach before Iguazu Falls on Isla San MartinA little beach before Iguazu Falls on Isla San Martin

Finally, the Argentina side does give you a taste of the most powerful component of Iguazu Falls - the Devil's Throat (La Garganta del Diablo). From the Paseo Inferior (Lower Level) catwalks, you'll only be limited to a rather distant view of the Devil's Throat. However, once you get onto the Paseo Garganta del Diablo (The Devil's Throat Walk), you'll get right up to the brink of the mighty torrent of water for a top-down view. The following photos show how the Devil's Throat looks from the Argentina side...

Looking downstream from the turbulent Devil's Throat from the Argentina sideLooking downstream from the turbulent Devil's Throat from the Argentina side

Looking right across La Garganta del Diablo from El Paseo de Garganta del DiabloLooking right across La Garganta del Diablo from El Paseo de Garganta del Diablo

Distant view of the Devil's Throat from El Paseo Inferior on the Argentina sideDistant view of the Devil's Throat from El Paseo Inferior on the Argentina side

The catwalk of El Paseo de Garganta del DiabloThe catwalk of El Paseo de Garganta del Diablo

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BRAZIL SIDE
The Brazil side encompasses a more compact area north of El Río de Iguassu (Iguassu River or Iguaçu River). The catwalks and trails are short but sweet. That's because in general, you'll get distant panoramic views of the Argentina side (including a side of San Martin Island that you don't really get to see from the Argentina side) and more frontal views of the awesome Devil's Throat. Below are some of the panoramic photos as seen from the Brazil side...

Looking towards the Argentina side from the Brazil sideLooking towards the Argentina side from the Brazil side

Another distant panorama of the Argentina waterfalls from BrazilAnother distant panorama of the Argentina waterfalls from Brazil

More zoomed in on the Argentina waterfalls from BrazilMore zoomed in on the Argentina waterfalls from Brazil

Come in the morning for rainbows when viewing from the Brazil sideCome in the morning for rainbows when viewing from the Brazil side

Looking towards Salto Tres Mosqueteros y Salto Rivadavia from the Brazil sideLooking towards Salto Tres Mosqueteros y Salto Rivadavia from the Brazil side

Brazil's distant panorama of the Devil's ThroatBrazil's distant panorama of the Devil's Throat

Looking right down at a San Martin Island waterfall from BrazilLooking right down at a San Martin Island waterfall from Brazil

In addition to the panoramas, there are also closeup and direct views of the Devil's Throat thanks to a catwalk that goes right out to it. Below are some photos of what you can expect on the Brazil side of the Devil's Throat...

The tip of the catwalk on the Brazil sideThe tip of the catwalk on the Brazil side

The catwalk fronting the Devil's ThroatThe catwalk fronting the Devil's Throat

Famous view of Iguassu Falls' Devil's Throat on the Brazil sideFamous view of Iguassu Falls' Devil's Throat on the Brazil side

Looking back at the catwalk with faint rainbow from the base of the Observation TowerLooking back at the catwalk with faint rainbow from the base of the Observation Tower

Looking down at the Devil's Throat from the top of the towerLooking down at the Devil's Throat from the top of the tower

The Brazilian walkThe Brazilian walk

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CONCLUSIONS
So obviously, it's worth seeing the falls from both sides. Clearly, they're different but beautiful and equally worthwhile. Unfortunately, visiting the Brazil side is a bit difficult due to their Visa Requirements (at least for Americans) and to a lesser extent their higher cost (higher than Argentina). Now while we had heard through the grapevine about safety issues on the Brazil side, that's something we honestly can't quantify. But that's not to say that you shouldn't put your guard down. On the contrary, it's probably wise to still be vigilant about your safety regardless of where you go.

Personally, we've gone through the trouble of jumping through hoops and over hurdles to visit the Brazil side for a half day, and we didn't regret it one bit (except for being a bit lighter on the wallet and patience thanks to the Brazil Visa Process). Thus, I can totally understand those who forsake the Brazil side.

Other comparisons between the two sides relate to the types of activities available. Depending on what you like you may find you prefer one type of experience over the other. Here's how this breaks down...

Coaties on the Argentina sideCoaties on the Argentina side

Interesting fuzzy worm near the Devil's Throat areaInteresting fuzzy worm near the Devil's Throat area

The Brazil side tends to be a bit more developed so it's not surprising that they have helicopter rides for an aerial view of the falls. There are also other parks like the Bird Park and even Above-the-Falls rafting trips as well as a chance to cross over to Paraguay on the Friendship Bridge for some shopping as well as some Itaipu Dam visits.

Conversely, the Argentina side seemed to focus more on being more environmentally friendly so you won't find a chopper tour and they have more subdued river and rainforest tours to better aprreciate the ecosystem (though the jet boat river trip is an exception as that's more about the thrills). You'll be walking through much more forested scenery than the Brazil side and you can even check out the cute coaties which frequent the catwalks and trails around the falls (just be aware that they can be aggressive since they're acclimated to human food).

So with all the textual and visual information provided here, we hope you can decide for yourself which side is better and plan your trip accordingly.



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