A long curtain of water spills over verdant cliffs.

The Iguaçu Falls, also known as Iguazu Falls. Photo © Daniel Wiedemann.

By consensus, the Brazilian side of the border offers the best panoramas of the falls, even if the Argentine side provides better close-ups. Fauna, flora, and services are similar on both sides, but the Brazilian side has fewer easily accessible areas for roaming. The best views are available along the trail leading from Hotel Tropical das Cataratas down to the riverside overlook.

Like the Argentine side, its infrastructure has undergone considerable changes in recent years, with private vehicles consigned to parking lots and shuttle buses carrying passengers to the falls. One unchanged feature is the noisy 10-minute helicopter overflights, which Argentine authorities complain disrupt nesting birds and other wildlife.

The park’s only accommodations are at the Hotel Tropical das Cataratas (tel. 55/45/2102-7000, US$275–915 s or d), oozing a tasteful tropicality that Argentina’s concrete Sheraton bunker can hardly match.

Payable in Brazilian, Argentine, or U.S. currency, the admission charge is equivalent to US$3.50 for local residents, US$10 for other Brazilians, US$15 for residents of other Mercosur countries, and US$18 for all other foreigners. Park hours are 9 a.m.–6 p.m. daily October–March, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily April–September.

From Puerto Iguazú’s terminal, take any Tres Fronteras, Risa, or El Práctico bus over the Puente Internacional Tancredo Neves, the bridge over the Río Iguazú. These buses go to downtown Foz do Iguaçu’s local bus terminal, at Avenida Juscelino Kubitschek and Rua Mem de Sá, where Transbalan city buses leave directly for the park. Park-bound passengers from Argentina, though, can disembark at the Avenida das Cataratas junction, just north of the bridge, and take the Transbalan bus to the park entrance.

Nationalities needing visas can get same-day service at Puerto Iguazú’s Brazilian consulate (Avenida Córdoba 264, tel. 03757/42-1348) by providing one photograph and paying approximately US$170 (in Argentine pesos only, refunded if the visa is not granted). The consulate is open 7 a.m.–1 p.m. weekdays only; the staff speak only Portuguese.

Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Chile.