2-Day Itinerary for Iguazu Falls Argentina and Brazil

The waterfalls at Iguazu, on the border between Argentina and Brazil, are a must-visit when you’re in the region. The massive walls of water, plummeting down into the deep, draw millions of visitors each year. Some people dash in and out of the region in 1 day, but because there is so much to see and do, I strongly recommend at least 2 days to visit Iguazu Falls. Check my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil.

I share my practical tips to visit both the Argentinian side and the Brazilian side and other advice on how to make the most of your 2-days at Iguazu Falls.

I paid for everything in full myself. I was not paid or sponsored. All my opinions and experiences are my own.

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2-Day Itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil

When I planned my trip to Argentina, I knew I wanted to visit the Iguazu Falls but I didn’t really know what to expect and what to do there. As I wanted a more relaxed itinerary, I allocated 2 full days for Iguazu, leaving early morning on the 3rd day. 

In the end, I was extremely happy with the extra time at Iguazu and I can strongly recommend at least 2 days to visit Iguazu Falls. This guide is intended to give you a better idea of what to expect and how you can arrange your visit yourself.

This is a very thorough guide. If you feel like jumping ahead, click the links below. Or have a read below this table of contents.

What is Iguazu Falls?

Part of the puzzle and the confusion for independent travelers are the different names, locations, and logistics of a trip to Iguazu Falls. To keep things short and concise (and hopefully clear), I list the different names and explanations in the list below:

Map of the area in Argentina and Brazil around Parque Nacional Iguazú and Catarates del Iguazu and the towns ong Puerto Iguazú and Foz do Iguaçu.
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  • Iguazu Falls: general name of the waterfalls a Unesco World Heritage Site
  • Puerto Iguazú: closest town in Argentina to the falls
  • Foz de Iguaçú: closest town in Brazil to the falls
  • IGR: Iguazu Airport (Cataratas International Airport) in Argentina
  • IGU: Foz do Iguaçu International Airport in Brazil
  • Iguazu National Park (Parque Nacional Iguazú) in Argentina: the natural protected park in Argentina
  • Park Iguaçu (Iguazu Falls National Park) in Brasil: the protected park in Brazil. Spelling can also be Iguassu
  • Cataratas Iguazu: Cataratas is the Spanish word for waterfalls. Locals (taxi drivers, bus signs and local people) use Cataratas to indicate the falls on the Argentina side.

Now that we have the different names in the region out of the way, let’s see what the falls actually entail.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
Spectacular panoramic view of the Iguazú Falls

Iguazu Falls: spectacular waterfalls

The waterfalls of Iguazu span the border of Argentina and Brazil. Measuring 80 meters high at some point and spanning over 2,700 meters in diameter, the falls are massive. Having the waterfalls on 2 sides of the border doesn’t make things easier but the extra effort does make it more special.

The two national parks cover over 2.377 m2 (917 square miles) together and are home to over 2,000 species of plants and hundreds of animals. Among them are giant anteaters, howler monkeys, jaguars, and caymans. Coatis are represented in large numbers too but they can be nasty and violent near food so watch out for them.

During the rainy season (November to March) 450,000 cubic feet (12,750 cubic m) of water per second tumbles over the edge of the falls. I visited in October and I could clearly see some waterfalls had dried up a bit, but nevertheless, they looked massively impressive.

What to expect on a visit to Iguazu Falls?

I have never been to Niagara Falls or Victoria Falls. So I had no idea what to expect from Iguazu Falls. 

In general, it is a lot of water. But it is also an opportunity to walk in the rainforest and experience nature up close and personal. A huge variety of flora and the massive rumble of water are exciting to see. 

On different sides of the falls, you can opt in for several adrenaline adventures near the falls but you can also just sit and watch the water.

For me, the 2 days at Iguazu Falls were not the reason to travel to Argentina. But at the end of my trip, it sure ranked really high on the list of most awesome travel experiences. Everrrr

If you continue reading, I share my detailed 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls and specific things to see and do for 2 days at the waterfalls.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
Chasing rainbows and waterfalls at the same time!

Iguazu Falls: Argentina or Brazil?

One part of the waterfalls is on the Argentinian side, the other on the Brazilian side. Which side to choose? Where to base yourself if you wish to visit both sides and can you even visit both sides in one day?

Before I went to Argentina, I knew I wanted to try and see if I could visit both sides of Iguazu Falls. It turned out, it was dead easy and enriched my whole experience massively. 

If I knew it was that simple, I wouldn’t have worried so much beforehand. I’m glad you’re reading this because then I can help you decide and show you how to visit both sides of Iguazu Falls.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
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Puerto Iguazú Argentina

Puerto Iguazú is a town on the Argentinian side closest to the falls. It is small and mostly caters to day-trippers and people on 2-day waterfall trips in Argentina. It has a bus station in the center of town, loads of tourist offices, taxi stands, and a few hotels and restaurants. As most people spend their day at the National Park, the town is quiet during daytime hours.

How to get there

From Buenos Aires, you can take direct flights to IGR. The airport of Iguazu on the Argentinian side is located close to the National Park and about half an hour’s drive from Puerto Iguazú.

It is perfectly doable to head from the airport straight to the falls, but you can also head to your hotel first. I flew direct with Aerolineas Argentina and headed out on a direct flight to Salta.

If you travel by bus, you can head to Puerto Iguazu from almost all major cities in the surrounding area. During peak season, it is recommended to reserve a seat on the bus, but otherwise, you’ll be fine booking 1 or 2 days in advance, or try your luck and see if they can accommodate you on the day of your travels.

Depending on your plans, you can also consider renting a car. Car rentals at IGR airport can be arranged here.

This might be a good option if you’re sharing your trip with more people and want maximum freedom to move around. Make sure to read the terms and conditions if you can take your rental car across the border to Brazil or Paraguay.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
The brand-new IGR airport in Argentina is a breeze!

Where to stay

The best options for places to stay are in Puerto Iguazu in Argentina. From luxury 5-star jungle retreats to hostels, the place caters to all budgets. However, Puerto Iguazu is quite a small town and places do fill up. If you’re on the strictest of budgets, I recommend booking well in advance to secure those budget rooms. 

Make sure to choose a place wisely. Loads of nice resorts and hotels are located on the road from Puerto Iguazu to the park with the waterfalls. If you stay there, it means you’ll need to take a taxi or bus, every time you leave your hotel or resort.

I choose to stay at the Hotel Posada la Sorgente. It is located just off the main strip, a 5-minute walk from the bus station. It had a pool and on sight Italian restaurant where I ate 2 times. A bit pricier but very delicious food, although they are quite snobby about people who do not have a reservation. So if you think you’ll eat there, just pop your head in and make a reservation. The hotel only accepts cash for payment which is a bit odd but the beds are really comfortable and it feels like a little oasis. Their happy hour for cocktails is a welcome retreat after a long day at the waterfalls.

If you wish to stay inside Iguazú Falls National Park, this is an option too. The Grand Melia Iguazu is an option. Expect to break the bank for a waterfall view room, but who doesn’t want to wake up to that view? Click here for the different room options.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
The lovely oasis that I called ‘home’ for 2 nights in Puerto Iguazú Argentina

How to get around

Getting around Puerto Iguazu is super easy. There are taxi stands at almost all crossroads and buses to and from the National Park with the falls are frequent. I took the bus from the main bus station in Puerto Iguazu where several companies have shuttle services to the park.

Cataratas de Iguazú Argentina and Parque Nacional Iguazú Argentina

And then, of course, the actual National Park of Iguazu in Argentina! I absolutely loved it.

Allocate at least one full day for the waterfalls in Argentina as the park covers a large area and there are several ways to see the waterfalls. 

Below, I’ll go into more detail about exactly what you can do at Iguazu Falls in the park in Argentina. 

But in short, there is a jungle hiking trail, you can walk the lower and the upper circuit to see the waterfalls from below and from above and you can take the train to go to the ‘Devil’s throat’ (El Garganta del Diablo).

What this all means and how much time you need, I’ll explain below.

What you need to know, for now, is that going to the Argentinian side of Iguazu Falls gives you a good close look at the waterfalls.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
The Cataratas on the Argentinian Side.

How to get from Puerto Iguazu to Iguassu in Brazil?

I did not know it was that easy! 

From Puerto Iguazu bus station in Argentina, I walked up to the desk and asked when the next bus to Brazil would be. I had the option to choose from 2 bus companies. 

I bought a ticket, hopped on the bus and the bus driver took us to the border with Argentina. He walked with us to get our passport stamped and we continued to the Brazil border. Again a stamp and we continued to the National Park of Iguaçu in Brazil.

We disembarked the bus at the entrance of the park and after a couple of hours, the same bus driver picked us up again and we did the whole routine the other way around.

Depending on how busy the borders get and how many busses arrive at the same time and people need stamps, the procedure can take some time.

I traveled in October and went around noon and the whole trip took about 1 hour. This included driving, waiting at the borders and going to Brazil. Super easy!

You can also purchase a single ticket and continue your travel to Brazil. 

There are several bus operators and they each offer different services. Some go to Foz de Iguaçu (the city in Brazil) instead of the National Park with the waterfalls. Just check before you purchase your ticket.

A return ticket is the same price as two singles. I paid 360 ARS (6 US$ or 5,50 €) at the time but due to the major inflation, this might change again soon.

If taking the local buses from the bus station sounds a bit daunting to you, you can also opt to book a tour with hotel pick-up and a half-day trip to the Brazilian side. Check for options and prices here.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
Left Brazil, right and straight ahead is Argentina.

Foz de Iguaçu Brazil

Foz de Iguaçu in Brazil is the name of the town closest to the waterfalls on the Brazilian side. The city is much bigger than the town on the Argentinian side and you have numerous options for hotels, restaurants and other tourist outlets.

To be honest with you, I didn’t visit this town as it is not needed on a day trip from the Argentinian side, but to be complete, I wanted to include it here.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
The river forms the border between Brazil and Argentina and then suddenly drops 80 meters and forms the amazing Iguazu Falls

How to get there

You can fly to Foz do Iguaçu International Airport in Brazil (IGU) from many big cities in Brazil and abroad.

However, from Buenos Aires, you cannot fly directly to Foz de Iguaçu. Most flights first go to Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro and after a connection, you can fly to IGU.

If you’re in Argentina and you wish to go to this area in Brazil, it is easier to fly to IGR, the airport in Argentina, and then take a bus across the border.

Many long-distance buses from within Brazil have Foz de Iguaçu as a destination and buses across the border are very easy.

Where to stay

Foz de Iguaçu is a much bigger city than the town of Puerto Iguazú in Argentina. If you spend more time in Brazil, you can get better deals on accommodation in Brazil than in Argentina. For hotels, hostels, and apartments in Foz de Iguaçu, click here.

You can also stay at the swanky Belmont Hotel de Cataratas. Overlooking the National Park, you’ll not see the waterfalls from your room, but the location is amazing, regardless. Check if they can accommodate you, by clicking this link.

How to get around

From Foz de Iguaçu numerous buses leave to bring you to the National Park’s entrance and the airport and across the border.

Taxis are also widely available and things couldn’t be easier. The good thing about a town solely focusing on 1 activity is that everyone knows where tourists are going and how to serve them.

Iguazu Falls National Park – Brazil

The National Park of Iguazu Falls in Brazil is quite different from the Argentinian side.

Not better or worse, just different.

You have to take the free shuttle bus and there are a few stops before you get off at the waterfalls. You can follow a circuit parallel to the falls before you reach the final cascades.

Although the park in Brazil is bigger in square miles, it doesn’t feel that way. I spent roughly 3 to 4 hours inside the Iguazu Falls Park in Brazil and I felt I’d seen it all by the time I left. 

If you continue reading, I’ll share exactly what I did and what you can expect when you visit the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
The Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls offers a great opportunity for panoramic pictures.

2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls from Argentina

I only allocated 2 days to visit Iguazu Falls, before I continued my 3 week trip to Argentina. While I was planning my trip, I felt it was either too much time as I would stay on one side of the waterfalls, or it would be too little time as getting to Brazil and back would take more time.

In the end, my 2 full days at Iguazú Falls were just the right amount of time! Follow me on my 2-day itinerary to visit the waterfalls of Iguazu.

If you don’t like to plan and arrange everything yourself, you can easily book a 2-day trip from Buenos Aires to both sides of Iguazu Falls here.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
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Arrive at Puerto Iguazú Argentina

I took the 8 a.m. morning flight from Buenos Aires and landed at IGR at 9:55 a.m. As the terminal for domestic arrivals is super small, I was outside in less than 10 minutes. It was 11 a.m. when I was checked into my hotel, the Sorgada la Sorgente in Puerto Iguazú.

Check into your hotel in Puerto Iguazú

I arranged a transfer via the hotel. At the end of my stay, I found out it was a bit more expensive than regular taxis or even the taxi bus shuttle from the bus station, but I figured I didn’t want to waste time and get to the hotel as quickly as possible and start my day exploring the waterfalls. 

As soon as I arrived, the temperature difference hit me like a ton of bricks and I was happy to be dropped off at the entrance of my hotel and I could check in immediately.

TIP: Let your hotel know your arrival time. It is a good idea to drop off your bags and hit the town running if you arrive early. The Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side are a nice half-day trip, so you can easily do it on your arrival day.

Go to Iguazu Falls National Park Brazil from Argentina

I ditched my bags, put on a dress, put some sunscreen on my face, and slipped into my walking sandals as my hiking boots were wayyyyy too hot for this tropical climate.

It was only 3 blocks to the local bus station in Puerto Iguazu and I decided to try the bus. I contemplated taking a taxi across the border, given I only had half a day, but I figured the bus would be much cheaper and manageable.

As I arrived at the bus station, there were 2 offices open. One with a departure at noon and I walked a bit further to the other one. They had a bus leaving in 5 minutes. So I quickly bought a bottle of water and hopped on the bus!

Border crossing Argentina to Brazil

The bus was running specifically between Puerto Iguazu in Argentina to the waterfalls in Brazil. We wouldn’t stop at Foz de Iguaçu but go straight to the national park. First, we left Puerto Iguazú, turned left at the roundabout and it felt like 5 minutes before we were at the border!

We left the bus together with the bus driver, got inside the customs office, got an exit stamp from Argentina, and hopped back on the bus.

After a short drive, the bus driver parked the bus again. People who needed an entry stamp for Brazil got off the bus and we got our passports stamped for Brazil.

The whole border crossing took less than 15 minutes but it was out of season, our bus wasn’t full and we arrived in the middle of the day. Nevertheless, it was super efficient and quick.

We stopped at a few places in Brazil, like the Parque des Aves before we arrived at the National Park of Iguazu Falls in Brazil!

TIP: Check your nationality’s requirements for entering Brazil and Argentina before you go. You cannot get a visa issued when you travel on these buses. The bus will wait for everyone to get their stamps but there is no option to apply for visas. You need to have a visa in your passport or not need any visas to enter the country. 

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
The National Park of Iguaçu in Brazil

Exploring Iguazu Falls in Brazil

After a quick lunch at the park, I decided to go ahead. It was noon and I was eager to see some water falling down!

A half-day trip to Brazil is a really easy option because you can pay with a credit card everywhere in the National Park. You don’t have the exchange money or take Reals to visit the park in Brazil. 

You can purchase your ticket with a credit card and all cafés and shops in the National Park also accept credit cards. Super easy!

Once I bought my ticket, I walked to the (free) shuttle buses. The Iguazu Falls Park on the Brazilian side is quite stretched out. The bus takes roughly 20-30 minutes to arrive at the falls. You’ll drive on an asphalt road and it was nice to feel the air on my face as it was super humid.

There are 3 stops, one for the wild water rafting spot (you need to buy tickets at the park entrance) and the waterfall hike. The second stop is opposite the Belmond Hotel Cataratas and from here, you can walk to the final stop.

I strongly recommend to get off at the 2nd stop and walk to the other end. Why? I explain below.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
From the viewing tower, you’ll have sweeping views of the Iguazú River.

Waterfalls at the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls

Oddly enough, the national park in Brazil is bigger than the opposite side in Argentina. And people say you get up close to the waterfalls on the Argentinian side. And it is true. But why do I recommend also visiting the Brazilian side?

At first glance, it seems less interesting than the Argentinian side. But for me, visiting both sides and doing the Brazilian side first gave me a good insight into the vastness of the 2 National Parks, the height of the Iguazu Falls, and the massive amount of water flowing through them.

The good thing from the Brazilian side is that you have a perfect overview.

From almost all viewpoints on the Brazilian side, you can see the different cascades on the Argentinian side!

On the Argentinian side, there are more cascades, and more water flowing through, but if you’re that close, you cannot see it.

But from the Brazilian side, you can! You get a very impressive panoramic overview of the whole waterfalls.

For me, this was a vital part of my whole experience as you’ll appreciate the Iguazu Falls even more and can better understand the scale and magnitude of the water tumbling over the edge.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
The first views are a bit ‘meh’ but I promise you: they get better!

Walking in Iguazu Falls National Park in Brazil

I’m not going to lie. I got off at the second stop and after dreaming away at staying at the super luxurious Belmond Hotel, I descended the stairs to get to the walking path. It is a paved path with stairs and steps. None of the steps are too long or too steep so I’d say, it is easily manageable for anyone who can walk normally.

I even saw people carrying a stroller along the path. Unfortunately, not the whole path is wheelchair accessible, which to me, seems like an easy fix so everyone can enjoy the path. But I was glad it was not that hard. You’ll walk along the Iguazu River and from time to time you get breathtaking sweeping views of the falls on the other side.

At first glance, I thought: Is that it? It must be the wrong season because the first falls you’ll see are just a small stream of water tumbling down the rocks.

However, as I moved further along the path, the walls of water grew bigger and bigger, and even from this side you could hear the roar of the water plummeting into the deep.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
From the Brazilian side, you have great views of the waterfalls on the Argentinian side.

Devil’s Throat lookout point

The Mirante da Garganta do Diabo or the lookout point of the Devil’s Throat is the highlight of a visit to the Brazilian side of the waterfalls. It is close to bus stop 3, so if you don’t feel like walking (or are very short on time), you can go straight to this point.

The Devil’s Throat is a canyon, where half of the river’s water plummets to the deep. It is 80 to 90 m (260–300 ft) wide and 70 to 80 m (230–260 ft) deep.

Combined with the vast amounts of water rushing over the plateau, the narrow gorge, and the height, it causes an immense rumble, a permanent mist of spray, and very impressive sight!

From the Brazilian side, you walk over a walkway, elevated over the river’s water surface, looking up to some of the most impressive falls of Iguazu Falls. 

This part of the Brazilian National Park is the most crowded and the best opportunity for selfies with the waterfalls and Instagram moments. I think I spend roughly an hour at this part of the park, taking pictures, shooting video,s and waiting for the moment to take a picture at the far end of the walkway.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
The walls of water are very impressive.

How much time do you need for the Brazilian Side of Iguazú Falls?

Overall, I took my time to have lunch, get a drink, and buy my ticket. Together with the bus ride in the park, it took roughly an hour. Add another hour to really take your time to walk the walking path from bus stop 2 to bus stop 3. If you skip this, it is only 5 minutes on the bus.

Add another hour for selfies, picnic, and resting at the final viewpoint before heading back to the entrance.

In total, I spent 3.5 to 4 hours in the park and I really felt I’d seen it all.

By the end, I was soaking wet. Partly from the humid air of the rainforest and part from the spray of the waterfalls. I was tired and I had trouble digesting what I’d just seen. It really is overwhelming.

Return back to Argentina

In Argentina, I bought a return ticket for the bus to the Brazilian side. On the bus and on the leaflet are the departure times for the bus, so keep an eye out for the timetables.

Funnily enough, it was the same bus driver on the return journey and we did the whole procedure back to Argentina the other way around.

A few stops in Brazil, the Brazilian border, drive a bit, Argentinian border, drive to Puerto Iguazú in Argentina, and stop at the bus station. I was surprised at how simple and straightforward things were. I used EasyBus for this trip but the other bus companies do the exact same thing.

From the bus station, I walked back to my hotel. I had a cocktail, some relax-time by the pool, and had dinner at the restaurant of my hotel. Yes, I was absolutely knackered and didn’t feel like going into town and finding a place to eat.

Day 2 at Iguazu Falls Argentina

The 2nd day would be also my final day at Iguazu Falls. I was very happy with what I’d seen in Brazil but now I was even more eager to go explore Iguazu Falls in Argentina.

Go to the National Park of Iguazu Argentina

Again, I headed to the bus station in Puerto Iguazu. I was a little bit later than planned, mainly because of the delicious breakfast that was served, so I was happy to get a ticket for the next shuttle bus to the National Park.

Everyone forms a line and you just have to hope you can catch the next bus, otherwise, you have to wait longer. 

I traveled during the offseason, so there might be fewer buses than in the peak season. The journey takes around 40 minutes and you’ll be dropped off at the entrance of the National Park.

If you rather have the comfort of hotel pick-ups and a guided tour of the Iguazu Falls in Argentina, consider booking a fully guided tour for this day, here.

Things to do at Iguazu Falls Argentina

Although the National Park of Iguazu Falls in Argentina is smaller than the opposite side in Brazil, there is more to do on the Argentinian side.

There are several adrenaline adventure opportunities, a few walking trails, and many spots to enjoy the view. I’ll try to walk you through my activities of the day to show you what you can do at Iguazu Falls in Argentina.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
With the boats, you get really, really close to the waterfalls!

Visitor Center

Right at the entrance, you can find an office to book more adventures and get more information about the park, the flora and fauna, and the local people who owned the land and gave the area its name.

In all fairness, I skipped this part as I felt I would need all my energy to do the other stuff in the park.

Green Trail (Sendero Verde)

A short trail leads you from the first train station to the food court and Cataratas station (the 2nd stop on the train). It is a level walk through the jungle and rainforest. It is advertised as a 10-minute walk, but I think it took me 20 to 30 minutes. Mainly because I was so infatuated by the monkeys, coatis, alligators, and birds that I got to see. 

Walking in the Iguazu Falls National Park is a good way to experience nature and get really close to flora and fauna! There are even jaguar sightings in the park sometimes (!!).

As I felt I would need all my energy, I thought the easiest walk would be a good decision. It turned out to be one of my favorite trails in the park! I didn’t see any waterfalls but it sure was fun!

If the train is full and you’ll have to wait for the next train, it might be a good option to walk the Green Trail instead.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
This money reached out his little hand and I had to restrain myself from shaking it.

Upper Circuit

In the first part of the park, there is an Upper Circuit and a Lower Circuit. They each show you different sides of the waterfalls. When you walk the Upper Circuit, you mostly see the falls from above, looking down.

The Upper Circuit at Iguazu Falls is 1,7 km (1 mile) long and mostly accessible for wheelchairs and pushcarts. Very family-friendly and very easy. So, I decided to do this one first and see if I would have enough energy left for the other ones.

When you walk the upper circuit, you follow the boardwalk above the waterfalls. You basically walk from waterfall to waterfall on connected bridges. You can walk as quickly or as slowly as you like. 

It really is a thrilling sensation to see the water rushing down underneath you and plummeting into the deep. I was excited during the whole trip.

However, I couldn’t help but notice all the people walking around at the bottom of the waterfalls. As a true millennial, I had the fear of missing out, so I decided to do the Lower Circuit too.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
Great views looking down at the waterfalls

Lower Circuit

Very conveniently, the Upper Circuit starts and finishes nearly at the same spot. The lower circuit also starts at the same point, near the food court of Cataratas station. I took a long break with some drinks in the cage, away from the coatis, and then decided to walk the lower circuit too.

The lower circuit at Iguazu Falls is roughly 1.4 km long (0.85 miles) but has considerably more steps and stairs. I walked down the stairs to the starting point and went up by the longer but gradually inclining walkway.

But the stairs are inevitable. You’ll walk from one waterfall to the next and admire the base of the waterfall. But what goes down, must go back up again. 

The lower trail was a bit quieter and I was walking around right around lunchtime. It was perfect. The spray of the waterfalls cooled down my hot face and I took my time to catch a breath and take in the impressive views of the waterfalls.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
Being at the bottom of the waterfall is super exciting!

Jungle Train

After another break (I supported almost all the café onsight as I was very thirsty and hungry) it was time for me to board the Jungle Train from Cataratas station.

You can easily walk from the main entrance here, but the walk to the Devil’s Throat is quite long, and hot (no shade) and the train is just as much fun!

The train runs every 30 minutes and you need to get a ticket (free of charge). Because of the itinerary, I was lucky as it wasn’t that busy and I could board the next train. The train takes around 20 minutes before arriving at the Devil’s Throat station.

Devil’s Throat

I always like to save the best for last. Although the other waterfalls at Iguazu were impressive, they are nothing compared to the Devil’s Throat.

One can argue, why bother to even check out the other ones? But I like to build up the anticipation and it puts the massive waterfall in perspective.

From the Devil’s Throat train station, you need to walk over the river. I was quite impatient and it seemed to take forever! The 1.1 km (0.65 miles) of wooden walkways stretch the widest part of the river. The water hardly flows here and it feels like you’re walking across a massive lake.

But inevitably, in the distance, you can hear the roar of the water. I got drawn to it like a magnet. I rushed over the boardwalk, as I was the first to leave the train.

Because, I figured that the more people left and walked towards me, chances were, fewer people would be at the viewing platform when I’d arrive as I was the first one off the train.

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
The walkways in the Argentinian park are level, super sturdy and cross vast amounts of water!

Garganta del Diablo –  Devil’s Throat platform

What can I see? It doesn’t matter if there are 6 or 600 people at the platform with you: I only had eyes for the water. The devil’s throat really is an exhilarating experience.

I felt the excitement deep in my stomach and I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the tons of water rushing over the edge. The spray wafting up from below blocks all views of the deep and even at 80 meters high above it, you’ll get wet. 

From the left side of the viewing platform, you can look into the length of the canyon and follow the Iguazu River. On the far right side, you’ll see the water’s surface slowly move towards the ledge of the plateau. Only when it rushes over it, you’ll realize that the water is not moving slowly at all!

I felt my eyes were tricking me, but it didn’t matter how long I watched, I couldn’t unravel the mystery of the waterfall. All I could do was stare at the water in simple awe. I’m not even sure a single thought formed itself in my brain. I turned into a mouth breather, only thinking: Oh my gosh!!

After an hour or so, I was elbowed in my side and suddenly woke up from my stare down of admiration. All of a sudden I felt the heat, the sweat on my forehead, and the sheer exhaustion that fell over me.

It was time to head back. Another 1.1 km back to the train station, take the train to the entrance and I stumbled to the bus stop and headed to my hotel. I was exhausted!

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
I had no words to describe this. All I could do was stare at the massive amount of water plunging into the deep.

Other things to do at Iguazu Falls Argentina

For my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls, I only allocated 1 day at the Argentinian side. Therefore, I couldn’t experience everything there is to do. To be complete, I want to mention the following options:

  • San Martin Island. Once you’re in Iguazu Falls National Park, you’ll notice an island in the middle of the Iguazu River. When water levels are low, you can also visit the island and take one of the walking trails around it. Sadly, this wasn’t an option during my visit.
  • Macuco Trail and Arrechea Fall. Go deep into the jungle and look for animal prints. Away from the waterfalls, this trail is an adventure trail. Some people opt for a guided walk. As I was too tired, I didn’t do this.
  • Lunar Moon Walk. Surrounding the days of a full moon, you can visit the Iguazu Falls Park at night. The pathways are lit by moonlight and the moon casts her magical spell over the waterfalls. Only available during the days before, during, and after the full moon. Check for all options here.

How to spend your 2 days at Iguazu Falls?

I hope my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls shows you what you can do in 2 days in the region. But of course, there are other options to consider too.

If a visa for Brazil is not an option for you, then 2 days at Iguazu Falls Argentina is also time well spent. As you can see from the above, the park has a lot to offer and can be exhausting for a 1-day visit.

Especially if you wish to walk everywhere or undertake more activities like the Gran Adventure boat tour

Some things to keep in mind when you spend 2 days at Iguazu Falls

  1. Although the Devil’s Throat on either side of the falls is the highlight of the falls, don’t rush to it immediately. You’ll appreciate the waterfalls much more if you slowly build up to the final moment and save the best for last.
  2. Iguazu Falls is a top attraction in the region. And by region I mean South America. It is going to be busy and crowded. Even during the offseason. Hordes of school children in red shirts and selfie sticks will block your view but there are plenty of waterfalls for everyone.
  3. If you wish to have the waterfalls to yourself, you could arrive at the park at 8.30 am and stay until 4 pm. During those hours, the hordes of day-trippers have not arrived yet but it will be busy regardless.
  4. You can also stay at the National Parks. The Belmond Hotel on the Brazilian side is really posh and nice but doesn’t offer full frontal fall views. The hotel Melia Spa & Resort on the Argentinian side looks less impressive but does offer rooms with a falls view. Your choice.
  5. Choose your activities wisely. I first thought it would be really cool to do a helicopter ride above the waterfalls. I’ve never been on a helicopter ride and I figured it would be very impressive to see the falls from above. The helicopter rides only leave from the Brazilian side of the waterfalls and only fly over the Brazilian side of the falls. It can happen that you’re on the wrong side of the helicopter and only see air during the turns. After spending some time at Iguazu Falls National Park, I soon became annoyed by the sound and hovering of the helicopters. I figured it could not be good for the ecosystem and the environment, so I opted out of a helicopter ride. If you want to decide for yourself, you can book it here.
  6. Although it is super easy to get from Puerto Iguazú to the waterfalls on the Brazilian side (or from Foz de Iguaçu to the falls on the Argentinian side), it is not possible to go directly from one National Park to the other. You need to switch to one of the towns first. And there are no direct buses. I strongly advise against visiting both parks in 1 day. Time-wise it is possible but you’ll not see everything on the Argentinian side. If one day is all you have, book a guided tour of both sides in 1-day here.
Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
Take your time to explore the whole park.

Tips for maximizing your time at Iguazu Falls

  • Use the bus and train in the parks if you’re short on time and the schedule works for you. Otherwise, walking instead of waiting for the bus might be faster.
  • Check the timetable of the train inside Iguazu Falls Park. It might be that you need to wait an hour but you can use it to have lunch or drink something.
  • The Cataratas train station is a good central spot in the park. From there, numerous activities depart, the start and finish of the circuits are there and you’ll have several spots for lunch or long breaks.
  • Check the schedule for the return bus to Argentina/Brazil and check the times for the bus inside the parks.

Practical Tips for a 2-day trip to Iguazu Falls

If you only have 2 days, it is best to be prepared. Then you don’t waste time, looking for things to buy that you could also have brought with you. Although the towns of Foz de Iguaçu and Puerto Iguazú cater to tourists and have everything that you could possibly need, 2 days is not that much time, so come prepared.

What to bring to Iguazu Falls

  • Take rain gear. A thin poncho will do for the spray of water coming from the waterfalls. Or just accept that you’ll get wet and embrace it. Don’t wear your fancy outfit if it is precious. Wear a rain poncho when you go on one of the adventure rides because you will get soaked!
  • Bring a waterproof camera and/or phone case. I have my GoPro Hero 7 that can get wet without a problem, but I was cautious with my camera as it doesn’t like water that much. Depending on the wind, the water spray coming up and your activities, you and your gear can get wet! For your phone, you can carry it in a waterproof phone case.
  • Wear hiking shoes or hiking sandals. Some people can walk the Camino in their All-Stars but not me. I need sturdy footwear to walk as much as I did in the Iguazu Falls parks. As my hiking boots were too warm and bulky (and didn’t look good with a dress), I wore my hiking sandals. Super handy when they got wet, not too hot but still very good walking support. I love these Teva Tierra so much, I have them in red and blue! Check which color suits you best by clicking here.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. The sun shines down fiercely. Due to my sun allergies, I wore a long-sleeved vest and long leggings with a dress, although I was melting. On the first day, I forgot my hat, so I made sure to bring it on day 2. Don’t forget your sunscreen too!
  • Bring your credit card! Don’t worry about money exchange offices or getting Argentine Pesos or Brazilian Reals. Just whip out your credit card and you’ll be good to go in either park.
  • Always take your passport. You need your passport when you cross the border from Argentina to Brazil and vice versa, but you’ll also need your passport at the park’s entrance when buying your entrance ticket. I brought a zip-lock bag and put my passport in it, inside my purse to make sure it stayed dry during my visit to Iguazu Falls.
Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
Absolutely having fun but also getting a nasty sunburn

Other practical tips when you visit Iguazu Falls

  • Don’t pet any animals. Animals are everywhere in the park. I saw Toucans, monkeys, huge butterflies, lizards, alligators and loads of coatis. The coatis is a weasel-like rodent that is everywhere in the park. They are very used to humans and look adorable. But don’t pet animals. At all.
  • Carry food in closed containers. Coatis will steal your food or fight you for it.
    Although the coatis look cute and even let you pet them if they’re in a good mood, they are mean little creatures. They have razor-sharp teeth and claws and can cause serious injury to humans and each other. They come for food, steal it from your backpack, steal a bag of crisps from your hands, nick the banana from your babies’ hands, and cause a scene! The park guards have a full-time job of keeping the coatis away, cleaning up their feces and pee, and keeping people from doing stupid stuff. 
  • You don’t need to bring food or drinks. There are plenty of options to buy refreshments, from hot lunches to snacks and fruit. Drinks, ice cream, and crisps are widely available too.
  • Don’t pass up on a toilet opportunity. Facilities are widely available, clean, and well-stocked. As you’re spending 2 days in the rainforest you need to drink plenty of fluids. And there are waterfalls, so the need to pee is always there. Use them.
Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
They look cute but smell nasty and can get very mean and dangerous when they see food.

2 Days at Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil

Wow. That was a long read. I’m sorry about that. It seems the area is somewhat complex and I want to be thorough, explaining about the waterfalls on the Argentinian side and the Brazilian side.

For me, 2 days at Iguazu Falls was perfect. A leisurely first day with a half-day trip to the Brazilian side and a full day at Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side. 

If you don’t like to plan and arrange everything yourself, you can easily book a 2-day trip from Buenos Aires to both sides of Iguazu Falls here.

Helpful tips and tools for your Argentina trip
  • The Argentina Lonely Planet Guidebook is a good guide for information and practical travel tips (if you’re not reading my blog). Purchase your copy here.
  • I love to design travel themed items and I made several vibrant South-America inspired travel themed patterns. Check my own designs here!

I hope I have answered all possible questions that might pop up when you’re planning a trip to the region. If not, don’t be shy and pop your question in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you, even if you don’t have any questions.

If you’ve liked the information on my blog, or it has helped you plan your 2-day trip to Iguazu Falls, share this story with your friends or on social media!

Visit the largest waterfalls in the world with my 2-day itinerary for Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil with practical tips for independent travelers
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  1. Samantha

    Hi—super helpful. If we are only spending 1 1/2 days (arriving 8 am on day 1 and leave at 6 pm day 2), do you think it is possible to do both parks? Was thinking of going to Brazilian side on day 2 but we are flying out of Argentinian side. Thanks!

    1. Hi Samantha. Yes I think it is possible. I’d head straight to the Argentinian side on day one of your arrival, make the most of that whole day. Then the next morning, again early alarm and go to the Brazilian side and come back before your flight from the Argentinian side. Arrange tickets in advance and leave on time from the Brazilian side (maybe consider a private taxi for the journey back instead of a bus tour).

  2. Max Yoon

    Hi Naomi – amazing blog post I really enjoyed reading it! It seemed like the most of your 2-day experience at Iguazu falls was basically without a guide – do you think there is anything to be missed if I were to do the whole experience by myself? Didn’t seem so given it is all just nature but still was curious of your thoughts, thank you!

    1. I’m sure a guide can give you valuable information about the flora and fauna in the area and more background about the history of the region. I opted to explore by myself so I can’t compare the two.


    Hi! this is a great article. I want to use my go pro as well, recording us going under the falls (attached to head) but got the impression I should protect it during this time as the water may be too much? Do you think wearing Birketnstocks will be ok or is the walk super slippery and need a shoe with more traction? I am assuming there are handrails during any steps?

    1. Hi Michele, I think the GoPro is made for this work, as long as it is tightly fastened and has the right casing, I don’t see a problem. They even use it when going underwater, so the spray of the falls won’t be a problem. However, I would recommend sturdy footwear. I wouldn’t say it is super slippery, but there can be a lot of walking and climbing stairs involved, some steps are wet so I do recommend a bit sturdy. Eiter way: ENJOY!

  4. Alison rankin

    How much was the entrance fees to the falls x 2. Also what was bus prices to reach both the falls?
    Thinking of heading in March 22, and wanted to do the flights and falls independently as you have! Flying from Buenos aries.

    1. Hi Alison. It is always best to check accurate prices online, as inflation is crazy in Argentina. But I paid 360 ARS for a bus round trip from ARG to BR by direct bus. There are cheaper and more expensive options, depending on the bus company, time of day, number of stops, etc. The entrance fee for the BR side of Iguazu was 70 RS (for 1 adult). From the center of Iguazu to the falls in Argentina, the round trip by bus was 360 ARS. The entrance fee was 800 ARS.
      I traveled solo, so this is all the price for 1 person. As I said, research accurate up-to-date prices if it is important to you. These are what I’ve paid last year and only serve as a ball-park figure of the costs to visit both sides of Iguazu Falls from Argentina. I hope you get to go Alison. It will be such an amazing experience.

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