Iguazu Falls Itinerary

Iguazu Falls Itinerary (The Ultimate 3 Day Guide)

Planning on visiting Iguazu Falls but not sure how to map out your Iguazu Falls itinerary?

No worries – I’ve got you covered.

I just visited Iguazu Falls in early 2020, and I’ve pulled together this epic 3 day itinerary to help you see the best of the Iguazu area in just a few days.

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Planning on visiting #IguazuFalls anytime soon? Then here’s an ultimate 3 day #itinerary guide to make the best out of your trip. You’ll find great tips such as picking the best hotel to stay in and activities to do on both the #Argentina and #Brazil sides. Get yourself soaked at the #DevilsThroat. Take the Gran Adventura Jet Boat. Enjoy and have the time of your life exploring this amazing wonder of nature!
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Why 3 days?

Because in my mind that’s the perfect amount of time to visit Iguazu Falls. It gives you a day to see each side of the falls (Brazil and Argentina) without getting too bored in the otherwise somewhat lackluster Puerto Iguazú.

In this Iguazu Falls itinerary I’ll handle all the planning for you, breaking down exactly what you should do day-by-day in Iguazu.

Before we dive in, be sure to bookmark my 24 Practical Tips for Visiting Iguazu Falls (they will help you save money and beat the crowds).

Ready? Let’s get planning:

Iguazu Falls 3 Day Itinerary

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Day 1 Itinerary: Arrive in Puerto Iguazú, Tres Fronteras, Catamaran Tour

Iguazu Falls Itinerary

The first choice you have to make is whether to stay in Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazil side or the much smaller Puerto Iguazú on the Argentina side.

Honestly, neither is the most interesting town in the world so, even though it’s smaller, I opted to stay in Puerto Iguazú because (at least as of 2020), everything is just so much more affordable in Argentina.

Where to Stay in Iguazu Falls

The first thing you’ve got to do is settle into your Iguazu Falls hotel.

Picking your hotel is important, because you’ll likely be spending a lot of time at your hotel resting up after exhausting days exploring the falls in the heat and humidity.

If money is no object, stay at one of the two hotels within the parks:

  • The Belmond Hotel – in the Brazil national park and close to the main viewing platform.
  • The Gran Melia Hotel – in the Argentina national park (get a room with a view of the falls if you can).

Staying at one of the above two hotels is the ONLY way to access the park outside of opening hours, meaning it’s the only way to see the falls for sunrise and sunset.

I saw both hotels on my trip and they look incredible, but sadly travel blogging doesn’t pay the big bucks, so I opted instead to stay at the O2 Hotel in Puerto Iguazu instead:

O2 Puerto Iguazu Hotel Pool
Chillin’ out at the O2 Iguazu

Looks pretty cool right?

The O2 Hotel is super modern, has an incredible rooftop pool (great for chilling out after those hot days at the falls), and is reasonably priced for an upper- to mid-range hotel.

If you’re a backpacker or on a tight budget, consider staying at the very-well reviewed and super affordable 125 Hotel.

Visit Tres Fronteras Border and Take a Catamaran Tour

Travel Lemming on Cruceros Iguazu catamaran boat
I’m on a boat!

By the time you check into your hotel, it’s probably the mid-afternoon already. Unfortunately, that’s not the best time to visit the falls – so instead make use of this time in your Iguazu Falls itinerary by visiting the “Tres Fronteras” (Triple Frontier) area, where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina all meet across the river.

There’s not a lot to see in all honestly, but staring at the border of three countries in the jungle is pretty cool!

There are viewing platforms on the border, but another exciting way to experience it is to take a river cruise.

Cruceros Iguazu leaves every day at 5:30 from a small dock on the river (ask your hotel or taxi driver for directions). The cruise takes two hours and there is live music on board.

Dinner at Madero Tango Iguazu

Dancers at Madero Tango Show

There is not a lot to do in the evenings in Puerto Iguazu, so why not check out a tango show (and dinner!) at the top-rated Madero Tango Iguazu?

Pro tip: Dress up for the show and reserve your tickets in advance.

Note if you are going on to Buenos Aires, you might consider attending the same company’s larger and genuinely excellent show in Buenos Aires instead (it’s one of my favorite things to do in BA).

After dinner, get to bed – and be sure to set your alarm for tomorrow!

Day 2 Itinerary: Tour Brazil Side of Falls, Itaipu Dam

Travel Lemming with Iguazu Falls in background

Rise and shine early for a jammed-packed day involving a trip to another country:

Cross the Border to Brazil

Brazil side of border station at Fog de Iguassu
What the border station looks like (Brazil side)

From Puerto Iguazu, the easiest way to cross to the Brazilian side is just to hire a taxi to take you. A round-trip taxi hire should cost about 1,800 pesos as of early 2020, or 3,200 pesos if you also want them to take you to the dam afterwards.

Alternatively, there are public buses that go from the center of Puerto Iguazu that will take

Whatever route you take, you’ll want to make sure your Iguazu Falls itinerary gets to the entrance of Brazil’s national park before it opens at 8 AM.

Soak in the Best Single View of Iguazu Falls

Travel Lemming at Iguazu Falls Brazil Side
Not pictured: the 200 people around me 🙂

The Brazilian side of the falls has the single best viewpoint of Iguazu Falls, on a platform that sits literally in the middle of all the cataracts.

It’s super cool, but as it’s really the whole show on the Brazilian side, it also gets SUPER crowded fast.

So here’s a pro tip to beat the crowds:

When you enter the park, the first thing you’ll do is get on a bus. Take it directly to the end, get off where the elevators are, and book it down the stairs to the platform. Do this right and you might just be able to score a few precious minutes on the viewing platform without hordes of tourists crowding out every photo opportunity!

After checking out the main viewing platform, you can walk around a bit (there’s a few short trails, though nothing like on the Argentinian side).

Travel Lemming on Macuco Jet Boat Safari
Doesn’t look like it from my expression, but this was so much fun!

If you have extra time, book a kayaking tour to get out on the water in another way.

You can also book the Macuco Jet Boat Safari. It’s super cool, but at least as of early 2020 note that it is cheaper on the Argentinian side.

Tour the Itaipu Dam

View of Itaipu Dam in Brazil
Stuck using a stock photo since I messed up!

Finish your time in the Brazilian National Park to give yourself enough time to make the journey to Itaipu Dam and make the final tour at 3 PM (a mistake I made, resulting in me missing the tour of the dam on my own Iguazu Falls itinerary!).

A shared project between Brazil and Paraguay, the Itaipu Dam rivals China’s Three Gorges dam as the largest hydroelectric dam in the world.

Click here to reserve your tour in advance.

Dinner in Puerto Iguazu

After touring the dam, cross the border back to Puerto Iguazu and get some rest in your hotel before heading out to dinner.

For a unique interactive and social dinner that will educate you about Argentinian cuisine, plan ahead and reserve your spot at The Argentine Experience (Puerto Iguazu).

Day 3 Itinerary: Argentina Side of Iguazu Falls

Nate Hake in Argentina football
Sporting my Argentina soccer …. errr, “futbol” .. jersey

Dedicate your last day to exploring Argentina’s Iguazú National Park. It’s much bigger than the Brazil side, so plan at least 5 hours to explore it (more if you’re doing the jet boat).

Get Soaked at Devil’s Throat

Water at Devils Throat in Iguazu Falls
Trying to wipe the water off my GoPro long enough to snap a shot at Devil’s Throat (I failed)

Right after the gates to the park open, find your way to the “Jungle Train” and catch the first ride to Devil’s Throat straight to the back of the park.

As soon as the train arrives, book it down the gangway to claim the best spot on the platform that looks out over the top of this incredible drop of water.

Just be prepared for the fact that you and any bags you bring are gonna get totally soaked by the spray from Devil’s Throat!

Oh, and be sure to bring a GoPro or waterproof camera.

Snap Your Photos on the Lower Circuit

Travel Lemming at Iguazu Falls Argentina
Totally not posing for the camera …

My personal tip for the best places to get your photos from your Iguazu Falls trip?

Definitely along the Lower Circuit trail on the Argentina side.

The Lower Circuit has some of the best vistas of the falls, and lots of places along the walkways to stop and take photos, so it’s one of the few places where you can actually take a photo without constantly having to push through the crowds.

So change your clothes after Devil’s Throat and get on the Lower Circuit while there is still some softer morning light.

Meander the Upper Circuit

Trails of Argentina Iguazu Falls National Park
Enjoying a quick shade break on the trails

After the Lower Circuit, the one big piece of the national park you’ll want to explore on your Iguazu Falls itinerary is the Upper Circuit.

Though the photo opportunities aren’t quite as interesting as on the Lower Circuit, the vistas are from a higher vantage point.

Walk the circuit and the loop will take you back to the main central junction, where you can either take the train or hike 700 meters to the entrance.

Take the Gran Adventura Jet Boat (If You Didn’t in Brazil)

Boat going under Iguazu cataracts
It’s just a little water bro …

If you didn’t take the Macuco Jet Boat Safari while on the Brazilian side, be sure to take its Argentinian counterpart – called the “Gran Adventura” – for an opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the cataracts inside a boat.

At least when I went, the prices on the Argentina side were quite a bit cheaper owing to Argentina’s weak peso.

Leave Iguazu

Hard to believe, but you’re coming to the end of your Iguazu Falls itinerary!

After exploring Argentina’s Iguazú National Park, either head to the airport if you’ve pre-booked an evening flight (note: I wouldn’t book one before 4 PM to give yourself enough time to explore).

If you’re leaving the next day, head back to your hotel to chill at the pool and relax on your final night in Puerto Iguazu.

***

That’s it for this Iguazu Falls itinerary!

Before you go, make sure to check out my 24 Tips for Visiting Iguazu Falls – there are a few that will save you some serious time and money!

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