GETTING AROUND - IGUAZU FALLS

By Bus

On the Argentine side, buses leave frequently from the main bus station in Puerto Iguazu to the Centro de Informes for tours of the Iguazu falls. The least expensive bus from Puerto Iguazu to the falls is the El Practico bus. You can either catch one at Terminal de Omnibus or anywhere en-route (it says 'Cataratas'). The fare is $5 Pesos each way and it takes roughly about 20 minutes. The bus departs every 20-30 minutes from dawn until about 9 pm (the park closes at 6 pm anyway). The busiest times would be from 9-10 am and 5-6 pm and it’s possible you might not be able to find a seat.

On the Brazilian side, City buses begin and end their routes at the Terminal Urbana on Avenida Juscelino Kubitschek (also called Av. JK -- pronounced Zho-ta Ka) at the corner of Avenida República Argentina. Buses for the airport and the falls run along Avenida JK and Avenida Jorge Schimmelpfeng to the Avenida das Cataratas. Falls buses are marked Catatatas (cost is R$2.20) or Parque Nacional (cost is R$2). They run every 20 minutes until 6:40 pm. The trip to the park gate and visitor center takes 45 minutes. From the park gate, a free shuttle (departing every 20 min.) will take you the rest of the way to the falls. Getting to the Argentine Falls by bus is cheap but time-consuming. The one-way trip takes about 90 minutes.

By Taxi

On the Argentine side, the taxis are a great way to get around Puerto Iguazu. The cost was A$60 (US$20) to be dropped off at the National Park entrance Visitor's Centre and then return at a pre-arranged time. The taxis are timely and the drivers friendly with many of the taxis equipped with air conditioning.

On the Brazilian side, Taxi Pontos (stands) are throughout the city or you can flag a taxi on the street. A trip across town costs around R$20. A trip from the city center to a hotel on the Avenida das Cataratas costs between R$25 and R $35. A taxi from the center of town to the park gates costs R$45. Hiring a taxi to take you to the Argentine Falls and wait while you see them then bring you back costs about R$200, depending on your negotiation skills. Coopertaxi (tel. 0800/524-6464 or 045/3529-8821) has cabs available 24/7.

By Walking

On the Argentine side, no matter which trail you are visiting you will want to take the Rainforest Train from Central Station. When you pass through the ticket gate make sure you follow the sidewalk past the gift shops and you will come to the Central Station. Take a ride on the Rainforest Train and take it to Cataratas Station (starting point of Upper and Lower Circuit and San Martin Island) or the Garganta Station (starting point of Devil's Throat).

The Lower Circuit Trail (1,700 Meters) leads to the boat docks. To get to the docks, look for the stairs just before the Jungle Boat ticket window, they are easy to miss. This trail has many stairs and is largely shaded so it’s better for a hot day. Each trail offers many stunning lookouts and I found the panorama views from this trail to be some of the best for pictures. If you are short on time you can cut out two of the minor waterfalls by turning right on the trail by the picnic area. If you are planning on going to the boat dock be warned that the path has many stairs carved from rock. The path and some smaller sets of stairs that are wet and do not have handrails. We witnessed one gentleman wearing flip-flops slip right off the path onto the rocks below which could have been life-threatening. Luckily he was not injured. This is why I stress the importance of wearing sneakers at all times.

If you wish to visit San Martin Island head out early and be warned that there are a lot of stairs to climb. Look for the signs at the train stations to see whether the boats are still operating as the last boat leaves for San Martin Island at 3:15 pm, and possibly before, based on passenger load. These boats are free with the park admission and simply cross the channel, they do not get close enough to get you wet or go under the falls.

The Upper Circuit (1,750 meters) trail is flat and easily navigated. It is all raised platform and is wheelchair accessible, you will see several on our visit. We recommend this trail first, while there are still plenty of photo opportunities, it doesn’t have the best vantage points when compared to the other trails.

The Garganta Del Diablo Trail (2,200 meters) leads to the Devil’s Throat, an unforgettable look at the power of the falls. You do not want to miss this. This viewing platform gets a little spray from the falls when the wind blows, so if you have a waterproof camera or case use it here. You might want to keep an eye on the water as you take the trail leading to the falls - you may spot some of the massive catfish. This stop was also the best in the park for viewing butterflies. There were water faucets on the trailhead where you can see hundreds of butterflies of all colors and sizes. This trail is the longest in the park but is a flat, easy walk and wheelchair accessible. Stop for a snack or lunch when you get off the train. Trains run about every 30 minutes and there is only one trail from this station, so if you want to have more space for pictures let the crowd get ahead of you by about 15 minutes.

On the Brazilian side, getting around the side of the falls takes very little planning and a map isn’t needed. Get off the bus when it stops in front of the Belmond Hotel which you can’t miss because it is pink. The trail follows along the river banks and is easy to follow from one lookout spot to the next. The highlight of the trail is at the end where you can walk out over the whitewater to stand in the spray of the falls. Before walking out on the boardwalk you can suit up with your waterproof gear.

The trail ends with an elevator to an upper deck viewing area where you can get a professional souvenir picture. The trail takes about an hour with plenty of opportunities to stop several times for pictures.