Iguazu National Park

Imagine a place where the might of nature merges with the serenity of the jungle to create a truly impressive spectacle. A place where the sounds of exotic birds blend with the roar of towering waterfalls. That place exists, and it is the Iguazu National Park (in Spanish: Parque Nacional Iguazú) in Argentina. This comprehensive guide will lead you through the history, biodiversity, main attractions, and practical details for visiting this unique paradise in the world.

History of Iguazu National Park

Iguazu National Park

About 10,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers of the Eldorado culture inhabited the area of Iguazu National Park. However, around 1000 AD, they were displaced by the Guarani people, who introduced new agricultural technologies. In turn, Spanish and Portuguese conquerors in the 16th century displaced the Guarani, but their legacy still endures in this area, as reflected in the names of the park and the river, which originate from Guarani and mean "big water."

The first European to visit the area was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in 1542, and subsequently, Jesuit missions were established there in 1609.

Declaration as a National Park

Declared a National Park on October 9, 1934, Iguazu National Park’s main objective is to protect one of Argentina’s most rich and spectacular expressions of nature.

The creation of Iguazu National Park took place in 1934, with the goal of safeguarding one of Argentina’s greatest natural wonders: the Iguazu Falls, surrounded by lush subtropical jungle. In 1970, the Iguazu National Reserve was defined, constituting the western part of the park. While the national park is preserved with minimal alteration, the reserve allows for human activities and infrastructure.

The establishment of the reserve enabled the construction of an international airport and the sale of land for three tourist hotels. Across the Iguazu River lies its Brazilian counterpart, Iguazu National Park. Both sites were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1984. Additionally, the park is part of the proposed Trinational Biodiversity Corridor, which seeks to establish forested connections between conservation areas in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, within the Upper Paraná and Paranense Forest ecoregion. To the southeast of the park, it borders the 84,000-hectare Urugua-í Provincial Park, created in 1990.

Designation as a World Heritage Site

Furthermore, it was recognized as a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984, a testament to its global value and beauty.

Geographical Description of the Park

Geographical Location

Iguazu National Park is entirely located in the Department of Iguazu, in the northernmost part of Misiones Province, Argentina. It borders the city of Puerto Iguazu and extends along the Iguazu River. Its eastern boundary is 17 km from the city of Andresito. The park is crossed by two important national routes, Route 12 and Route 101, facilitating access to the area via multiple routes, including roads and air travel. It can be geographically located by the coordinates: 25°31′05″S 54°08′00″W / -25.518056, -54.133333 or at the address: Route 101 Km 142, N3370 Puerto Iguazu, Misiones, Argentina.

On the Brazilian side, there is Iguaçu National Park, forming, together with the Argentine park, a protected area of over 2400 km². Additionally, there are other contiguous reserves, such as the Puerto Peninsula Defense Natural Reserve.

The total area of the park was designated as a strict natural reserve by Decree No. 2149/90 on October 10, 1990. Subsequently, on March 24, 1994, the "Iguazú Wildlife Natural Reserve" was created by Decree No. 453/1994, dividing the area of the strict natural reserve. These measures aim to preserve and protect the natural richness and biodiversity of the region. The total protected area is 67,260 hectares, of which 59,945 hectares are for the national park and 7,675 hectares for the national reserve.


The park features a warm and humid subtropical climate, without a well-defined dry season, allowing for incredible biological diversity throughout the year.

Average temperatures range from around 24°C in summer to 14°C in winter. Precipitation is abundant, with approximately 1800 mm of rainfall per year, primarily concentrated during the summer season.

Due to its climate, Iguazu is a pleasant destination to visit year-round. However, it’s important to note that during the summer, especially between December and February, temperatures can be high, and humidity can be intense. In the winter, temperatures are milder, and there’s less rainfall, making the visit more comfortable for those who prefer to avoid intense heat.

Geology and Geography

Its unique geography, with the Iguazu River as the protagonist, has created a variety of unique rock and river formations in the world.

Biodiversity of the Park


With its dense vegetation, the park is home to over 2000 species of plants, including numerous endemic and threatened species. Some of the species inhabiting the park include lianas, epiphytes, and ferns. Different types of forests can be found, such as palm and rosewood forests, as well as riparian forests along the edges of bodies of water. The plant diversity provides a rich habitat for the park’s varied fauna.


Moreover, it is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including several endangered species like the jaguar and the yaguareté.

In the trees, you can spot howler monkeys, coatis, squirrel monkeys, toucans, and a variety of colorful fruit-eating birds. On the ground, you might come across agoutis, guinea pigs, brocket deer, mountain foxes, and tegu lizards. The presence of the yaguareté can be deduced from its footprints, although spotting it is very difficult. In bodies of water, you can glimpse caimans, anhingas or snake-necked darters, water turtles, and numerous fish species. From the sky, vultures and flocks of swifts provide a fascinating spectacle. The park hosts approximately 450 bird species, highlighting its importance as a wildlife refuge.

The Majestic Iguazu Falls


The main attraction of the park is the Iguazu Falls, a chain of 275 waterfalls cascading from heights of up to 82 meters.

La Garganta del Diablo (The Devil’s Throat)

Among the falls, the most prominent is "La Garganta del Diablo," which translates to "The Devil’s Throat" in English, the largest and most spectacular waterfall, with a height of 80 meters.

It’s a mighty and awe-inspiring place. To reach it, you walk along a 1,100-meter catwalk without stairs, extending over the upper bed of the Iguazu River. It’s a unique experience where the jungle, the river, and the thunderous sound of the main drop of the Iguazu Falls converge. It’s a place that leaves you speechless and offers a spectacular view of this natural wonder.

Other Notable Falls

Other notable falls include "Dos Hermanas" (Two Sisters), "Bosetti," and "San Martín," each with their own beauty and charm.

Recommended Activities in the Park

Boat Rides and Kayaking

Visitors can enjoy various activities, including boat rides and kayaking, offering unforgettable views of the waterfalls.

Hiking and Bird Watching

Hiking and bird watching are other popular activities that allow visitors to explore and appreciate the park’s rich biodiversity.

Lower Circuit

A 1,400-meter walk through walkways with stairs, providing an experience of the falls of the Iguazu River from such proximity that the spray can be felt. Accessibility is restricted due to the stairs.

Upper Circuit

A one-way 1,750-meter walk offering a privileged view of the canyon that marks the beginning of the falls. The walkways, with no stairs, allow accessibility for all.

Devil’s Throat Route

As mentioned, to reach the impressive and majestic Devil’s Throat, one must traverse a 1,100-meter catwalk without stairs over the upper bed of the Iguazu River. An unparalleled experience that combines jungle, river, and the deafening sound of the main drop of the Iguazu Falls.

Macuco Trail

With a total length of 7 km (round trip), it is the perfect setting for hiking, bird watching, and jungle exploration. It is exclusively pedestrian and rugged. It is recommended to obtain more information and the specific trail brochure at the Visitor Center, paying attention to precautions regarding wildlife.

Full Moon Walk at the Falls

The activity begins with a nighttime ride on the Ecological Jungle Train until reaching Garganta Station, where a wonderful walk to the Balcony of Devil’s Throat begins, crossing the Iguazu River on walkways. The walk lasts for 2.5 hours and is suspended in case of rain (even on the same day of the activity). Cancellations by visitors are only accepted up to 48 hours before the reserved walk date. It’s advisable to make reservations in advance. Upon return, you can enjoy dinner at the La Selva restaurant, according to the selected walk time (excluding beverages).

Ecological Jungle Train

Departing from the Central Station to Cataratas and Garganta stations, the train offers a unique ride in the heart of the Park. The locomotives are electric or use LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), ensuring minimal environmental impact.

Bicycle Tour

In a jungle environment, where green tones contrast with reddish paths, you can explore protected natural areas and rural landscapes of local small farmers with experienced naturalist guides.

Guided and Educational Tours

Guided and educational tours provide the opportunity to learn about the ecology, history, and conservation of Iguazu National Park.

Water Excursions

Great Adventure

The excursion begins and ends with a vehicle ride and immerses you in a boat journey through the Lower Iguazu River Canyon, heading towards the waterfall area. Bags are provided to protect personal belongings during the ride, but raincoats are not included. This activity is intended for individuals over 12 years old (proof of age is required).

Eco Tour

From the Devil’s Throat Station, rowing rafts are boarded to explore the islands of the Upper Iguazu River through a silent and relaxing navigation.

Importance of Iguazu National Park Conservation

Threats and Challenges

Despite its protected status, the park faces significant threats, including deforestation and climate change.

Conservation and Protection Projects

Several conservation and protection projects have been implemented to ensure the survival of this wonderful ecosystem for future generations.

Practical Visitor Information

Opening and Closing Hours

The park is open to the public every day of the year, with hours that vary depending on the season.

  • Opening hours: every day from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
  • Park Entry: until 4:00 PM.
  • Last train to Devil’s Throat: 3:30 PM.

We recommend arriving at the park early to make the most of the day.

Recommendations for Your Visit

When visiting the park, it’s recommended to wear comfortable clothing and footwear, as well as sunscreen and insect repellent.

Accommodation and Facilities

The park offers a variety of accommodation options and restaurants, as well as other amenities for visitors.

How to Get There

Iguazu National Park is accessible by road, and there are regular bus and taxi services from nearby cities. Additionally, the nearest airport is the Cataratas del Iguazu International Airport.

Getting to Puerto Iguazu

From Buenos Aires, you can fly from Jorge Newbery Airport, Ezeiza International Airport, or El Palomar Airport to Cataratas del Iguazu International Airport. There are also buses departing from Retiro Bus Terminal in Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu Bus Terminal. Another option is driving your own vehicle on National Route 14.

From Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil), you can reach Puerto Iguazu by taking a bus from Foz do Iguaçu International Bus Terminal to Puerto Iguazu Bus Terminal. You can also cross by your private vehicle using the Tancredo Neves International Bridge.

From Ciudad del Este (Paraguay), you can take a bus from Ciudad del Este Bus Terminal to Puerto Iguazu Bus Terminal. Alternatively, you can cross using your private vehicle through the International Friendship Bridge.

Getting to Iguazu National Park

You can reach the park by public transportation through the Rio Uruguay transportation company. They offer shuttle services from Hito Tres Fronteras or from Puerto Iguazu Terminal. The services operate every 20 minutes every day of the year.

You can also reach the park by car or taxi following the route Av. Victoria Aguirre – RN 12 – RN 101 – Access to Cataratas.

Arriving by Car or Private Vehicle

To arrive by car from Posadas to Iguazu and to Iguazu National Park, you should take National Route 12 and then National Route 101 to the park entrance. The total distance is approximately 320 km.


In Iguazu National Park, there is a parking lot available at the main park entrance. This parking lot has a fee.


Puerto Iguazu Bus Terminal, located 18 km from the National Park, receives transportation from different parts of the country.


You can access Iguazu National Park by bicycle in the same way as by car. There’s an option to rent bicycles, which must be kept in the parking area. It’s important to have an appropriate security system for leaving the bicycle.


Puerto Iguazu International Airport, also known as Cataratas del Iguazu Mayor D. Carlos Eduardo Krause Airport, receives weekly flights from Buenos Aires. From there, there are various options to reach the National Park, such as taxis, remises (private hire vehicles), transfer agencies, tourism agencies, and public transportation. It’s recommended to check the flight frequency.

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