Iguaçu Falls, Panoramic Views in Brazil
Iguazú Falls, spelled Iguassu or Iguaçu in Portuguese, can also be visited from Foz do Iguaçu, located in the state of Paraná in the south of Brazil. If you don’t have a Brazilian visa to enter the country (and you don’t figure out how to sneak over for a bit, as travelers have occasionally been known to do) you will need to get one. They aren’t cheap. Americans particularly will need to be prepared to cough up US$200. The price is high, but many consider the fee worth it for the chance to stroll through Brazil’s national park. Although there are not as many trails and close encounters with the falls on the Brazil side, the panoramic views are superior. On the Brazilian side there is also the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the falls by a helicopter tour, although it is hoped visitors resist the excursion due to the environmental impact.
Just north of the cataracts, on the border of Brazil and Paraguay, is the Itaipu Dam, the largest hydroelectric power plant on the planet. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the US Association of Civil Engineers and is an interesting excursion for those who enjoy educational travel. Although they aren’t high in the list for many tourists, there are some gem mines in the area to visit as well. Many tourists opt to stay on the Argentine side of Iguazú rather than on the more urban and crime-laden Foz do Iguaçu. Nevertheless, because of the over-saturation of accommodations in Foz do Iguaçu there are some good deals to be had. The most desirable lodging option is the $US350/night Hotel das Cataratas, a colonial-style four-star hotel located inside the park, which is far more tasteful, although a bit more expensive than the Sheraton on the Argentina side.