Seeing the vast array of waterfalls at the heart of the Iguazu National Park is enough to satisfy most travel desires. Located on the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, visiting Iguazu fits perfectly into your South American travel itinerary, combining it with other spectacular destinations from Machu Picchu to Rio de Janeiro. However you choose to visit Iguazu Falls, this spectacular destination is a must see on your South American journey and in this travel article we will share with you the best destinations to combine with a visit to Iguazu Falls.
♦ The World Wonders of South America
What does Machu Picchu in Peru, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and Iguazu Falls have in common? Aside from being the basis of an incredible travel experience in South America, they are of course New World Wonders. With the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu being man-made wonders and Iguazu a natural wonder, this makes for the perfect adventure in the region. By combining Machu Picchu, Iguazu and Rio de Janeiro you’ll also be able to see the full diversity of South America as you explore the sandy beaches of Brazil, the beautiful Andean mountains and Inca culture of Peru and see the full scale of Iguazu Falls. Arriving in Peru you’ll go straight down into the Sacred Valley of the Inca, exploring a number of ancient Inca ruins and traditional markets before arriving at Machu Picchu to experience sunrise at this World Wonder. Having soaked up the beautiful atmosphere of Cusco, it will be time to head over the Andes to Iguazu where you will be able to get the best of both worlds, with a visit to both the Argentinean and Brazilian side of the Falls. To bring the hat-trick of World Wonders to a close and having traveled across the width of the continent, you’ll head to the golden beaches of Rio de Janeiro. From the natural landmark of Sugarloaf Mountain to the world wonder of Christ the Redeemer Statue, you’ll be surrounded by Rio’s samba rhythms and beats.
♦ Exploring the Diverse Nature of Brazil
Although not the main spectacle of Iguazu, the surrounding natural rainforest and jungle is full of wildlife and may surprise you in its sheer diversity. More than 2,000 species of plants and animals can be found in the Iguazu National Park which is why visiting the Brazilian Amazon pays the perfect complement to Iguazu. From native toucans and the capybara which is the largest rodent in world to howler monkeys and mischievous Coati which will happily take off with your snacks; Iguazu is teaming with wonderful displays of nature. Before visiting Iguazu Falls, we recommend beginning your Brazilian adventure in the Amazon where you will surround yourself in the beauty of one of the world’s most important environments. Traveling deep into the Amazon Rainforest and staying at a beautiful, boutique Amazon lodge, you will be able to wake up and fall asleep to the stunning calls of nature. From canoe rides through flooded forests and twilight nature walks to spotting pink dolphins and watching the sunset over the Amazon River; exploring the Brazilian Amazon is a once in a lifetime experience. Leaving the verdant Amazon Rainforest behind, traveling to Iguazu via Rio de Janeiro will continue your contact with Brazil’s diverse nature and landscapes.
♦ The Breathtaking Wetlands of Argentina
Away from the bright city lights of Buenos Aires and tucked away in the northeast of Argentina is the wildlife-rich wetlands of Esteros del Ibera. Selected as one of National Geographic Travel’s World Best Trips for 2015, this off the beaten path destination will surprise all those who visit. Made up of a vast network of lakes, rivers and beautiful countryside, the Ibera Wetlands are the second largest in the world and is Argentina’s largest nature reserve. Visiting Esteros del Ibera will provide you with the basis of seeing stunning plant, bird and animal wildlife before trying to spot similar species at Iguazu Falls. Making the half a day road journey from Esteros del Ibera to Iguazu, you’ll be able to see Argentina’s landscape change from the wide open, green wetlands of Ibera to the red soils and tropical vegetation of Iguazu. This is without a doubt one of the most spectacular road journeys to be taken in South America, as you drive through pristine and untouched wild landscapes.