The scenery of Avatar movie in real life
If you did watch Avatar I am sure you were as amazed as I was by the landscape of the movie. Everything related to nature, the trees, plants, insects, colours, sounds, animals, mountains, rivers, and waterfalls were absolutely stunning. I remember that while I was watching the movie I was imagining how amazing it would be to live in a world like that. Full of that natural beauty everywhere. I thought “that is a dream place, I’ve seen beautiful places on earth but nothing ever like that, nothing as magical as that”. I really wished we as humans would respect nature as much as Avatars do in the movie, to be able to live in a similar place.
Now you must be thinking why on earth did she start talking about the Avatar movie and its world Pandora. Well believe it or not, there are a lot of places on our planet with the same level of charm as the movie. This summer I had the opportunity to visit the Iguazu Falls, one of the Seven Wonders in the World. That is how stunning they are, now you can picture why I was comparing them to Pandora.
The Iguazu Falls are right in the middle of the border between Argentina and Brazil. The part belonging to Argentina is known as “Cataratas del Iguazú” and the part belonging to Brazil is known as Cataratas do Iguaçu. The reason of the name is the river where the falls land, which is called Iguazu river. The falls are inside the rainforest which makes the landscape even more impressive. And the whole area is a protected National Park. Just so that you can visualize the magnificence of the place, it is formed by 275 falls from which 80% belong to Argentina and 20% belong to Brazil.
To get there you have two options you can fly to Iguazú, Argentina or Foz do Iguaçu and from any of those airports you can either take a taxi, a bus or a tourist shuttle to the National Park. There are two different parks the Brazilian and the Argentinean one, they are not the same and they are pretty far away from each other. You can not walk between them you have to drive or take public transport. The park in Brazil is pretty small so if you have to choose between the two I fully recommend the Argentinean one where most of the falls are and its absolutely stunning.
I flew into Argentina and got a hotel in the Brazilian part. That was a big mistake so I do not recommend to do that. I did it because the hotels in the Brazilian part are cheaper but at the end I ended up spending a lot of money in transport. And being very honest Foz do Iguaçu is not a nice city at all and it is not very safe either. Plus, if you stay there and you go to the Argentinean falls it does not make any sense at all (which is what I did). It takes around one hour driving to go from Foz do Iguaçu to the Argentinean falls and an hour to get back.
The Argentinean little town (Iguazú) with hotels is pretty small but they have some beautiful ones in the middle of the rainforest. It depends on how much you want to spend, if you are looking for a cheap option there are some backpackers around. If you are willing to pay a bit more I fully recommend Loi Suites Iguazú Hotel. As I said before I did not stay there but I went to visit it one day and it is wonderful, definitely worth spending a bit more to stay there. And the Argentinean National Park is about 20 minutes driving from there so perfect location!
Now let’s start talking about the best part of this trip, the waterfalls and the National Park in general. Once you arrive there you will have different paths to walk around it, a little island where you can get by boat and a little train that will take you to one of the main falls. The best you can do is arrive very early and I recommend that the first fall you go to see is the Devil’s Throat because is one of the most touristy ones. So the earlier the less people. To get there you have to walk around ten minutes and then take a little train. While you wait for the it you will see these super cute animals called Coatíes, they kind of look like a mix between a koala and a possum. They will be walking around everyone and you can take pictures of them. But be careful, hide all the food that you have because they LOVE it and if they realize you have any they will not let you go and will try their best to take it away from you. After meeting your new friends, you will finally arrive to the Devil’s Throat that is one of the most shocking falls. The strength of the water is absolutely insane. It is an amazing experience to be standing there watching and listening to the water. And the amount of water that you see there is just indescribable.
Afterwards if the weather is good you can take a boat that is included in your entry pass to go to the little island in the middle of the river. There is a little hike there that is very nice and you see the waterfalls from a different perspective. Finally, there are two other circuits where you can walk around to see the rest of the waterfalls. Every single spot that you walk by is incredible. In one of the circuits you can take a boat (which you have to pay) to navigate around the river. Walk down that path towards where people jump in the boats. And just seat on a rock and have a picnic if you are a bit hungry. That was one of the highlights for me and surely one of the best picnics of my life. Sitting on one of those rocks admiring the beauty and power of nature.
At the end of your day on the way out of the park you will find a little market where indigenous people sell their handcrafts and native products. Everything is very cool and they are items that you will not find easily in other places. Bear in mind that they do not accept credit cards so have some cash ready if you are keen to buy anything.
This is one of the most powerful and incredible places that I have ever visited. I would fully recommend it. You will have an incomparable experience and trust me mother nature will blow your mind.