Iguassu Falls sits on the border of Brazil and Argentina and is viewable and accessible from either side of the border. Visitors can choose to stay on either side and visit their other side during their stay. The Brazilian side of the falls is called Iguaçu Falls.
Deciding on which side of the border is the harder challenge, but when you make your mind up to stay on the Brazilian side you can rest assured that the best place to stay is the Hotel das Cataratas. The hotel is the only accommodation inside the national park (more on this fact in a moment) providing exclusive extended access to Iguassu Falls.
The Hotel das Cataratas is a Portuguese-colonial styled luxury hotel that sits atop the mountain overlooking Iguassu Falls. The property features a variety of suites and superior rooms that make any visitor feel like royalty. The rooms continue the Portuguese style featuring colorful accents and dark-wood furnishings.
The hotel fronts a garden veranda, pool and patio restaurant that create a relaxing atmosphere for those relaxing around the hotel before or after their exploration of this wonder of nature.
Guests can use the heated pool or take advantage of the gym, tennis courts or comprehensive spa services.
Inside the National Park
Being the only accommodation inside the national park is much more of a benefit than it might sound, particularly for those who are there to experience one of South America’s Seven Natural Wonders.
The national park opens up at 9:00 in the morning and visitors outside the park must check-in at the visit center at the gates of the park. After securing a ticket, travelers will board the park bus and travel to the drop off point at the trailhead for the falls.
Guest staying at the Hotel de Cataratas can access the trail and falls as early as they want, well before the park even opens to the public. Hotel guests can also wander around the falls after the park closes. These extended hours provide more intimate views of the sunrise and sunset over the falls.
Additionally, these extended hours mean fewer crowds and less noise, making for a more tranquil experience with the falls and surrounding area. It also increases the probability that you will encounter wildlife, which tends to be out during the early dawn or early dusk hours of the day.
One of the nicest things of selecting Hotel das Cataratas for your stay at Iguassu Falls is the proximity to the falls. The hotel is just across the street and about 200 steps away from the trailhead of the falls. This means that guests can come and go and experience the falls at their leisure.
The proximity of the hotel to the falls and surrounding area means that guests have easy access to the activities of the park. Repelling in front of the face of the falls, the challenge course, biking, and kayaking above the falls is just minutes away.
Dining with a Wonder of Nature
The Hotel das Cataratas features a dining restaurant patio on the front of the hotel that provides guests and visitors with a view and serenade of the falls as they dine on first-class delicacies.
Although it can be a challenge with the sun at first, it is also a great place to sit and watch the sun set over the falls. Then it becomes a serenade of nature as you continue to indulge in the desserts that just may top the main course.
The Hotel das Cataratas also provides guests with alternative more casual dining options. There is a restaurant in the courtyard of the hotel that also has patio dining where guests can enjoy the gardens and beautiful pool. This makes a great place for getting breakfast as you start your day exploring Iguassu Falls.
Enhancing your Wonder Wandering Stay
The Hotel das Cataratas provides guests with a first class spa that is available for rejuvenation following a long day of exploring the falls. It can also invigorate those who need to prepare for new part of their journey or return home.
The spa of the hotel is certainly a way to pamper yourself, however it is a great way to spoil your significant other.
Getting There and Travel Tips
You can fly directly into the airport of Foz do Iguaçu, and the hotel can schedule car service to bring you to the hotel. There is no need to rent a car, because you really can’t use them. Cars are parked at the visitor center at the edge of the park and guests are bused up to the hotel.
The hotel helps you get to the helicopter tour and other activities as needed as well as providing guided transfer services for visiting Argentina and that side of Iguassu Falls.
The staff of Hotel das Cataratas was absolutely delightful. I found them attentive to every need and to unique details that made me feel extra welcome. This first–class attentiveness was consistent all the way from the welcome and reception through the restaurants and spa to the farewell goodbyes.
(UPDATE:) The property has been sold and is now under the management of the Belmond Group. I cannot testify to the quality of service provided by the Belmond team, but I feel confident that the hotel will still be a wise option for your choice of accommodations when visiting Iguassu Falls.
I have had the opportunity to stay on both the Argentinian and the Brazilian sides of the falls with separate trips. Without question, I can say that my favorite place to stay was the Hotel das Cataratas. Choosing this hotel is one of the ways to increase the probability that you have one of the best “wonder wandering” type experiences.
Because I chose to stay here during one of my visits to this wonder of nature, I was able to leverage the extended hours access and find myself on one of the falls overlook alone. I was able to take pictures without any interference from others. It was Iguassu Falls and myself alone together; it is hard to have a more intimate encounter with nature.
Recommendation: If I were making a new trip to see Iguassu Falls, I would plan to spend two nights on the Brazilian side and then transfer over and spend a night or two on the Argentina side.
You can see both sides of the falls in a day and half, but you are really rushing to get it in. This does not allow for any time for trekking the trails, kayaking above the falls, helicopter tour, and enjoying all that Iguassu Falls and the surrounding area has to offer.
A three or four night stay shared between the two sides of the falls provides more opportunity for exploring and enjoying the national parks on both sides. Extend the stay even further and really leverage the gym, spa, and opportunities for relaxing in a true paradise that Hotel das Cataratas affords its guests – you won’t regret it.