Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Other Destination advice Iguazu Falls – advice / hotels

  • YC 233 posts

    Looking for advice on how many nights to spend at iguazu falls. Also any preferences between melia/belmond hotel? Or any other hotels worth considering?

    JDB 4,630 posts

    Looking for advice on how many nights to spend at iguazu falls. Also any preferences between melia/belmond hotel? Or any other hotels worth considering?

    For location the Belmond is miles better than the Melia; you can see some of the best bits of the falls from the hotel as it is quite elevated and walk to good parts of the falls. We went before it became a Belmond and was horribly run down, but the location made up for it and Belmond is streets above Meliá quality. Having said that, if you can, it is also worth visiting the Argentinian side of the falls which are quite different to the Brazilian side. We flew in from Buenos Aires, visited that side but stayed at the now Belmond and flew home from the Brazilian side airport via São Paulo. In terms of how much time to spend, it depends if you just want to look or do treks, go on the boat, helicopter etc.

    JDB 4,630 posts

    Looking for advice on how many nights to spend at iguazu falls. Also any preferences between melia/belmond hotel? Or any other hotels worth considering?

    Sorry, one thing I should have added in case it makes a difference to your decision is that if you stay at the Meliá and pay in cash you can use the ‘blue’ dollar rate which saves a huge amount of money, even with the added 21% VAT which you don’t pay if you use a foreign credit card. We returned from Argentina yesterday and the official rate at which the hotels convert the US$ room rate is around 110 pesos whereas you can change cash or receive it via Western Union (or other transfer services) at over 200.

    • This reply was modified 54 years, 5 months ago by .
    stankpa 38 posts

    We stayed at Belmont for 2 nights and it was fantastic. You are inside the national park, which means you can walk up to the falls after and before the park is open. You have the waterfalls all to yourself.
    It was also easy to get the taxi from there to Argentine side which was even more impressive.

    YC 233 posts

    Looking for advice on how many nights to spend at iguazu falls. Also any preferences between melia/belmond hotel? Or any other hotels worth considering?

    Sorry, one thing I should have added in case it makes a difference to your decision is that if you stay at the Meliá and pay in cash you can use the ‘blue’ dollar rate which saves a huge amount of money, even with the added 21% VAT which you don’t pay if you use a foreign credit card. We returned from Argentina yesterday and the official rate at which the hotels convert the US$ room rate is around 110 pesos whereas you can change cash or receive it via Western Union (or other transfer services) at over 200.

    Thanks JDB and stankpa. Blue rate is a good point but I’m going Rio -> Falls -> BA. Any idea if I can get the blue rate in Brazil/in the falls itself? Might also take a look at Belmond. Do you know how onerous/time consuming the border crossing at the falls are?

    Richie 1,032 posts

    I loved the falls, if I went again I’d spend at least three nights there.

    JDB 4,630 posts

    @YC I don’t think you will find a lot of ARS in Brazil at the blue rate as I doubt people want to hold a lot of devaluing notes. In Argentina there is a big two way market. You should find plenty of places on the Argentinian side as there are lots of foreign tourists. There seem to be quite a few Western Union offices there as well to send yourself money at the blue rate to pick up, not exchange. The border crossing used to be super quick between all three countries at the falls, but hopefully someone can give you up to date info. Once you are in BA, there are cambios or WU offices everywhere, but some WU places don’t stock a lot of cash. Cash machines obviously dispense at the official rate and seem to be limited to about 3,000 pesos which doesn’t get you very far.

    stankpa 38 posts

    @YC the crossing into Argentina was very easy. We had to get out of our taxi for passport control. Queue for 5 mins to get a stamp and off we went

    Jill Kinkell 163 posts

    We had 3 nights at Belmond. Great being able to take a walk after the park closes to others. Used a guide to take us to the other side. The falls are just fabulous. On another day we went to the nearby hydro dam Itaipu . A very interesting experience.
    If I went again… Belmond for me!

    YC 233 posts

    @JDB Thanks WU website shows a few agents in puerto iguazu. Did you find hotel prices were initially quoted in USD but you could still settle in local currency? Just made a booking at melia and it shows local currency but its USD. As you said, the savings are really significant so keen to make the most of it.

    Wanderlust 25 posts

    I visited Iguassu a fair few years ago… sadly can’t comment on the hotels as that was a backpacking trip and I stayed in some budget accommodation on the Brazilian side. I was there was 3 days (I felt that was about the right amount time) and crossed back and forth across the border, it is fairly hassle free and quick. As a thought the town of Iguassu isn’t particularly nice, if I could’ve stayed in the NP I would have much preferred that.

    The things I really remember from that part of the trip was the helicopter trip looking at the falls from above, the boat trip into the falls and hiking up to the top of the falls.

    Also if you are going to buy souvenirs or whatever, there is a small area where some of the Guarani tribespeople sell things they have made (generally things made from wood), it is nice to try and support those people rather than buying the mass produced tat that you can also buy.

    Tracey 221 posts

    We stayed at the Melia when it was a Sheraton. It was getting a bit run down, but the pool area was great for relaxing. You can also walk into the falls an hour before anyone else. Given most others have to walk from the station, effectively you get an extra 2 hours. We took a taxi over the border to Brazil and flew to Rio from that side. taxi driver was great at escorting us over the border.
    Thought the paths and views from the ARG side were great.

    yorkieflyer 259 posts

    Argentinian side deserves a couple of days whereas the Brazilian side is much smaller and is better done as a day trip across the border. The Melia is quite adequate though the eating options are limited, taxi into town a realistic option for a more interesting option

    JDB 4,630 posts

    @JDB Thanks WU website shows a few agents in puerto iguazu. Did you find hotel prices were initially quoted in USD but you could still settle in local currency? Just made a booking at melia and it shows local currency but its USD. As you said, the savings are really significant so keen to make the most of it.

    Yes, the hotel rates are quoted in USD and converted at the official exchange rate when you pay and as a foreigner, if you pay by card or bank transfer you pay no VAT. So, as at today if you have a hotel room rate quoted at US$100, your card will be billed 11,000 pesos, c. £78 but if you pay cash you will be billed US$121, inc VAT = 13,310 pesos, c.£94. However, if you exchange just US$100 cash at the blue rate you will receive over 20,000 pesos, so you are still significantly in the money. $100 bills are worth more than any other denomination. We saved over £1,400 (£70/night) on our anticipated hotel bill by paying cash; that goes a very long way in Argentina.

    • This reply was modified 54 years, 5 months ago by .
    YC 233 posts

    Thanks all – I’m planning 3d/2n for Iguazu falls. Checked out the helicopter and it seems pretty reasonable for the experience (£160-180/person).


    @JDB
    – I thought you can show your foreign passport and avoid the VAT? Are you suggesting if you are a foreigner, you must pay by card and not cash?

    JDB 4,630 posts

    Thanks all – I’m planning 3d/2n for Iguazu falls. Checked out the helicopter and it seems pretty reasonable for the experience (£160-180/person).



    @JDB
    – I thought you can show your foreign passport and avoid the VAT? Are you suggesting if you are a foreigner, you must pay by card and not cash?

    If you pay by card as a foreigner (having shown your passport) there is no VAT (on hotel accommodation only), but anyone paying cash pays the VAT. So to take advantage of the blue rate, you must pay the VAT but still make a huge saving. On a restaurant bill there is VAT for everyone but say a 10,000 peso bill will cost you about £70 on a card or £40 for cash and some places will give you an additional discount for cash. The gap between the official and blue rates unfortunately narrowed a bit last week as the country has edged closer to doing a deal with the IMF. Blue GBP rate was 290 a couple of weeks ago, now 250.

    Greg 16 posts

    Belmond is the only place to go. Fabulous location

    heb999 17 posts

    Agree, the Belmond is the best place to stay. However, seeing the falls from the Argentinian side is also a must.

    YC 233 posts

    Heading off next week and getting more nervous about finding sufficient cash in WU in Puerto Iguasu. Trying to settle the hotel bill in cash but it will £800+ (at blue rate but with 21% vat). So I will be looking to pick up c.350k pesos from WU agent.

    Is this going to be an issue? Should I be doing smaller transactions? I don’t know if I have time to go back and forth from puerto iguasu to transact many times. Appreciate any advice

    JDB 4,630 posts

    Heading off next week and getting more nervous about finding sufficient cash in WU in Puerto Iguasu. Trying to settle the hotel bill in cash but it will £800+ (at blue rate but with 21% vat). So I will be looking to pick up c.350k pesos from WU agent.

    Is this going to be an issue? Should I be doing smaller transactions? I don’t know if I have time to go back and forth from puerto iguasu to transact many times. Appreciate any advice

    Haven’t been to Puerto Iguazú since exchange rate collapse, but if WU doesn’t have sufficient cash, given the number of tourists around, there will be lots of cambio places around that will give you the published blue rate for $100 bills or a bit less for other ones – just ask. 350k in that sort of place ought to be OK, but choose a bigger branch. If you are worried, you could do a smaller transfer and ask if they have sufficient funds for you to do another on the spot.

    YC 233 posts

    Thanks @JDB. Probably a really basic question – WU FAQ suggest that a refund can happen if money is not picked up – do you know if there is a fee/penalty in this scenario? Don’t want to end up having to change USD and then having 350k pesos stuck in WU. Is there also a time limit on how long you have to pick up ARS from WU? Sorry never used WU.

    JDB 4,630 posts

    Thanks @JDB. Probably a really basic question – WU FAQ suggest that a refund can happen if money is not picked up – do you know if there is a fee/penalty in this scenario? Don’t want to end up having to change USD and then having 350k pesos stuck in WU. Is there also a time limit on how long you have to pick up ARS from WU? Sorry never used WU.

    I cancelled a transfer last year without fee/penalty after WU didn’t like my name match. Not sure about time limit, but personally left one for a week. I hadn’t used WU until this year but the saving in Argentina is sufficient incentive learn all about it quickly.

    Michael C 706 posts

    Stayed in the Saint George years ago, def pleasant enough and walking distance to places in the evening. It’s far, far more spectacular staying on the Arg side.

    JDB 4,630 posts

    Stayed in the Saint George years ago, def pleasant enough and walking distance to places in the evening. It’s far, far more spectacular staying on the Arg side.

    I think that’s very much a matter of opinion! The view is remarkably different from each side and you are at different heights so the whole experience changes. The Belmond on the Brazilian side is by far the best hotel and has the best setting so will swing staying on the Brazilian side for many.

    Scott 257 posts

    @YC – I’ve posted in another thread about a new Argentinian initiative to enable foreigners to pay on their card at a financial markets rate (called MEP) which is similar to the blue rate.

    Although there were delays in implementing it, there are now reported cases of people successfully getting this rate. After the credit card providers take their cut on the exchange rate, it’s not quite as good as WU, but this may be a price worth paying rather than trying to get a hold of large volume of currency you require to settle your hotel bill.

    Try this thread, around page #18 folk started reporting success: https://baexpats.org/threads/foreign-credit-cards-purchases-at-mep-rate.45191/page-18

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.