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Iguazu Falls – advice / hotels

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  • YC

    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

    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

    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 52 years, 4 months ago by .
    stankpa

    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

    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

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

    JDB

    @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

    @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

    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

    @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

    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

    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

    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

    @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 52 years, 4 months ago by .
    YC

    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

    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

    Belmond is the only place to go. Fabulous location

    heb999

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

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