Sprawled across the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Iguacu Falls is one of South America’s most celebrated natural wonders, but the mighty falls aren’t the only attraction in the region. It’s possible to explore the Iguassu Falls Park from both Puerto Iguazu on the Argentine side, or Foz de Iguaçu on the Brazilian side, but once you’ve looked out over the Devil’s Throat and braved the hair-raising boat trip beneath the falls, be sure to add some of the nearby cultural sites to your itinerary.
A fascinating day trip from Puerto Iguazú is to the town of Misiones, home to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Ignacio Mission, the restored ruins of a 17th-century Jesuit settlement that played a significant role in the 17th- and 18th-century Christian missions. The nearby town of Wanda is also well renowned, famous for its abundant semi-precious stones (including agate, amethyst, topaz and jasper) and a tour of the Wanda Mines unveils the secrets behind the glittering gems gracing the shelves of local jewelry stores.
Another popular sight is the Landmark of the Three Frontiers, an easy side trip from either Foz de Iguaçu or Puerto Iguazu. The tri-border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay is marked by the natural boundaries of the Parana and Iguacu rivers and each side has its own monumental obelisk marking the end of its land and painted in the colors of its flag. Assuming you have pre-organized the necessary visas, it’s also possible to cross the border lines, with the Tancredo Neves International Bridge running over the Iguazu River between Foz de Iguaçu and Puerto Iguazu, and the La Amistad International Bridge crossing the Parana river between Foz de Iguaçu and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay.