Weekend at the Falls: American Business Class, Gol Domestic, and the Sheraton Iguazú Resort: The Wonder of the Falls

Iguazu Falls:

  1. American to Miami in First, then Business Class to Sao Paulo
  2. Gol Smiles VIP Lounge and Domestic Service to Foz de Iguassu
  3. Sheraton Iguazú Falls Resort & Spa
  4. The Wonder of the Falls
  5. Gol Domestic Back to Sao Paulo and the Admiral’s Club Sao Paulo
  6. American’s Business Class to Miami and on to DC

The really stunning thing about the Sheraton isn’t the views per se, it’s that you’re already inside the park. You can arrive in the afternoon, drop off your stuff in your room, and pop over to the Falls. You’re literally 15 – 20 minutes’ walking from your hotel room door to some of the most impressive sights you’re likely to come upon, anywhere.

From the hotel there’s easy access to an upper trail that will take less than an hour to walk around, and a longer lower trail loop that is about a two hour walk including plenty of time to stop and admire the Falls.

I admit I was surprised that the park trails were paved, that there were stairs down the steep parts, and that much of it was even made wheelchair accessible.

The first walk was the upper trail, and just past the hotel pool along the trail I came upon several Coati or Brazilian aardvark.

A few minutes down the trail I had the brilliant idea of walking up some stairs for a bird’s eye view of the falls, unfortunately you can get higher on the outside stairs but not all the way up:

From the upper trail you’re basically above much of the water fall activity, looking down, it’s a great view but not as up close as I’d see later the lower trail, no nearly as dramatic, but still impressive.

A visit along the lower trail involved several levels of steps.

Along the way there was a snack bar/gift shop, underscoring that even though you’re in the midst of jungle, just as there’s much that’s paved, you’re also very much in the middle of a tourist site. It’s less commercialized than some, to be sure, but everyone else around you that doesn’t work in the Park is a tourist.

There are Falls both large and small, and along the way you see some beautiful water flows that are a dribble in comparison to some of the dramatic gushers along the trail.

There are also some impressive, forceful and all-encompassing water flows.

… with rainbows nearly everywhere

And the trails bring you right up close next to the Falls.

Here’s a video with sound I took, panning across the waterfall I was standing right next to. There’s nothing impressive about my camera skills, and nothing special about the photography. It’s just click and point using a handheld camera that also happens to take video, just as a way of capturing what I was standing right in the midst of.


The Falls were remarkably beautiful. They can be seen in just a couple of days, I wouldn’t want to spend much more than that. But they were among the most beautiful and impressive things that I’ve seen and the 48 hours there were well worth it.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Always report. Heading there in a few weeks. Am coming from Argentina side. Is it worth it to get a visa to visit the Brazilian side?

  2. @Billy my general sense is that there’s more to do on the Argentina side bu there are a couple of amazing vistas on the Brazil side, depends on how much time you have and definitely if you intend a helicopter tour since you can’t do that from Argentina… But it’s a pain to do the Visa and you do NEED a few weeks to get it in many cases

  3. Hey Gary, did you hike San Martin island? It was pretty cool! You take a free boat across to it. Right next to the speedboat under the falls which was awesome too and hope you did it!!

  4. There are some other interesting activities on the Brazil side – a bird park and a tour of the hydroelectric facility. (I’ll be there in a few weeks as well – really looking forward to it.)

  5. It is nice to read a report focused on taking in the local sights and natural surroundings. Sometimes I feel like so many “travel” blogs are really just about scoring the next credit card deal or maximizing the time spent being pampered in 1st class or a big hotel suite. For most of us, learning how to do those things (while conserving our cash) definitely adds to the travel experience, but there is no way I’d hoard points and miles just to redeem them for a nice seat and hotel room unless the destination made that seat and room a distant secondary concern.

  6. Everywhere I read, they say the Brazil side is better than the Argentina side. Do the research.
    This isn’t a problem for me since I wasn’t able to book tickets from BA to The Falls. Now, I’ll show my wife your video instead. We ended up booking BA to Mendoza instead. #toughlife.

  7. We happened to be at the falls during a full moon (weren’t planning it, just happened that way) and thus got to do a walk out to the falls at night which they only do with a full moon. Definitely the highlight of the trip and one of my top experiences anywhere.

  8. Hi, Gary, how are you? You have been so close to Brazil and have not seen us visit.Next visit to South America come to know the falls on the Brazilian side and the bird park very beautiful.If Rosana works in a receptive tourism agency in Foz do iguaçu Paraná Brazil, it will be A pleasure welcomes you in our city.

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