Our gay travel guide to Iguazu Falls, with tips on seeing the falls from both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides, and everything the LGBTQ traveler needs to know to plan a fun and safe trip.
The famous Iguazu Falls are a bucket-list item for many travellers, both gay and straight. This amazing sight is the largest waterfall system in the world and absolutely breathtaking up close as you watch thousands of gallons of water plummeting into the foam.
When US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited the falls, she exclaimed “Poor Niagara!”
The falls straddle the border between Argentina and Brazil, which means you can stay in either country if you want to visit the waterfalls. It can be confusing to figure out which side is best, or even how to understand the differences, but don't worry, 'cause we're here to help!
This is our gay travel guide to Iguazu Falls and the surrounding area. Here you can find out our personal top picks for gay friendly accommodation, gay bars, clubs and restaurants around Iguazu Falls.
Landing in Iguazu Falls soon?
Arriving in a new country can be overwhelming, especially when trying to navigate public transport from the airport to your accommodation. If you book a private transfer with an English speaking driver then you will be able to relax and get to your hotel without any stress.
The two sides of the Iguazu Falls
So, first things first, these spectacular waterfalls have a few names. In English, we call them “Iguazu Falls” and the surrounding area, the “Iguazu National Park”. Both Argentina and Brazil have cities very close by, each of which are the perfect base when visiting the falls. In Brazil, the city is “Foz do Iguaçu” whereas in Argentina it is “Puerto Iguazú”.
We preferred the Argentinian side because you get to experience the Falls close-up, which is a great way to feel how powerful it is. The Brazilian side is good for getting a more panoramic perspective of the Falls.
Travelling between the two towns over the border is easy. You can either go by taxi or public bus. The entire trip shouldn't take more than an hour. Remember to have your passport with you and to have already organised any visa requirements you may need for Brazil and Argentina.
If you're ticking off countries, you can also “pop” into Ciudad del Este – a popular shopping town for Brazilians in Paraguay, close to the border between Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.
Gay travel to the Iguazu Falls at a glance
The towns around the Iguazu Falls are used to tourists and regarded as gay friendly. They have a large international community both visiting and working here, so you won't have any problems visiting with your other half.
Argentina overall is very gay friendly – it was, after all, the first country in Latin America to legalise gay marriages back in 2010! When visiting, we were warned to be weary of the “machismo” chauvinistic culture in the more rural areas. But in reality, we never experienced any of this and felt very welcome everywhere we visited in Argentina.
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In Brazil however, whilst gay marriage and progressive LGBTQ laws are in place, the recent election of the extremely anti-gay President Bolsonaro has sadly validated homophobic attacks across the country, so take extra care here.
In terms of a gay scene, don't expect much of that here. Leave all the partying for Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Rio. There are however a handful of mixed gay hangouts, as well as some lovely gay friendly hotels to stay in Iguazu.
Gay hotels in Puerto Iguazú (Argentina)
On the Argentinian side, the city of Puerto Iguazú is located only 11km away from the Falls. The majority of the city's income comes from tourism, so most of the infrastructure here has been built around this. Therefore, in a nutshell, hotel staff are accustomed to dealing with international visitors, and of course, LGBTQ travellers. We certainly found everyone we dealt with here to be open-minded and welcoming to us as a gay couple. These are some of our favourite gay friendly hotels to stay in Puerto Iguazú:
Amérian Portal Del Iguazú Hotel
Why we love it
- Beautiful views
- Extensive spa and wellness facilities
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Two restaurants serving delicious meals
The Amérian Portal Del Iguazú Hotel is the ideal retreat if you want to experience some pampering during your time visiting the falls.
We loved our suite which offered us a romantic sunset every night, looking out across the point where two rivers and three country borders meet.
The hotel features two restaurants; La Misión for international cuisine and De los Ríos Grill for traditional Argentinian dishes. The food is simply delicious! Before dinner, we would have cocktails from the two bars either in the lush garden or on the terrace overlooking the river, a view not to miss.
Even the outdoor pool features stunning views, and there's an indoor pool too. The Yvy Mara`y Spa and wellness centre is located on top of the hotel where you can enjoy the Jacuzzi, ‘raintemple', massages and a variety of other relaxing treatments. There's also a gym and beauty salon up here, so you know you'll be able to keep looking your best for those photos in front of the falls!
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Loi Suites Iguazú
Why we love it
- Luxurious hotel in the jungle
- Heated outdoor swimming pool
- Excellent spa treatments
- Gourmet restaurant with jungle views
Loi Suites Iguazú is located just outside Puerto Iguazú town, right in the heart of the jungle so you're nearly always looking out at the lush green landscape.
For 2 nights, Loi Suites was our little oasis of luxury and relaxation. We loved their heated outdoor pool and the suspended bridges for walking among the trees.
For a completely luxurious experience, you can book your own private suite with butler service and hydro-tub on your private balcony. These balconies are the perfect place to watch the jungle wake up; you can spot butterflies, birds and even monkeys in the foliage!
When we stayed there, we would spend our evenings eating delicious food in the restaurant or having a cheeky cocktail at their on-site Tiki bar. And after exhausting ourselves hiking to the falls, the relaxing water treatments and massages at the spa was the best way to comfort our sore muscles.
Take a helicopter ride over Iguazu Falls
An amazing way to see the falls is by flying over them in a helicopter! You will never forget the incredible experience of seeing the cascades from above on this short flight which leaves from the Brazil side.
Iguazú Jungle Lodge
Why we love it
- Environmentally conscious
- Tropical buffet breakfast included in rates
- Very spacious rooms with balcony
- Restaurant with jungle views
The Iguazú Jungle Lodge is in a great location on the edge of Puerto Iguazú. You'll be able to enjoy the idyllic jungle location but still be in walking distance of the city's main amenities, and ideally located to visit the falls.
Rooms at the lodge are very spacious and all feature balconies overlooking the treetops. The pool and hot tub are ideal for relaxing after a day of exploring the surrounding area.
The jungle restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, serving up cocktails as well as delicious Argentinian barbecue. A yummy buffet breakfast is included in the rates, where you can enjoy lots of fresh tropical fruits on the poolside terrace.
This is a lovely mid-range option in a quiet location, ideal for visiting the falls as well as kicking back and enjoying the serenity of the jungle. We particularly love that the lodge is doing its part for the environment; with an extensive environmental policy and the option for guests to offset their carbon footprint a little by planting a native tree on the property.
Must do in Iguazu Falls: a romantic walk under the full moon
If you are in Puerto Iguazú in the five days surrounding the full moon you could do a night-time walking tour of the falls. This has got to be the most romantic way to visit the falls with your loved one!
Cabanas Luces de la Selva
Why we love it
- Excellent budget option
- Staying in a private jungle bungalow
- Self-contained with kitchenette
- Outdoor swimming pool
It's entirely possible to enjoy the jungle and falls on a budget, particularly if you stay at the Cabanas Luces de la Selva.
This property is very exclusive, with private bungalows nestled in the jungle. The bungalows have kitchenettes so that you can cut costs by cooking for yourself. You can also choose to have a continental breakfast brought to your cabana each morning.
The location is peaceful and a bit outside of town, although you can easily get into the city centre on a five-minute bus. This is a lovely spot to relax in the outdoor pool and watch the jungle life pass you by.
You can choose from cabins for up to five guests, so this is an excellent choice for families as well as budget travellers. The decor is rustic but everything is clean and comfy with all the amenities you would expect such as air-conditioning and WiFi.
Gay hotels in Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil)
On the Brazilian side, “Foz do Iguaçu” is also very touristy, so hotel staff are accustomed to dealing with gay travellers. We were fine when we visited, but since the election of a very homophobic President in 2019, homophobic crime has increased throughout Brazil, so do take extra care here.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
Why we love it
- Located right by the falls with incredible views
- Tennis court, swimming pool and fitness centre
- Divine spa
- 2 restaurants and a fun bar
Far and away the most awe-inspiring place to stay near the falls; just look at that view!
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is one of the closest (if not the closest) hotels to the falls – so you'll even be able to stare out the windows of your accommodation at the breathtaking sight of the pounding waters and myriad rainbows.
This incredibly luxurious five-star hotel has amenities like a tennis court, swimming pool, fitness centre, 2 restaurants, bar and spa. You can have a couples treatment in the Cataratas Spa or book yourself a spa retreat that includes accommodation, breakfast, a massage and another treatment of your choice.
The 1950s-style hotel has been restored to retain its charm as a colonial jungle getaway, complete with orchids surrounding the pool and the calls of Howler monkeys in the nearby jungle. If you stay at Belmond you'll also be able to easily organise a range of activities at the desk to see the majesty of the falls in unique ways, such as early in the morning or the middle of the night during the full moon.
Full day trip to the Argentine Falls from Brazil
If you're staying in Foz do Iguaçu you can still easily visit the falls from the Argentine side by joining a full day trip that will take you there to enjoy the boardwalks and views from another perspective.
Vivaz Cataratas Hotel Resort
Why we love it
- On-site water park
- Lots of sporty facilities
- Large apartments and suites
- Spa with extensive treatments
The Vivaz Cataratas Hotel Resort is another luxurious option on the Brazilian side which includes lots of sporty facilities like a fitness room, tennis court, basketball court, football field, mini-golf course and an exciting water park.
Even if you never leave the resort you'll have plenty of options to amuse yourself and keep fit, but it's also ideally located for exploring the falls.
This is a popular choice for families, so be prepared to share public spaces with lots of noisy kids. If you want a bit of peace and quiet the spa offers a variety of beauty treatments, massages, facials and podology. You can even book a romantic couples day or a Princess afternoon which includes a manicure plus hair and makeup.
Breakfast is served in the lovely poolside Allegro Restaurant while La Terazza Restaurant & Lounge is a romantic spot for dinner or a cocktail at sunset. The hotel offers special ecological tours in the area and is only 7km from the entrance to the Iguaçu National Park.
Why not go for a boat ride under the Falls?
Riding a boat right up under the falls is an incredible way to see the spectacle of all that water. From Foz do Iguaçu you can travel to the Argentine side of the falls then catch a boat right up close, but be warned, you will get wet!
Why we love it
- Outdoor jacuzzis with bar service
- Huge and delicious buffet breakfast
- On-site tour desk
- Located right in the city centre
For a lovely stay on a mid-range budget, we recommend the Bogari Hotel which is located right in the centre of Foz do Iguaçu.
You'll be close to the shops and restaurants nearby although there's also an on-site restaurant which offers a huge breakfast buffet each morning – as well as other meals.
Bogari has an outdoor swimming pool as well as three huge hot tubs that can fit up to 15 people in each one. There's also a bar here so that you can enjoy snacks and drinks from the comfort of your tub!
There's a tour desk in the lobby to help you arrange any activities you want to do nearby, like visiting the falls, obviously, but there are other options as well. The hotel is also right by the city's central bus station, so you can easily continue on your travels.
Helicopter ride over Iguazu Falls
For an unforgettable experience, why not see the falls from the sky? This short flight leaves from the Brazil side and takes you right over the falls for the most incredible views of these massive cascades.
Concept Design Hostel & Suites
Why we love it
- Cool and comfy hostel
- Swimming pool and bar
- Fun events throughout the year
- Walking distance to the city centre
If you're travelling to Iguazu Falls on a budget then the Concept Design Hostel is one of the coolest hostels we've ever seen!
This hostel is more like a budget hotel with lots of great features including a swimming pool, bar, lounge and terrace. You can choose from large private rooms (with a private bathroom) or dorm beds with shared bathrooms.
The shared kitchen is fully stocked so that you can do your own cooking to keep costs low. The bar offers some snacks to purchase but you're also only a 15-minute walk from all the restaurants, cafes and shops of the city centre.
While it might be a cheap accommodation option it's also very clean and comfy. Concept is especially fun for young gay travellers looking to make new friends; they have a variety of events throughout the year including movie marathons, music shows and even ‘Master Chef' style gastronomic events!
Gay bars in Iguazu Falls
There's no official gay scene in Puerto Iguazú or in Foz do Iguaçu, but there are some very hip and happening gay friendly places in both.
In Puerto Iguazú (Argentinian side), the main gay friendly bar at the moment is:
- Puerto Bambu Restobar: one of the most popular restobars in Puerto Iguazú, great for people watching. They serve pretty decent food and some excellent cocktails. There's a giant bamboo verandah where you can sit and listen to reggae. Bambu is located at Avenue Brasil 96 and is open every day from midday until midnight (later on weekends).
In Foz do Iguaçu (Brazilian side), the main gay friendly bar is:
- Zeppelin Old Bar: one of the most popular hangouts in Foz do Iguaçu, particularly on weekends. We love the music theme here, from the decoration to the menu where the dishes are named after and inspired by famous rock bands. Zeppelin is located on Major Raul de Matos Street 222 and is only open Wednesday-Saturday until around 2am.
Go sky-diving over the Three Frontiers
Thrill-seekers will be excited to know that you can do a tandem skydive over the Three Frontiers Landmark. Departing from the Brazil side you will then dive over the point where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet.
Gay clubs in Iguazu Falls
The main gay friendly club hangout in Iguazu is on the Brazilian side:
- Space Free Dance (Brazilian side): Space Free Dance is a popular queer-friendly nightclub with live DJs in Foz do Iguaçu. Unfortunately, there isn't much information available online about opening times so you may need to just rock up and see; keep an eye out on the Facebook page for the latest info. Space Free Dance is located at Avenida República Argentina 1028.
On the Argentinian side, Cuba Libra used to be the main gay club in Iguazu, however, it did not survive the Pandemic and shut its doors for good.
Things to do in the Iguazu Falls
Obviously, the number one thing to do when visiting the area is to see the breathtaking beauty of the falls. But there are a number of different ways to do this, from both sides of the river, as well as other interesting and exciting activities you may not have heard about. These are some of the coolest things to do in the area which we recommend:
Visit both sides of the Falls in one day
We mentioned earlier that you really should try and see the falls from both sides to truly appreciate it. On the Argentinian side you get the splendour of being up close and on the Brazilian side you get an impressive panoramic view. It's possible to organise yourself to cross the border and explore the falls from both sides but if you want to avoid any hassles you can join a full-day tour that will take you to both sides with plenty of time for wandering and taking photos. You can book your own tour of both sides either departing from Foz do Iguaçu or from Puerto Iguazú.
Walk to the Falls at night under the full moon
One of the most romantic things we did in Inguazu was to walk to the falls at night under the light of the full moon! Obviously, you will only be able to do this if your visit coincides with the 5 days surrounding a full moon, but can you imagine a more unique way to experience the Falls with your loved one? Again, this night tour can be booked to depart from Puerto Iguazú or Foz do Iguaçu but in both cases, you will be enjoying your night-time visit to the Falls from the well-serviced Argentinian side.
Go for a helicopter ride over the Falls
An incredible and adrenaline-inducing activity you might enjoy is to go for a helicopter flight over the Falls. You'll get to enjoy spectacular views from above on this ten-minute flight; an experience you will never forget. The helicopter ride departs from the Brazilian side, near the Foz do Iguaçu International Airport, but you will need to make your own way there. Just imagine being able to say you saw the falls from three different angles; the Argentinian side, Brazilian side and from the sky!
Learn about local flora and fauna at the Biocentre
If you like learning about the local flora and fauna of a place then you should definitely visit the Iguazú Biocentre near Puerto Iguazú. This is also a fun way to get up close to some of the wildlife that is definitely out there in the jungle near the falls, but that you might not actually see. There's a butterfly farm and a lovely orchid garden to wander around. You'll also be able to see animals such as Caymans, tortoises, snakes and iguanas, including ones native to the Galapagos Islands.
Visit a traditional Guaraní Village
For a unique opportunity to learn about the culture of the indigenous people of the area you can visit a traditional Guarani village on a tour from Puerto Iguazú. On this tour, the community of M'bya Guaranies welcome you into their village and will teach you about their natural medicine, culture, songs and crafts. Your English or Spanish speaking guide will help translate as the villagers take you on a jungle walk, show you their jungle temple and later take you to a traditional handicrafts fair.
See tropical birds at the Brazilian Bird Park
On the Brazilian side of the river is the Parque das Aves, a private zoo for tropical birds that have come from rehabilitation centres or official zoo breeding programs. Even if you are staying in Puerto Iguazú you can easily book a tour to get there or travel by yourself if you're already in Brazil. You'll be able to see beautiful macaws, parrots, flamingos, hummingbirds and toucans from the jungle walkways; as well as some native reptiles, butterflies, moths, etc. Make sure you eat at the restaurant with stunning views of the Lake of Flamingos!
Skydive over the Three Frontiers
If a helicopter ride over the Falls wasn't quite thrilling enough for you, you can also do a tandem skydive over the Three Frontiers! You'll be taken up in a plane and given full instructions before jumping with your instructor from above the point where the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet in the rivers of Iguazú and Paraná. This activity is a bit of a splurge, but for any fans of sky-diving, you'd be mad not to jump at the chance (sorry, not sorry!) to do it in such a unique location.
Take a day-trip to the San Ignacio Mission
A popular place to visit as a day trip from Iguazu Falls is the San Ignacio Miní; a mission founded by the Jesuits during the Spanish Colonial Period. Departing from either Puerto Iguazú or Foz do Iguaçu you can travel in comfort to the ruins to explore and then also discover the Wanda Mines. Here you'll be able to spot agate, amethyst, topaz, jasper and different types of quartz as well as having the opportunity to buy yourself some sparkly jewellery in the store!
Watch a live dance show over dinner
How about dinner and a show? Eat a delicious traditional Argentinian steakhouse meal, paired with the perfect local wines, while watching a live Tango show at El Quincho del Tío Querido; a restaurant in Puerto Iguazú. This is the perfect way to listen to some lovely music and relax while getting to know the local culture. If you're staying in Foz do Iguaçu then you should definitely check out the Rafain Churrascaria Show which features two hours of dance performances while you feast on typical Brazilian cuisine.
Go for a boat ride underneath the Falls
As well as seeing the Falls from either side of the border (or both) you can even see them from the deck of a thrilling boat ride! Obviously, you're going to get a bit (or a lot) wet as you get right up close to the thundering waterfalls, but this is an unforgettable way to see the falls with pure adrenaline-pumping action. This exciting boat ride can be booked to depart from both Puerto Iguazú and Foz do Iguaçu and takes you right up under the Salto San Martin falls; the largest cascade that can be reached by boat.
Gay friendly restaurants
There's a wide variety of delicious places to eat in both Puerto Iguazú and Foz do Iguaçu. These were our personal favourite gay friendly restaurants which were amazing!
Another fantastic gay friendly place for a meal in Puerto Iguazú is the very fancy Aqva Restaurant. They specialise in local fish such as pacu, dorado and the Patagonian toothfish; as well as offering perfectly cooked steak, lamb, pork and homemade pasta. The service here is impeccable and the desserts are divine; like flan with dulce de leche, passionfruit mousse or their special yerba mate creme brulee. Make sure you have a look at their website so that you can drool over the photos of all the delicious choices!
If you're craving some genuine Italian food, then make sure you head to La Toscana Trattoria in Puerto Iguazú. The founders came from Florence and serve up traditional Italian dishes made from the best local ingredients. One of their specialities is the incredible spaghetti cooked in a hollowed out wheel of Parmesan with flaming cognac in the sauce! This amazing restaurant is very popular so you will absolutely need to make a reservation ahead of time to ensure you can get a table.
If you're looking for good vegetarian or vegan cuisine, head to Cheiro Verde in Foz do Iguaçu. This vegetarian buffet restaurant serves all you can eat deliciousness for a low price. Most of the food is also vegan but a few dishes have egg so make sure you ask. As well as yummy sushi, noodles, curries and more, the price includes heavenly desserts like fried banana with cinnamon. Cheiro Verde is only open for lunch; it's so popular you may have to wait a bit to get a table but it's definitely worth it!
Pop Art + Black Cat Cafe
Another excellent choice in Foz do Iguaçu for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan food is the Pop Art + Black Cat Cafe. As the first vegetarian cafe in the city, they also serve a vegan lunch menu from Monday-Saturday. This is the perfect spot for a good coffee with plant-based milk alternatives and a delicious vegan brownie or slice of gluten-free cake. The decor is also very groovy with lots of pop art (not surprisingly) and they even sell cool t-shirts and gifts. Yaaaaas Queen!
Must do in Foz do Iguaçu: Dinner and a show
In Foz do Iguaçu you can enjoy a fantastic night out with delicious food and a Brazilian dance show. The Rafain Churrascaria Show features two hours of dance performances while you feast on typical Brazilian cuisine.
Prepare your trip
Here we've combined some of our best hints and tips to make organising your own gay trip to Iguazu Falls a little bit easier. This is everything the gay traveller should know before they go:
Travel insurance: we always recommend getting travel insurance for any trip to ensure that you are protected in the event of theft, accidents, cancellations or other problems that can crop up. We personally use Heymondo Travel Insurance and love their comprehensive cover, plus how easy it is to make a claim online when needed.
How to get there: if you're flying to the Iguazu Falls area you will either be arriving at the International Airport in Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil) or the one in Puerto Iguazú (Argentina). Both airports are located outside of the city so we would suggest booking a private airport transfer with a bilingual guide to get to your hotel in Argentina or Brazil without worrying about finding transport or getting lost.
Visa requirements: depending on whether you're planning to stay on one side of the Falls area or the other (or even both), you will need to check visa requirements for Argentina and/or Brazil. If you plan to cross the border during your visit you may also need either a visa or to pay a reciprocity fee. Use this handy tool to find out the requirements for your nationality.
Currency: if you are staying in Puerto Iguazú you will be using the Argentine Peso. $1 converts to about 43.25 pesos and €1 is about 48.50 pesos. If you are in Foz do Iguaçu the currency is the Brazilian Real which is abbreviated to BRL. $1 converts to roughly R$3.98, while €1 equals about R$4.46.
Tipping culture: in both Argentina and Brazil tipping is not really expected but if you like to reward good service you can add around 10% of your bill at a restaurant or round up to the nearest note for taxis.
Internet access: free WiFi is generally available in places like cafes, hotels and restaurants in both Argentina and Brazil, although it might not always be terribly fast. If you know you will need fast WiFi then you may like to bring a portable WiFi device with you or purchase a local SIM card when you arrive.
Online privacy: both Argentina and Brazil have progressive laws concerning homosexuality so you will be able to use gay dating apps like Scruff or Grindr without any issues. If you do prefer to keep your internet usage private then we recommend ExpressVPN as it's affordable and reliable.
Accommodation: we've included our favourite gay friendly accommodation options in this post but if you are looking for more choices in Foz do Iguacú or Puerto Iguazú make sure you check out Booking.com. They have the best prices, great 24/7 customer service and usually free cancellations when needed.
Sightseeing and adventure: obviously there are lots of exciting ways to see the falls, some of which we have included here already. If you're looking for more fun activities in the area try GetYourGuide. They have a very easy booking process, 24/7 customer support and so many choices!
Gay map of Iguazu
We've put together a map of all the gay friendly hotels, restaurants, bars, sights and more to help you plan your own fabulous trip to Iguazu Falls. Check it out here:
For more inspiration:
- Find out how to experience the Amazon jungle for gay travelers
- Check out our complete gay travel guide to Argentina
- Along with these interesting facts about Argentina you might not have known
- As well as our gay city guide to exciting Buenos Aires
- These are the best gay bars in Buenos Aires if you're looking to party
- Read about how we learned to dance queer tango
- As well as when we went orca spotting in Patagonia
- These are our top highlights of Patagonia