Saffron Toucanet is just one of several toucans seen around the falls. Photo: David Fisher
The great falls at Iguazú, more than a mile wide and nearly 250 feet high, with borders in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, are one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. While most people who visit the falls spend only one or two days visiting the scenic spectacle, our week here will allow us to become more intimately acquainted with the area. The falls are surrounded by subtropical forest and the whole area is now protected as Iguazú National Park, thus providing a perfect setting to a week rich in birds and scenic atmosphere.
Many of the families normally associated with tropical and subtropical areas are well represented at Iguazú. Toucans, motmots and woodpeckers are frequently seen on the hotel grounds, while flycatchers, antbirds, and manakins frequent the surrounding forest areas. Birders new to the tropics will appreciate the familiarity that comes with birding the same habtitat day after day, while those with previous experience in such regions will have opportunities to further build skills in identification and vocalizations.
Our week at Iguazú Falls will be based at two hotels, one near Puerto Iguazú and the other in the park, only a short walk from the falls. We’ll find ourselves enjoying our hotels’ proximity to the surrounding forests, allowing easy access to early morning birding when the birds are most active, while providing air-conditioned comfort during afternoon rest breaks. The hotel restaurants offer tempting international and local cuisine. During our visit we should see more than 150 species, many of which are restricted to southeastern Brazil and this small part of Argentina.
This tour can be taken in conjunction with our tours Argentina: The Pampas, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego or Argentina: The High Andes, or enjoyed as a relaxing week to get acquainted with the birds of the subtropical zone of northeast Argentina. Some 150 species of bird seen on this tour are not likely to be seen on our other Argentina tours, making this an excellent stand-alone choice.
Day 1: The tour begins this evening in Buenos Aires. Night in Buenos Aires
Day 2: We’ll transfer to the domestic airport this morning and fly to Iguazú, arriving in time for afternoon birding both around the grounds of the hotel and at a local private residence where we will have the opportunity to enjoy 5 or more species of hummingbird coming to feeders, affording prolonged views of species often seen only fleetingly in the forest. Night in Iguazú town.
Days 3-4: We will spend these two days birding areas around the perimeter of the park searching for birds that are more difficult to encounter within the park, including Rufous-capped Motmot, Greater Ani, Scale-throated and Planalto Hermits, Versicolored Emerald, and Tufted Antshrike. An optional night-birding trip will be offered to look for Tropical Screech Owl and Common Potoo. Following lunch our second day, we’ll transfer to Iguazú Falls National Park. In the late afternoon we’ll explore the boardwalks of the Falls, being mesmerized by the volume of water around us as Great Dusky Swifts hurl themselves toward the rushing water and we watch for Black-fronted Piping-Guan. Nights in Iguazú town.
Days 5-7: After lunch on day 5, we’ll transfer to the Sheraton Hotel near the falls. Our days based here will see us venturing into different areas of the park and to other nearby areas, exploring quiet trails in search of the many birds that live here. Likely highlights are too numerous to mention, but may include Great Dusky Swift, Surucua Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, Chestnut-eared Araçari, Green-billed and Toco Toucans, Blond-crested and White-spotted Woodpeckers, White-throated Woodcreeper, Rufous Gnateater, Swallow-tailed Manakin, Southern Antpipit, and Neotropical River Warbler.
Most mornings will be spent walking trails listening and watching when the forest is more active with woodcreepers, antbirds, and flycatchers while some afternoons will be spent birding more open areas. Tanager flocks will provide welcome flashes of color in the green expanse of the forest. Clearings around our hotel will provide opportunities to scan for raptors mid-day and to watch the flights of the hundreds of Great Dusky Swifts that nest behind the falls. Early mornings will be greeted with the raucous calls of parrots as they fly from roost sites. Toco Toucans and Red-rumped Caciques frequently provide photographic opportunities in the trees outside the hotel.
We’ll have opportunities to view the falls from different viewpoints including a walk to Garganta del Diablo (Throat of the Devil) where several species of swallows will keep us company as we find ourselves surrounded by rushing torrents of water. Nights in Iguazú.
Day 8: After a final morning at Iguazú we’ll fly back to Buenos Aires, where the tour concludes in time to connect with international flights back to North America.
Updated: 16 January 2009
- 2013 Tour Price : $4,450
- Single Occupancy Supplement : $830
* Tour invoices paid by check carry a modest discount. Details here.
* This tour is organized by our British company, Sunbird. Please review the explanation of our Sunbird pricing here.
This tour is limited to eight participants with one leader.
The Single Occupancy Supplement of $320 does not include the three nights at the Iguazu Sheraton - for further details contact the WINGS office