On a recent visit to Iguassu Falls we took a ride on the Gran Aventura boat. It was brilliant!
If you are visiting Iguassu Falls there are essentially 3 different ways to view the falls; by following the walkways at the side of the falls; taking a helicopter for an aerial view; or taking a boat for a close up experience. The last two are generally optional ways to visit the falls but the boat is definitely the way to go for thrill seekers.
On the Brazilian side of Iguassu Falls is the Macuco Safari boat whereas on the Argentine side is the Gran Aventura boat. Both boats offer a similar experience however the Gran Aventura boat offers greater excitement as enables you to get closer to certain falls and therefore much wetter, and boy do you get wet!
To join the adventure you need to be older than 12 and also not suffer from any heart condition or similar.
The Gran Aventura Boat ride (Great Adventure) begins in the Argentinean side of Iguassu Falls (Iguazu Falls, as the Argentines spell it). After buying your ticket, which can be arranged in advance, you join a set departure. If travelling with Bespoke Brazil we can arrange this prior to travel which will guarantee space on the boat, important during the summer months when it gets busy. Your first step is to board an open-top truck which carries around 40 people and takes you from the departure point to the river. The journey takes around 15 minutes as the truck slowly winds its way through the rainforest and the on-board guide informs you about the trail and what to expect on the boat. On the way keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, toucans and a wealth of butterflies.
At the end of the trail you leave the truck and are provided with a large waterproof bag. This was sufficiently large enough for me to place my large camera rucksack inside plus ample extra room. You then need to descend about 100 steps to the river. Depending on the time of year, sometimes this descent can take a little bit of time if there are queues to board the boat.
As you reach the boat you are provided with life vests and as you board the boat it slowly makes its way out onto the Iguassu River. At this stage you can keep your cameras out as the journey is smooth and you don’t get wet although it’s a bit bumpy as you cross through a few small rapids.
The real fun begins as you approach the waterfalls. The Gran Aventura boat initially does a sweep of some of the smaller falls enabling you to get panoramic photos before making an approach for the San Martin waterfall, a powerful sight. Here the Gran Aventura boat stops so you can sit up the top of the bow of the boat and the guide will take photos of you should you wish. The calm before the storm. The guide speaks in both Spanish and English. It’s now time to put your cameras away!
Now the Gran Aventura boat heads straight toward the throat of the San Martin Falls. You can’t get too close however the force of the spray is enough to soak you from head to toe and make you breathless. After one drenching the driver of the boat takes you back for a second loop just to get you that little bit wetter and most passengers want to go for a third time.
The boat then turns around and continues a little further along the Iguassu River to the Tres Mosqueteiros falls (the 3 Musketeers). These falls are significantly smaller than the San Martin falls however because of this you can get much closer to them and the boat stops virtually under them for what is a full on shower!
The boat now heads back to shore with everyone very wet! We chose just to wear swimwear whilst on the boat which although means you may be a little cold, it enables you to dry off quickly once back on dry land.
As you disembark the boat you have the opportunity to buy a video which is taken on board should you wish to relive them moment which is then delivered to your hotel in either Puerto Iguazu or in Foz do Iguacu.
A pathway then takes you to the rest area where you can change your clothes if necessary and en route you can obtain some great images of the San Martin falls which the next Gran Aventura boat will be heading towards.
All in all the Gran Aventura boat ride is a wonderful inclusion on a holiday to Iguassu Falls, especially for thrill seekers and for young and old alike.