Understanding the Seasons at Iguazú Falls
Iguazú is located on the border of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The region is characterized by a humid subtropical climate, so visitors can expect warm to hot weather year-round. While there's less variation in temperatures than you'll find further south in Argentina, there are still distinct seasons at Iguazú Falls. (Note that the seasons are opposite in the southern hemisphere, so summer begins in December and lasts through February, while winter begins in June and lasts through August, and so on.)
Hot and humid with long days, summer is the busiest time of the year to visit. Fall is the wettest time of the year, which isn't necessarily a problem when you're visiting waterfalls, so long as you're prepared with rain gear. Winter brings drier weather, short daylight hours, and fewer visitors to the park (save for the last few weeks of July, when Argentines take their winter vacations). Spring is a lovely time to visit: crowds are manageable, the river rushes, and foliage blooms around the national park's hiking trails.
Check out this Ultimate Guide to Iguazú Falls for more travel tips and inspiration.
Visiting Iguazú Falls in Winter (June - August)
Weather-wise, winter is a good time to visit Iguazú: visitors can expect sunny, dry weather, with highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s. While it's true that days are short during this time of the year, you'll still have plenty of time to hike and boat in the park—just be sure to get an early start each day.
In terms of crowds, winter is considered low season at Iguazú, with one major exception. During the last two weeks of July (sometimes lasting a few days into August), the park fills with Argentine tourists—this is winter vacation time all over the country, and lots of families from colder regions plan trips to balmy Iguazú at this time. If you're planning to visit at the end of July, be sure to book hotel rooms and rental cars as far in advance as possible, and be prepared to pay inflated prices. If you can avoid visiting during this period, you'll find winter to be a relaxing time to visit, and lots of hotels offer promotional rates, too.
Visiting Iguazú Falls in Spring (September - November)
Spring means warm, humid weather and occasional rainy days at Iguazú. October is the wettest month of the year, averaging ten days of rain—then again, when you're in a jungle setting with a near-constant spray of waterfalls along hiking trails and the splash of the river current while on boat rides, a little extra water doesn't seem like a big deal. It's best to come with rain gear at this time of the year. In a pinch, the gift shops in the national park sell ponchos. Keep in mind that trails and catwalks can get slippery, too, when it rains, so you'll want to make sure you're wearing appropriate footwear.
Expect highs in the low 80s and lows in the lower 60s in spring. Luckily, the days are getting longer as the seasons change, giving visitors more time to explore the park. It's also a great time for lounging by the pool at your hotel.
Visiting Iguazú Falls in Summer (December - February)
Summer is peak travel season at Iguazú. That's because January (especially) and February (to a somewhat lesser extent) are vacation months for Argentines and lots of other people around South America. The region sees an uptick in domestic tourism, plus an influx of visitors from the US, Europe, and other countries with cold winter weather—lots of travelers escape to warmer weather at this time of year, so it's a popular time for tourism in Argentina and Brazil.
This is also the hottest time of the year at Iguazú. Expect high humidity and temperatures that soar into the upper 90s during the day—and it doesn't cool off much after dark. This is a good time to take a refreshing boat ride in the park (you'll get wet, and that's the point), stick to shaded paths while hiking, and relax by your hotel pool at the end of the day. Just be sure to book accommodations and rental cars well ahead of time, and be prepared to pay premium prices for them.
Visiting Iguazú Falls in Fall (March - May)
Autumn at Iguazú Falls means warm, humid weather, with temperatures hovering in the mid-80s during the day and dropping down into the upper 60s after dark. This is the region's dry season, so you're unlikely to encounter a rainy day—the downside is that the waterfalls look slightly less dramatic when there's no rainfall keeping the level of the river high. It's a good thing, though, if you're traveling with kids, as hiking trails and catwalks stay dry, making them safer to navigate.
This time of the year is considered a shoulder season at Iguazú: you'll see moderate crowds and reasonable rates at hotels. Unless you visit during Semana Santa (Holy Week), that is: hotels fill up, rates skyrocket, and the parks are packed around Easter, when many Argentines and Brazilians plan short trips to the falls. Avoid that time if you can—but otherwise, fall is a wonderful time to visit.
Events & Festivals in Iguazú Falls
Walks in the Moonlight: Every month, Iguazú National Park offers guided nocturnal tours on five evenings. The exact schedule depends on the lunar calendar. Sign up ahead of time for the chance to see the park’s natural attractions under the moonlight, plus owls and other creatures that only come out at night. Several departures are available (7:45, 8:30, and 9:15 pm) and reservations are required.
Beating the Crowds During Iguazú Falls' High Season
If you're visiting Iguazú in summer, during winter vacations (second half of July) or Semana Santa (Holy Week, in March or April), your best strategy to beat the crowds is to be the first in the park in the morning. Get an early start, make reservations ahead of time for popular activities like the Gran Aventura boat ride, and linger late in the afternoon, when lots of day-trippers head out. This is an excellent time for photography, as you'll have nice afternoon light and fewer people obstructing your view.
When crowds surge, another great option is to take a hike along Macuco Trail. Far fewer tourists venture on this quiet wooded path, so the round-trip hike towards the river is a nice option: just remember to bring plenty of water and mosquito repellant.
Conclusion: What is the best time to visit Iguazú Falls?
Perhaps the better question is—when is the worst time to visit? If you can avoid the busiest times of the year, including January (when the weather is uncomfortably hot and humid), Semana Santa (when tourists descend on the region from all over South America), and the second two weeks of July (when Argentines are on their winter vacations), you'll be fine. If you can plan to visit during the week instead of on the weekend, all the better, as you'll experience more peace and quiet. That said, Iguazú is a spectacular destination whenever you can manage to get there.