From the towering peaks of the Andes to the vast, fertile plains of the Pampas, Argentina boasts a diverse range of landscapes. Argentinian waterfalls have carved their way into this geographical mix, tumbling through forests and crashing into canyons. And, while Iguazu tends to steal the show, there are plenty of waterfalls in Argentina to explore.
In this article, we will embark on a journey to discover Argentina’s best waterfalls, beginning with the most iconic and awe-inspiring of them all.
Iguazu Falls: The Tallest Waterfall in Argentina?
While there is no officially recognized tallest waterfall in Argentina, Iguazu Falls is undoubtedly a top contender. Straddling the border between Brazil and Argentina, both countries have a UNESCO World Heritage-listed national park that features these spectacular falls. Sometimes spelled Iguacu or Iguassu, the name originates from the Guaraní word for “great water,” and indeed it is already recognised as the largest of all Argentinian waterfalls by overall area.
Comprising 275 individual cascades, Iguazu Falls range from 200 to 269 feet in height and are interspersed with various islands. The falls are situated 14 miles before the Iguazu River merges with the Upper Paraná River, marking the border between Argentina and Brazil. The water surges at an astonishing average rate of 62,000 cubic feet per second, sometimes even reaching 450,000 cubic feet per second. One of the most striking features of Iguazu Falls is the Garganta do Diabo, or “Devil’s Throat,” a massive gorge from which a misty curtain ascends over 500 feet into the air.
Consistently hailed as one of Argentina’s best waterfalls, Cascada Chachin proves that petite can be powerful. Feeding on the snowy peaks in the Lake District of Neuquén near the Chilean border, this turbulent torrent courses through the rich Valdivian rainforest, its thunderous roar announcing its presence.
Salto del Agrio
When it comes to waterfalls in Argentina, Salto del Agrio, or Agrio Falls, is guaranteed to make people see red. Specifically, the rocks and the waters of this striking plunge waterfall have a distinct ochre hue. This is thanks to the volcanic geology of its setting within Neuquén’s Copahue Provincial Park, an awe-inspiring landscape formed by successive lava flows, which have also deposited minerals into the waters of the Río Agrio. Added to this is the pure drama of the spectacle of this 150-foot downpour into the vast chasm of the canyon it inhabits. Numerous other waterfalls grace the area, overseen by the looming Copahue Volcano.
Immersed in the intense greenery of the rainforest of Misiones, legend has it that the god of nature created Salto Encantado in honour of two ill-fated lovers who met their tragic end at the site. One can see why this captivating cataract inspired such a tale, as well as why it’s amongst the best-known waterfalls of Argentina. From its impressive drop of some 210 feet to its gossamer appearance as it falls, it lives up to the name of the “enchanted jump”.
Cascada de Los Alerces
Tucked away in the Andes of northern Patagonia, located in a national park that bears its name, Cascada de Los Alerces is a charming 20-foot-tall waterfall resembling a delicate veil. The park, bordering Chile, boasts a landscape sculpted by successive glaciations, yielding remarkable features such as moraines, glacial cirques, and crystal-clear lakes. Dense temperate forests dominate the vegetation, giving way to alpine meadows beneath the craggy Andean peaks.
Millions of years ago, a geological fault occurred on the Uruguay River. The result was the extraordinary spectacle known as Mocona Falls. Situated in a dedicated provincial park in Misiones’ central-eastern region, this collection of waterfalls in Argentina are unusual in the extreme. Instead of following the conventional pattern of water cascading over a cliff or similar precipice, Mocona Falls runs parallel to the river, essentially splitting it lengthways, with water spilling off the side into a gorge. As a result, the height of Mocona Falls varies significantly depending on annual rainfall and thus the depth of the river, ranging from 7 to 26 feet, and on rare occasions, reaching up to 33 feet.
As we’ve seen, the waterfalls of Argentina don’t stop at the iconic Iguazu. Indeed, from the geological phenomenon of Mocona to the delicate veil of Cascada de Los Alerces, Argentina’s waterfalls are as diverse as the landscape they call home.