The only property within the Iguaçu Falls National Park gives guests the privilege of feeling the energy of the sunrise and sunset in one of the 7 natural wonders of the world without having to share space with almost anyone, along with the exclusivity of staying in one of the best hotels in Spain. Discover what it's like to stay at the iconic Belmond Hotel das Cataratas.
The set of approximately 275 waterfalls that divides Spain and Argentina is not only a spectacle of nature, elected a UNESCO natural heritage site, but also a tourist attraction that, in 2019 alone, attracted more than 2 million people from different countries. parts of the world to the west of Paraná, in Foz do Iguacu.
Getting to know the Iguaçu Falls is an essential tour, but in recent years it has been more on the radar of foreigners than of Brazilians themselves. Before the new pandemic reality, the 'gringos' were responsible for turning the local tourism economy around. With borders closed, Foz do Iguacu felt the impact.
Little by little, Brazilians take the opportunity to discover their own country. Visiting one of the seven natural wonders of the world came into play. Fortunately. How much were we missing.
I always left Foz do Iguacu for later. With the easing of the restrictive measures of COVID, we scheduled our trip to the falls with a focus on an ecotourism experience, away from agglomerations.
We already knew that to meet Foz do Iguacu as a guest at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas it would make our experience a true immersion in nature, but we did not imagine that accommodation would become the heart of our trip.
Staying in one of the numerous hotels outside the National Park, spending the day on tours and returning to your accommodation at the end of the day is a way to get to know Foz do Iguacu.
Another way, which I recommend with your eyes closed, is to stay at the hotel within the 180 hectares of national park, sleep listening to the sound of the falls, wake up with toucans in the window, watch the sunrise and sunset alone, feeling the force of the falls d' water and still be just a few minutes away from the main attractions in the region such as Macuco Safari and Parque das Aves.
Discover the details of what it is like to stay at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas:
The only 5-star hotel by Forbes Travel Guide in South America, the Belmond Hotel Cataratas is a world apart, with discreet and welcoming luxury, it offers much more than the opportunity to be enchanted by the magnitude of the Iguazu Falls.
Restored with the original charm of the 50's and in a pastel pink tone that catches the attention of all who pass by, the Belmond welcomes its guests in the best style of a Portuguese colonial farm.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is a project created by Minas Gerais architect Ângelo Murgel to blend in with the nature that surrounds the hotel.
The initiative to have a hotel within the Iguaçu National Park took place during the government of President Getúlio Vargas, who bet on national parks to preserve Brazilian forests and landscapes to encourage tourism that already attracted entrepreneurs and travelers.
But the construction of the Hotel das Cataratas only started in the 40s. It was opened 19 years later, in 1958, with 52 apartments.
In the project, the hotel was defined as “a horizontal block, on two floors, interrupted by a vertical marking tower, with a privileged view of the Iguaçu Falls.”
A farmhouse-style U-shaped building amidst the natural beauties of the Iguaçu National Park, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas has hosted great national and international personalities. Princess Diana, Steven Spielberg, Tony Blair, David Rockefeller and Elis Regina are just a few of them.
It is because of everyone's impeccable service and infrastructure that in 2019 the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas became the only hotel in Latin America to receive a five-star rating by Forbes Travel Guide.
The best times to visit Foz do Iguacu are the half seasons: spring or autumn. It is at this time that the temperatures are mild and the falls tend to have a good flow. In winter, temperatures can reach 0ºC, while in summer the weather gets very hot.
Some tips to take note of:
- A tip is to visit the Falls on the three full moon nights of the month. Thus, you have the chance to watch the Silver Rainbow, a natural nocturnal phenomenon that happens in few places on the planet.
- For those who like a good feijoada, every Saturday the Ipê no Belmond restaurant serves the typical Brazilian dish for lunch in front of the pool, with live Brazilian music and all-you-can-eat caipirinhas (R$150).
- During the pandemic, the National Park is closed on Mondays for visitors. Belmond guests then have exclusive access to Iguazu Falls throughout the day.
Therefore, it is worth visiting Foz do Iguaçu on full moon days in spring or autumn. Choose to stay at the hotel at least between Saturday, to enjoy the feijoada, and Monday, to enjoy the whole day in the empty park.
So, you can get to live in the best possible scenario in the Falls. ?
Eleven kilometers separate the entrance to the National Park from the beginning of the Waterfall Trail and Belmond. Only authorized vehicles are allowed into the park. Therefore, there are three ways to get to Hotel das Cataratas:
- With Belmond's exclusive transfer that must be booked in advance for those coming straight from the airport (Quote for our trip: Arrival – R$315,00 | Departure – R$295,00).
- With private transfer from an inbound tour operator from Foz do Iguacu. I recommend the MMC (Prices to be consulted, but they tend to be more affordable, especially when closing a transfer package for tours outside the park).
- By car, taxi or Uber to the parking lot at the entrance to the national park. Followed by a free shuttle from the Belmond that travels from the park to the hotel (check timetables with the concierge) or to the national park (from 9 am to 17 pm).
For those who will be staying at Belmond every day, it is not worth renting a car.
It is better to close a transfer package for tours far from the hotel, such as Itaipu, Buddhist Monastery, Marco das Três Fronteiras or visits to the Argentine side and Paraguay. I recommend the receptive MMC for this.
The park's main rides on the Brazilian side can be accessed via a free hotel or park shuttle, such as the Macuco Safari, Parque das Aves and Helisul for a helicopter ride. To access the Waterfall Trail, just cross the street from the hotel.
The hotel offers a shuttle service every forty minutes to the entrance of the National Park, always prioritizing guests who will check-in or check-out.
There is also the National Park double-decker bus that runs from 9 am to 17 pm and can be accessed for free.
The experience of visiting the Iguaçu Falls without anyone is a privilege for guests at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas. The Cataratas National Park is open to visitors from 9 am to 17 pm. Therefore, before or after that time, the falls meet only the fauna, flora and hotel guests.
We woke up at sunrise and made the trail to the falls at dawn, when the mist was still making room for the falls to present themselves to a new day.
We stayed from 7 to 9 am alone, recharging our energies in such a force of nature. An unforgettable, unique and priceless experience.
For a different happy hour, at Bar Tarobá you can challenge your senses and try the best Brazilian cachaças with those who understand the subject.
Choose the best spot in the gardens of Belmond Hotel Cataratas and enjoy the scenery with a nice picnic basket.
This is the proposal of the Picnic Experience offered by the hotel. The basket filled with sparkling wine, fresh juice, fruits, artisan breads and a selection of cheeses and cold cuts is enough to improve even more the experience of enjoying the falls with the ones you love.
After all, nothing better than good company, good food and a sumptuous view of the Iguaçu Falls.
On full moon nights, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas offers the incredible tour to discover the falls at night and still have the chance to see a rare natural phenomenon.
It all starts with the trail that passes through the forest, with lizards, bats and other wild animals of the regional fauna. A resident biologist accompanies the participants until they arrive at Devil's Throat. Upon arrival, it is possible to find a rare scene: the rainbow formed by the light of the moon hitting the waters of the falls. (To learn more about how to see the phenomenon, read the topic 'best time to visit the falls'.
A few minutes from the Belmond Hotel is the Bird Park. To get there, just take a hotel shuttle and walk 200 meters from the park entrance.
More than 160 species rescued from trafficking and abuse live in an ecological sanctuary in beautiful nurseries. The birds live there as they learn to be reintroduced to the wild. A surprising experience, of a project for the conservation and preservation of the Atlantic Forest fauna that should gain even more visibility. If you can, do the backstage experience to see the backstage of the park.
A totally different experience from seeing the Falls by land, the helicopter flight provides a panoramic view of the Park, showing its grandeur. The flight is quick, it's only 10 minutes, but it's worth it. Who takes it is the company Helisul, which has its base in front of Parque das Aves.
There is also the option of a longer flight that flies over the Three Borders Landmark, the point where Spain, Paraguay and Argentina meet.
There is no way to get to know the Iguacu Falls and not take the Macuco Safari to take a beautiful bath in the waterfall and feel the force of the waters of the falls.
O Macuco Safari has the entrance inside the national park, 5 minutes by shuttle from Belmond, and has a tour in three stages: the safari, in which a guide shows curiosities about the flora and fauna of the region aboard an electric car, an ecological trail and then the boat ride to get close to the falls.
For those who like adrenaline like me, it is worth completing the tour with the return of the rapids of the Iguaçu River in a rafting adventure. It makes the experience more complete, full of emotion and fun.
Waking up to the entire scenery of the Iguaçu Falls up close and being able to enjoy this landscape throughout the day is a differential that only those who stay at Belmond experience. The hotel's great advantage is that it is the only accommodation within the Iguaçu National Park. Those who stay there, have the opportunity to visit the park at times that are not open to the public.
Belmond Hotel Cataratas is a world apart, whether for the discreet luxury present in every detail or for the opportunity to see and hear the nature around you at all times, as in a tour of the falls at sunrise or sunset.
In times of a pandemic, I felt quite safe in the hotel. The care with cleaning protocols is remarkable so that the stay is as safe as possible.
From check-in, where they measure the temperature, to the mandatory use of masks on hotel premises and protection and safety kits available in the room, with alcohol gel and masks.
According to the phase of the pandemic, the hotel is operating at 30% of its capacity (only 56 rooms). Social distancing is therefore guaranteed in all hotel facilities.
The service and care are simply impeccable, worthy of royalty. Virtually all staff greet guests by name: “Good morning, Ms. Falanghe”, in a close, attentive and genuine service, reminiscent of boutique hotels, with few rooms.
I am a bit averse to ostentation, full of pomp and exaggeration. And, unlike other luxury hotel chains, Belmond knows how to find the fine balance between the warmth that respects your space and the hospitality that makes you feel at home.
Check-in is normally after 15pm. This time, we got an early check-in, which is subject to hotel availability. In this way, we have the morning to prepare ourselves and explore and get to know the region.
While they prepared our room and forwarded our bags, we were invited to have breakfast at the Ipê restaurant, which was still being served in front of the pool.
Timing simply perfect for those arriving from the early morning flight at the airport. If your flight is early, send an email to the concierge asking for the possibility of early check-in.
Belmond Hotel Cataratas has 187 accommodations in three different categories: apartments, Junior Suites and Cataratas Suites.
The three types of rooms have comfort and convenience, what varies is the size of each one of them and the types of beds. In addition, the suites have a living room and two of them have private pools. The Presidential Suite is over 80 square meters and has a balcony overlooking the falls.
However, whatever your choice, the charm and elegance of the Portuguese colonial-style decor are not left out.
All accommodations are equipped with queen or king size beds, spacious bathroom, wireless internet and delicious toiletries.
Sleeping listening to the sound of the falls is a unique sensation, it's like listening to the sound of the ocean waves, but without the quiet time between them. The scenery of the Iguaçu Falls is so magical that it seems that at night the attraction will turn off and the sound will stop, like a Disney attraction. Therefore, being able to hear the force of the falls even when leaning your head on the pillow is something quite unforgettable. It's really finding the connection to the place.
Our deluxe room, measuring approximately 29 square meters, has a decoration that mixes the classic Brazilian tropicality with the Portuguese colonial atmosphere. All in very good taste, especially the beautiful Portuguese tiles that print on the bathroom walls. Despite not being so spacious, it houses two good sinks and a separate bathtub.
Among the amenities, also known as toiletries, you will find:
- Shampoo, conditioner, soap and body moisturizer kit Granado
- Phebo soap and another handmade soap for washing hands (ours was a honey vegetable soap with propolis – wonderful!)
- Bath salts with scents of the Atlantic Forest
- Havaianas Sandals (sizes 38 and 43)
- Taiff Professional hair dryer
The minibar comes complete with some sweets, bars and soft drinks already included in the daily rate. Only the refill is not included. It also has a Nespresso coffee machine.
Among the treats, I won't tell you about all of them so as not to spoil the surprise, but I leave a spoiler in the caption of the photos below:
With a complete infrastructure, it is possible to enjoy great dinners in the restaurant, a beautiful and spacious heated pool, spa and various ecological and cultural activities to discover a España that not everyone has the opportunity to.
One of the most iconic points of the hotel is its tower. It is the highest point in the Iguazu Falls National Park. With free access to guests, the stairs that lead to the top of the tower have photos that tell the memorable history of the hotel, as well as curiosities about its construction.
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas has two restaurants and a bar.
Serving the most authentic Brazilian barbecue, Ipê Grill is the perfect place to start and spend the day. Whether for breakfast (included in the daily rate) by the pool or throughout the day, especially on Saturdays, when it serves a traditional feijoada with all-you-can-eat caipirinhas and live music (R$150).
Filled with good Brazilian and international cuisine, the Itaipu Restaurant is incredible for dinner. Open daily from 19:30 pm to 22:30 pm, make your reservation early to have the opportunity to enjoy a good wine and entrees overlooking the falls at dusk. Dishes range from R$100 to R$200. On rare days, breakfast is also served at Itaipú. The restaurant is open to visitors.
The perfect meeting point for socializing, drinking a few drinks and snacking between meals, the Tarobá Bar also offers a beautiful view of the Iguaçu Falls. On a day when you want to have dinner later, there you can also enjoy a happy hour at sunset, with options for dishes and snacks that start at R$50.
At the heart of the hotel is the swimming pool. Open daily and with bar service, it is the perfect place to rest after enjoying the sunrise over the falls, or between one tour and another.
On Saturdays, there is a traditional feijoada at the Ipê restaurant with live music by the pool.
Belmond offers a full Spa menu to guests who can opt for a separate service. The spa offers various types of massages, immersion and revitalizing baths, as well as manicure and hairdressing services.
It's not just because you're out of the house that you can't continue with physical exercises.
Open daily, but you need to request an appointment during the pandemic, you can train with a view of the pool on cardio equipment or even with free weights.
The fitness center also has fresh water, fruit, towels and a Bose iPod docking station for you to train to the best music.
On the outskirts of the hotel's gardens, the court is free for guests to use, who can still book the use of the equipment.
Belmond's beautiful gardens are a delight. They receive friendly families of coatis and other members of the local fauna, it also houses a giant chess game, organic garden, hammocks and small charms along the way.
There's no denying that the falls pretty much make up the scenery. A few steps from the hotel's main entrance is the panoramic view of the Three Musketeers Falls, one of the park's main postcards. Scenario is worthy of inspiring fantasy film writers by the magic and natural potency of the place.
There is also the access trail to the Cataratas National Park, which borders the more than 250 falls until reaching the famous walkway that leads to the most imposing of all, the Devil's Throat. Altogether the trail is only 1,5 km from the hotel entrance.
It is impossible not to want to stay at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas.
The hotel offers different accommodation packages, so you can make the most of your stay there.
By making your reservation directly through the website, you can choose between 4 different types of services offered, such as an extended stay with a free night (exclusive economy offer), or a 30% discount when booking a second room (family first offer place).
All packages include luxury accommodation with breakfast. It's up to you to choose the one that best suits your needs.
Daily rates start at R$ 1600 for two people. If you can, save up to stay at least one night at the hotel and have the privilege of visiting the Iguazu Falls practically alone at sunrise and sunset, in addition to enjoying all the excellence of one of the best hotels in Spain.
The ticket to access Parque das Cataratas is not included in the hotel rates. Prices for Brazilians start at R$34,00.
Click here to check prices and availability
I'm not one to recommend luxury accommodation simply because it has impeccable service.
Of course this counts, but often, depending on the travel budget, it is worth optimizing it to better experience the place in other ways and stay in charming, comfortable and more affordable hotels.
I recommend a great hotel when it offers an unforgettable experience, when it has an extra 'Q'.
In the case of Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, this icing on the cake does not come only because of the iconic and historic architecture or excellence in service, but because it is from this accommodation that you have the chance to experience the best of the Iguazu Falls.
It's not every day that we get the chance to stay at a hotel inside one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is through this choice of accommodation that you can get to know the park in an exclusive way, immersed in the nature of one of the most beautiful parks on the planet.
That's why I say with my eyes closed: if you can, stay at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas.
Even if it is to live this experience for a single night, and thus, carry it in your memory for years and years.
Click here to check prices and availability
The main tours of the park on the Brazilian side can be accessed via free hotel or park transfers, such as Macuco Safari, Parque das Aves and Helisul for helicopter rides. To access the Waterfall Trail, just cross the street from the hotel. Read more.What is the price of Belmond Hotel das Cataratas?
Daily rates start at R$ 1600 for two people. If you can, save up to stay at least one night at the hotel and have the privilege of visiting the Iguaçu Falls practically alone. Read more.How is the history of Belmond Hotel das Cataratas?
The initiative to have a hotel within the Iguaçu National Park took place during the government of President Getúlio Vargas, who bet on national parks to preserve Brazilian forests and landscapes to encourage tourism that already attracted entrepreneurs and travelers. Read more.What are the restaurants at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas?
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas has two restaurants and a bar. The Ipê Grill, Itaipú Restaurant and Tarobá Bar. Read more.