The Deal Mommy

Iguazu Falls Hotels: Is the Melia Iguazu Worth It?

I’m going to begin this post the same way I end it- by imploring you to put Iguazu Falls on your wish list. Words won’t begin to describe it so I’ll just share a video:

I asked before we went to Iguazu Falls whether we should stay at the Melia and the consensus was that the hotel’s location was worth the exorbitant (for families over 3) cost. In the end we decided not to stay at the Melia but did have lunch on property so I could see what the fuss was about.

My Non-Review Review of the Melia Iguazu Falls

If you are looking for nuts and bolts room info, check TripAdvisor. That’s not how I roll. What I wanted to know- and what I’m guessing you want to know- is whether the Melia is worth the extra money. In order to answer that question we need to answer two others: 

How Much Extra Money?

This depends greatly on the size of your family. If you have three or fewer in your party, it’s not so much. However, if you’re four or more the costs go up- as in double- because you’ll need two rooms. They even define an “adult” as age six or higher! 

The pool at the new Falls Iguazu hotel and spa.

The pool at the new Falls Iguazu hotel and spa.

Let’s compare that to our experience at the new Falls Iguazu Hotel and Spa. Using our friend TripAdvisor I found the highly rated property for just $110 a night. Even better, the room slept four, included breakfast, and they even threw in a one way airport transfer. To be fair, we did spend $30/day on taxis so need to factor that in to the equation.

I highly recommend the Falls Iguazu Hotel and Spa. It was a ten minute drive to the falls, the rooms- being new- were well maintained and large, and the setting was quiet and tranquil but still modern enough to have a decent pool cafe and a grownup-friendly lounge for an after-falls glass of Malbec.

Oh, and did I mention that massages were $36 for 45 minutes? Not only did Deal Dad and I each get one, we even bought Deal Kid a leg massage after our nine miles at the Falls got to him. The spa equaled most you see at a four star in the states and included an indoor Roman bath that I didn’t expect to find that far out in the wild. 

What do you get?

Well, the main thing you get is this:

An unedited and unzoomed view from the restaurant at the Melia Iguazu. Rooms have the exact same view, but 1-3 floors higher.

An unedited and unzoomed view from the restaurant at the Melia Iguazu. Rooms have the exact same view, but 1-3 floors higher.

I won’t deny that’s pretty great. However, what you also get is this:
A monkey at the Sheraton Iguazu.
Cute, right? Well, not so cute when this guy and one of his friends dives for your lunch not once, but twice in the same meal! Deal Girl decided her memoir title will be “A monkey stole my mustard”. Catchy, dontcha think?

I never thought of monkeys being like pigeons or seagulls, but they got that disruptive. There must have been a dozen hanging on the Melia’s balconies- not just the restaurant. In the two hours we were there they stole food- not just from us-broke dishes, chased guests from balconies, and just created havoc. 

Many of you mentioned the joy of your morning coffee while enjoying the falls, but I’m not sure how much joy I’d get sipping java while a monkey relieves himself next to you. We saw monkeys poop on balconies, too! 

The Falls Experience

The other main benefit I heard about the Melia was the ability to visit the parks before the crowds descended. I equate that to on-site vs. off-site at Disney. If you have a napping toddler, I see the benefit. Otherwise you can employ basic theme park strategy to avoid the crowds. By asking the staff where the tour groups went and at what time we avoided the throngs of bus tourists. 

The path to Garganta del Diablo at 3PM, during July Vacation. The next morning it was beyond packed.

The path to Garganta del Diablo at 3PM, during July Vacation. The next morning it was beyond packed.

I think it is safe to say you can have an uncrowded Falls experience without the Melia!

To Sum Up: Is The Melia Iguazu Falls worth it?

It’s so not my style to fail to come to a definite conclusion, but my firm answer is maybe. If you are a couple or have just one kid under 6 and very limited time to see the falls, the scale leans towards yes. Otherwise? I just don’t see it. With a bit of strategy you’ll still have an amazing Iguazu Falls Experience. You can use the savings at the spa- and still have some left over. 

If you’ve stayed at the Melia and have room intel, please share. Also if you have another Iguazu hotel suggestion, please share that, too. You’ll help those who come after you. 

The one thing I want you to leave this post with is a desire to visit Iguazu Falls. While I obsessed over which of the Iguazu Falls Hotels to choose, once we got there I realized it was more important just that we were there. Iguazu is a pain to get to as it requires a flight from Buenos Aires and there isn’t anything to do there besides the falls, but it doesn’t matter. JUST GO. 



29 thoughts on “Iguazu Falls Hotels: Is the Melia Iguazu Worth It?

  1. Joe

    We went to Iguazu long before we got into miles and points. I turned down the Sheraton for many of the reasons you outlined, and back then it was only two of us. Seemed too overpriced. Also, for those thinking of doing it on points, 5 nights feels a bit much to me.

    We stayed at somewhere random in town and just took the bus in. It was an experience but fun. In fact, Argentina buses are fun in general, we took one of those first class buses from BsAs to Iguazu (and again from Mendoza back to BsAs). Fairly inexpensive, and lie flat on a bus! I think it was like 16 hours or something, overnight so we saved a night on hotel too.

    We were so young then…haha (2011, so not really. But life has changed)

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      I drew the line at the overnight bus. With in-country flights only 6K miles each I could make that decision without guilt.

  2. Jeffrey

    We stayed at the Sheraton last year for two nights. At the time, I was Gold, so that factored in a little, but we really appreciated the convenience of being the first one – and we literally were the first ones – at Garganta, and having the jungle “to yourself” for a bit before the machinations of the park kicked up. Sitting out on the balcony looking at the falls (the gold upgrade, as you mentioned) was completely worth the experience. The monkeys are there, but more entertaining than annoying (for us, though I’m sure they can get very annoying at times). The Sheraton was able to set up a driver – on pretty short notice – who took us into Brazil, waited for us while we did the park over there, took us to a restaurant for dinner, and then brought us back. This was certainly pricier than the bus system (about $120, less if you skip the dinner part) but completely worth it. I’m sure other hotels can set this up too, though – it wasn’t specifically a Sheraton perk or anything.
    The rooms are “fine”. They are a little worn, and they’re humid and a little small but by no means tiny. But if you’re picking the Sheraton, it’s not because of the room. The restaurant is pricey for lunch and dinner, but the breakfast wasn’t bad at all (in terms of price or quality). Like you, I’m now recommending everyone who asks that Iguazu is a must do; however, I would encourage them to stay at the Sheraton specifically *because* it’s only one or two nights.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      We actually liked the lunch- I didn’t think it was crazily overpriced for a tourist attraction. Thanks for the room review.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi JA,
      Technically, you could do it on one night. However, I stayed two and would recommend two to three due to weather. It would be a shame if your only visit were in a storm.

      1. Scott

        We did two nights, which was really just one day at the Falls. One of the islands was closed due to the tides. Not sure what we missed….it’s a smaller part, but I like to see it all when I go to a place like that.

        1. thedealmommy Post author

          I wouldn’t stress it- looking back on my photos it’s hard to tell which is from which path.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      It’s going on my list of “must dos” when people ask the question, along with the Canaries.

        1. thedealmommy Post author

          Hi Scott,
          I’ve been twice, to Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Highly recommend both. I’ve got a bunch of stuff here on the blog- just use the search bar.

  3. odojoe

    If you are American you will need an expensive visa for Brazil and or Argentina depending on where your hotel is.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Odojoe,
      Fortunately, Argentina and Chile have both lifted their visa fees for US Citizens. Brazil, however, is still an expensive $160- it’s good for ten years but we didn’t do it just for the one day visit as it’s over $500 for a family of four.

  4. Scott

    Iguazu is definitely a must-do. We went last May. Plan was to do the Sheraton for one night and stay in town for one night. Cheapest room was $275 plus tax, so I booked for cash and points — paid 6K points and $110 plus taxes (though I later discovered they never actually charged me for the cash part…bonus!) I have no SPG status, but got upgraded to a falls-view room. (Did have a little hiccup with a room that wasn’t quite fully cleaned and they moved us.)

    The rooms themselves are a little worn…agree with Jeffrey. You are definitely paying for the location. Also, dining options are limited. The restaurant is very expensive, fitting a hotel that is very expensive. Menu looked decent for price, but we didn’t eat there. We took a bus into town for dinner instead. Bus was inexpensive and left from the main road right in front of hotel. Town itself was very cute….lots of dining options, shopping, etc. Had a great meal there. Definitely more affordable, but the cab ride you’ll have to take back must be factored in. We wanted the town experience, though.

    We decided that after all the walking we were going to do the second day, we didn’t want the hassle of having to check out, leave bags, not be able to go right back to the room, etc. So we booked a second night there for 12K points. Didn’t regret it, but I agree there’s probably no right answer. I’d definitely prefer the dining options in town, unless you don’t care about your budget. We ate the second night at the bar. IIRC, it was about $15 for a burger or pizza or something like that, so we just did that. Ordered a couple drinks and they also brought some olives and cheese for snacks. Saw that suggestion from someone online before we went.

    The monkeys are no joke, however. You have to make sure you do not leave your room open, because they can come right in from the balcony. Also, we literally saw packs of monkeys in the park basically attack people for their food in the food areas. You have to be very careful what you carry with you in the park. They have broomsticks with long rattles in the food areas to keep the monkeys back. It really would be better for them to be controlled a little better than they are.

    I’ve never seen a falls quite like it. Amazing experience.

  5. Gilly

    I just stayed one night as a Platinum. Got a beautiful falls view room. I was on Points and cash and due to a lot of little things going wrong I got it all back as a service recovery.

    I would not trade the ease of access and being the first in and getting pictures without the crowds and all the friggin selfie sticks for any other hotel. No buses or anything else, just explore and come back for a swim, walk back to,the falls and just walk back to the hotel. I found 1 night and two days plenty.

    I recommend seeing everything in your bathing suit and a coverup. You’ll probably get wet from the rains that come and go and from the mist. It’s so horribly humid a bathing suit and coverup are pretty practical.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Hi Gilly- an advantage to going in “winter” (July): temperatures were just perfect. We averaged low 70s for a high and high 50s for lows.

  6. tony manzi

    Spent 5 nights at the Sheraton – in a top floor fall’s view suite as Gold members. Luck to have booked that many nights because the entire falls were closed for two full days because a dangerous puma (mountain lion) was in the area and they could not catch it.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Yikes! It would have absolutely sucked to go that far and not see the falls. Glad you got to see them after all.

  7. Carlos from

    We always try to recommend our clients to book in Sheraton, at least for only one night, be in the middle of the park is a nice addition, at let you be one of the first to see the Devil’s Throat.

    Side note: We only saw the monkey one time, and it leaves us garbage on our balcony :P.

    Nice photos too!

  8. Pingback: How to Score Super Cheap Wine at Whole Foods This Weekend & More - Heels First Travel

  9. Vinstravel

    Have booked 2 nights at Sheraton. on the 3rd day my flight is from the brazil side leaving at 12.30 PM. will I have enough time to check out of Sheraton, check out the brazil side of the falls and then get the flight?

    Or should we move to Brazil side the previous night so we can finish the Brazilian falls first thing In the morning and head to the Airport?

    Any suggestions?

    1. Carlos from

      No, you won’t have enough time to visit the falls and then go to airport. Transfer from Sheraton to Brazilian falls will take like 2 hours if you go on regular excursion, 1 hour in private maybe (with your own driver). An the walk in the brazilian falls take 2 hours aprox.

      I recommend you to visit the falls the previous night, so on your third night you go directly to the airport.

      We recommend our clients to book flights at the morning, so they can visit the brazilian side on the same day. Have thought about doing that? What is your itinerary?

  10. Vinstravel

    Thanks Carlos. flying in to IGR at 1.30 PM on a Tuesday. Staying at Sheraton. I have the balance of Tuesday, Wednesday full day and Thursday 12.30 flight from IGU.

    1. Carlos from

      You will be pretty tight on the first day to visit the brazilian side. Maybe you can do the half day excursion to brazilian side on wednesday, at the morning, then come back to Sheraton and visit the rest of the argentinean side.

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