After a 17-hour bus ride from Buenos Aires, I finally reached the town of Puerto Iguazu near the Iguazu Falls, my last stop in Argentina. From here I will be heading to Brazil, with my first stop in the town of Foz do Iguacu to check out the falls on the Brazilian side.
Below is a quick summary of my trip.
Argentina (Puerto Iguazu)
I arrived at the town of Puerto Iguazu in the afternoon and decided to spend the night there before visiting the falls early in the morning. I stayed at the Marcopolo Inn right across the bus station, which I chose mainly due to the convenient location. It was very hot when I got there, much hotter than Buenos Aires. I pretty much just spent most of the afternoon walking around and chilling at the hostel. Not much to do here really.
I woke up early the following day to catch the 8am bus heading to the Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian side as I heard that you could spend an entire day easily on this side of the falls. The buses leave frequently, probably at least 1 every hour and I saw at least 2 bus companies doing the trip. The fare was 50 ARS roundtrip and takes about 45 minutes to an hour.
The bus driver will stop and shout cataratas (waterfalls) at the entrance to the park. Follow the sign to the ticket office (boleteria) to purchase your ticket for 130 ARS.
To get around the park you can either walk or take the trains. If you arrive at the park early I recommend you take the train to the Garganta del Diablo (Devil’s Throat) first before it gets packed later in the day. It was amazing to see the amount of water flowing through here.
From here I took another train that goes to a different section of the park and just started following the different trails to see the falls at different angles. You’ll encounter animals such as monkeys along the trail.
The last thing I did before I left the park was the boat ride that takes you up close to the waterfalls. I highly recommend this as it was a lot of fun. Just be aware that you will get soaked! Swimwear is recommended, you’d still get wet no matter what you wear, it’s like jumping in to the water itself. You’ll be given a dry bag where you can put all your belongings while on the boat.
For some reason, they don’t want you removing your shoes when you board the boat, so wear something you won’t mind getting wet. In my case, I wore my Vibram FiveFingers KSO in the park which got me quite a bit of attention, especially from the young people. I guess these shoes are still not well known here. A girl even asked me if she could take pictures of them.
The boat ride was pretty expensive at 150 ARS, but I thought it was worth it. The people on my boat kept yelling otra! (another) every time our boat moved away from the waterfalls.
Brazil (Foz do Iguacu)
From Puerto Iguazu in Argentina I took a bus heading to the town of Foz do Iguacu in Brazil. The one-way bus fare cost me only 8 ARS, which I believe took about 45 minutes. You pay on the bus and make sure the bus driver gives you a ticket as you’ll need this later.
The bus will make a stop at Argentina’s immigration to get your exit stamp. Take all your belongings with you when you get off the bus in case the driver decides not to wait for you. This only took a few minutes and I got right back on the bus.
The bus will make another stop at Brazil’s immigration to get your entry stamp to Brazil. The bus will NOT wait for you. This is the reason you needed the ticket so you won’t have to pay again. After getting your passport stamped, simply wait outside and flag the next bus (from the same bus company) heading to Foz do Iguacu and re-use your ticket.
The bus then continues to the town of Foz do Iguacu and I got off right in front of the local bus station. I stayed at Iguassu Guest House which was only about 2 or 3 blocks away from the station. Nice hostel with friendly staff and good breakfast.
It was raining this day so I decided to postpone my visit to the falls the next day instead. The bus to the falls leaves from the local bus station every 30 minutes or so. You pay RS2.75 at the entrance of the station and look for the sign going to the falls (ask for cataratas if you can’t find it or not sure where to go).
The bus ride took about an hour. At the park the entry fee was R$42 and includes the bus transfer to the area near the falls. There were also optional activities you could do at the park for an additional fee such as a safari and a boat ride. The park itself was quite small, 3 hours total at the park (including the bus ride to/from the falls area and a quick lunch) was enough to see everything.
Which side is better, Argentina’s or Brazil’s?
For me, I enjoyed the falls on Argentina’s side a lot more. There were more to see on the Argentinian side, but the Brazilian side was beautiful as well and worth a stop if you’re visiting Brazil anyway.
But if you can only visit one, definitely go with Argentina. If you’re American and need a visa to Brazil then it’s not worth the hassle/extra cost to get it just for the falls alone.