Iguazu or Iguassu are the largest waterfalls system in the world. They derive as waterfalls of the Iguazu River on the border of the Argentinian province of Misiones and the Brazilian State of Paraná. With nearly 300 individual falls spread over nearly 3 kilometers and set in the jungle, this world heritage site is a breathtaking natural phenomenon and considered unlike any other waterfall in the world and a must for your bucket list.
Iguazu the word means ‘big water’ or ‘great water’ given by the indigenous Guarani and Tupi peoples of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. The falls were discovered by Spanish explorer Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca in 1541, but a native legend is credited to their existence. According to locals, a deity was engaged to a beautiful woman named Naipi, but she betrayed him with a mortal named Taroba by escaping with her lover in a canoe on the Iguazu River. Blinded by rage, the deity sliced the river in half, creating the waterfalls and contributing to the demise of his traitors.
Like some of the other major waterfalls in the world, Iguazu serves as a natural border between the countries of Brazil and Argentina. This fact directly relates to the two misspellings of the name with the town on each side influencing the spelling. Puerto Iguazu is the name of the town on the Argentinian side and Foz do Iguassu the name of the town on the Brazilian side of the falls.
Busses depart frequently from Buenos Aires and from other major cities of Argentina to Puerto Iguazu. A 18 hours one way ride from Buenos Aires would cost around AR$1500 Pesos .
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Puerto Iguazu is served by Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR), there are regular services from Buenos Aires (AEP/EZE), Rosario, Cordoba, Salta Mendoza and El Calafate.
Foz do Iguaçu is the city on the Brazilian side, long-distance coaches arrive at the Terminal Rodoviária Internacional on Av Costa e Silva. This is about 3 km from the centre of town. An UneSul Executivo bus from Porto Alegre takes 14-16 hours and costs R$208.
Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) is served by TAM Airlines, Gol Transportes Aéreos, Trip Airlines, Sol Linhas Aéreas, Azul, and LAN with direct scheduled flights to and from Lima, Peru, São Paulo Guarulhos/Congonhas/Viracopos, Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba, Recife, Salvador, Cascavel, Porto Alegre, Londrina, and more. Pluna Airlines from Uruguay has direct flights from Montevideo. The airport is located just off the main road between the city of Foz do Iguaçu and the entrance to the Iguaçu National Park.
Where to Stay:
Hostel 10 in Puerto Iguazu is centrally located and a bed in a dorm is priced around USD 5.94 including breakfast.
Made In Brazil hostel offers a place from USD 7.94 and is located 10 minutes walk away from down town.
Visiting Iguazu Falls
From main terminal of Puerto Iguazu (Terminal de Ómnibus) Rio Uruguay busses departs to the entrance of the park roughly every twenty minutes (07:00 – 20:50 daily) for AR$100, with many other stops in town and on the way to the falls.
The entrance ticket to the park (which is payable at the entrance, original passport is needed to enter the park) would cost AR$330 . If you want to visit the park the second day it possible to obtain an entry the second day at half price provided you get your voucher stamped before exiting the park on the first day.
Buses run every 22 minutes from the urban bus terminal (Terminal de Transporte Urbano) to the entrance of the park. The R$3.20 (USD 1.1) fare makes the bus a very cheap way to visit the Falls and it’s also easy to use. The bus is No. 120 to ‘Parque Nacional’. The journey takes about 40 minutes.
The entire Brazilian side can be seen in about 2~4 hours depending on the timing.
The entrance ticket to the park is R$57 (USD 18). It is better to pay by Brazilian Soles or by swiping your credit/debit card as the exchange value with Argentinian Pesos is quite low.
Argentina to Brazil:
From Puerto Iguazu to the Brazilian Iguaçu Falls National Park, it is recommended in doing a day trip. Take a bus operated by Rio Uruguay, be sure to check that the front of the bus says Foz do Iguaçu it usually leaves from gate 7 or 9. The trip costs AR$65 one way. At the Argentinian border control, everyone, including the driver, gets off to get an exit stamp (it’s safe to leave your baggage on the bus here). The bus driver will wait for everyone before continuing over to the Brazilian side.
Brazil to Argentina:
Buses to Puerto Iguazu leaves every 30 minutes from Ponte da Amizade and a one way ride would cost R$7 (USD 2.4).
What to See in Puerto Iguazu (town):
Three Frontiers Landmark, (walk down Av. Tres Fronteras). Have a look at Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, all in the same glimpse of the eye while there are cargo freighters making slowly their way along the water.