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Iguazu Falls from Brazil | Our guide to an incredible natural wonder of the world

Iguazu falls are without doubt a natural wonder of the world we would goes far as to say you can’t come to Brazil without visiting them. They are truly impressive, the scale cannot be believed until you are there and looking into the abyss.  This was my second visit but Lynne had not seen them before, I couldn’t wait to see her face when she saw them.

If you want the full experience why not check them out from across the other side in Argentina.  We have a great guide to doing the crossing and getting to the falls again we would say it’s not to be missed. Although we would say if you only have time for one visit the Brazil side is the better organised experience but that of course is just our opinion and there really isn’t that much in it.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Iguazu Falls, Brazil

How to get to Foz do Iguazu

We were in Uruguay, we had originally planned to visit the falls from Salta but the logistics of getting to the falls then back to Buenos Aries  didn’t seem to make sense.  The distances are vast and if you don’t have the budget to fly then the bus journeys are very long.  From La Paloma in Uruguay it took us two days and four buses to get to Foz do Iguazu.

The first bus takes you to the border town of Chuy.  This is a strange place being both Uruguayan and Brazilian but quite interesting.   The border with Brazil runs down the middle of the main road in the town centre. On one side of the road the road everything is Uruguay and on the other Brazil.  It even has a different spelling on the Brazil side the town is known as Chui.   

When you get on the bus at the bus station in La Paloma you will first need to take the local bus to Rocha which is the main town of the area.  The local bus costs roughly 83.00 URU and he main bus from Rocha to Porto Alegre costs 377.00 URU and takes about 5 hrs roughly.  Before you leave Rocha you will need to ask your bus driver to stop at immigration control which is just a few km before the town of Chuy itself.  Here you will get your passport stamped out of Uruguay.  The driver will wait or at least he did for us.  You will then get dropped at the bus terminal on the Uruguayan side of town and will then need to walk to the rather run down bus station on the Brazilian side.

Here you can buy your ticket for the night bus to Porto Alegre which was around 300.00 BRL per person and for a fee which was around 5.00 BRL per bag, you can leave your bags behind the counter and have a wander round the town.  It’s not a pretty place but it’s better than sitting in the run down bus station for six hours and there are a few shops to wander round and places to grab bite to eat.  The bus gets into Porto Alegre early in the morning and the bus to Foz do Iguazu leaves mid afternoon so again you have time to spare.  You can buy your ticket and leave your luggage at the station and again have a look round the city to pass the time.  The price of the bus ticket to Foz was roughly the same as the night bus at 300.00 BRL per person and is another night bus and around 17hrs.  

The bus arrives into Foz do Iguazu main international terminal where you will need to get the bus to the one of the local terminals to get in to town.  As you walk through into the terminal building from the bus exit to the left to find the local buses. Our accommodation was just a five minute walk from the local terminal and we were glad to get in and get a shower after two full days of bus travel.  

We kind of enjoy the travel and if you’re doing everything last minute like us it is really the only cost effective way.  If you have more of a plan and time to book in advance to fly would probably make more sense and would more than likely work out cheaper.  You can fly to Foz do Iguazu or Puerto de Iguazu on the Agentinian side from most airports in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

If you’re flying in from the UK our US you can get a connecting flight at all the major international airports. You can sometimes get a deal with the airline for your internal flights when booking in advance even without this they should be cheaper than the bus and more direct if you can plan and book well in advance.

Where to stay in Foz do Iguazu

If you read our blogs regularly then you will know we are travelling on a budget and have to make compromise on the quality of the accommodation we book to keep the price down. this can be quite limiting and sometimes we have to stay in places we wouldn’t stay if we were just going away for the weekend.

In Foz do Iguazu we stayed at a place called CLH Suites Foz do Iguazu they were quite cheap but very comfortable with a good sized room and hot showers.  They have a chain of hostel type accommodations, we also booked them in Rio and got a fantastic deal on the price. The location close to the local bus station was fantastic as everything we wanted to explore started with a bus.

Iguazu Brazil
Iguazu Brazil

A little bit about the Iguazu falls

Iguazu Falls are without doubt spectacular, they are the biggest complex of waterfalls in the world and in our opinion are a must see when visiting South America so much so that I have actually been twice and loved both visits.  They are a UNESCO world heritage site and were voted one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  The number of individual falls can vary but normally there are about 275 individual cascades mostly on the Argentinian side, about eighty percent.

The name Iguazu means big water in the local native tongue which is quite appropriate as they are taller than both Niagra and Victoria falls.  The best time to visit is during the rainy season between November and March when the volume of water increases to the maximum.  

The falls are a national park protecting a good range of species including Jaguars, snakes, birds, monkeys and the very inquisitive Coatis which are not to be messed with as they can give a nasty wound if you get too close.

How to get to the falls from the town

To get to the entrance of the park complex you can get the bus from the local bus terminal which is cheap but takes about an hour as it visits other places first such as the airport.  We used this method as it’s cheap and very convenient if your within walking distance of the bus station.

You can also book a private transfer straight from your hotel or a shared mini bus both are a good option if you’re away from the bus station but will cost you more money. All three services drop you off in front of the entrance to the park complex where you can buy your ticket from the automated ticket machines.

Iguazu Brazil
Iguazu Brazil

When you get there

Once you have your ticket it will give you an entrance time, they are on the hour and half hour so you won’t have long to wait.  When your time comes you board another bus, a double decker, which takes you down to the falls.  The first stop is where you get the boat, more about that later. The next stop across from the big pink hotel is where you get off to do the boardwalk to view the falls if you just want to see the main attraction stay on the bus to the end this takes you to the viewing platforms at the base of the falls where you can walk out into the middle and get very wet and great views of the thundering water.

Our advice would be to get there as early as possible the first bus leaves at 9.30am to the falls and they open at 9.00am First get off at the start of the Boardwalk do the two kilometres walk along the falls and finish at the main viewing platforms.  After you have stayed as long as you need to take it all in get the bus back to the speed boat station for the thrilling speed boat ride.  Don’t miss this, it’s not cheap but well worth the money and a fantastic experience.

When you’re ready to come back just hop back on the bus at the entrance and do the same journey in reverse back to the local bus station in town.

Things to see & do at the falls

Boardwalk

As already mention there’s a walkway along the side of the gorge. It’s an easy walk of about two kilometres were you can view the falls on the Argentinian side opposite. We saw hundreds of butterflies along here, a snake slivering through the trees and lizards basking in the sun.

Viewing Platforms

Make the most of your visit by getting a view from every angle you can.  You can walk out onto the falls and you can also view from above by taking the lift up to the top near the exit point. Here you can watch the swifts flying in and out of the water to there nests it’s quite amazing they don’t get washed away.

Speed boat ride

The ticket office for the speed boat ride is the first stop on the bus route inside the park.  We however advise you do this last as you will get wet, very wet, actually you get soaked. After you buy your ticket there’s a short journey through the forest and a little tractor drawn train with the chance to see animals and plants with an optional walk down to the boat station where you board the boat.

Here you can buy drinks and ponchos although they won’t keep you dry.  The boat used to take you right up to the throat of the falls but currently this can’t be done due to storm damage.  You do though go right under the falls several times they make sure everyone on the boat gets a good view of the falls and a very good soaking.  We loved it, it’s one of the highlights of our trip.

Buying souvenirs

There’s a big complex at the entrance to the park with a restaurant and an extensive souvenirs shop where you can get everything you can think of to aid in the memory of your trip.  We would advise you buy your souvenirs here if you want them as the choice is better here and it’s a lot cheaper than the options on the Argentina side of the falls.

Iguazu Brazil
Iguazu Brazil

Other things to do from Foz do Iguazu

If you’re here for a few days you can visit the falls from Argentinian side and you can also cross into Paraguay to visit the second largest hydroelectric complex in the world at the Itapu Dam more about both trips in separate posts just follow the links. 

Our view

In our view this is a not to be missed chance to see one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. We would recommend spending a few days here and using it as a base to explore the area. Visit Paraguay and take in the falls from both sides.  The Argentinian side is well worth a visit and is a completely different experience to the visit on this side of the falls.

Booking resources for your stay in Foz do Iguazu

Flights

You can compare cheap flights on the Expedia platform or here on the Aviasales website.  Both will give you a good idea of how much its going to cost you to get to your chosen destination.

Accommodation

We have always tended to use Booking.com having said that if your on a tight budget another good site to try as a comparison is Hostelworld, If your looking to compare different sites you can do that on Hotellook, we tend to look on here first to make sure we are getting the best deal.

Tours & Tickets

You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site.  Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.

For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.

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