Exploring Argentina, Brazil & Paraguay: Iguazú Falls Travel Guide

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Receiving more than one million travelers every year from all corners of the world, the Iguazú Falls is one of the most visited attractions in Brazil and Argentina, located on the border shared by both countries. In this Iguazú Falls travel guide, we organize everything that smart travelers need to know when planning a trip and visiting this wonder of the world. We also recommend venturing into Paraguay, which is nearby. When traveling to Iguazú Falls, you can visit all three countries in one trip!

How to get to Iguazú Falls?

The Iguazú Falls are located in the border of three countries: Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Travelers can choose to fly into airports in Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, or Asunción. There is an international airport in the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu, and you can consider connections in Curitiba and Porto Alegre, depending on where you are arriving from and ticket prices. In Argentina, there is an international airport in Puerto Iguazu that receives flights from Buenos Aires. Montevideo in Uruguay can also be an alternative for your arrival in South America.

Arriving by land, you can drive and take buses between Foz do Iguaçu on the Brazilian side or Puerto Iguazu on the Argentinian side. You can also travel via Ciudad del Este in Paraguay which is connected to both neighboring countries and a five hour drive from Asunción. If flights within Brazil are expensive, you can try taking a bus. For example, the trip from Curitiba to Foz do Iguaçu takes about 8 hours. A bus from São Paulo to Foz do Iguaçu will take longer, about 12 hours; and from Rio de Janeiro, 18 hours. A bus from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu takes about 14 hours.

Since travelers from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan do not need a tourist visa as of June 2019, planning your trip to South America and to the Iguazú Falls has become way easier. Another suggestion is to visit Paraguay by crossing the border via Ciudad del Este and vice versa, since this country is still uncharted by backpackers, affordable, offers options for waterfalls and adventure, and has a unique food culture combining Guarani and European elements. 


Weather in the Iguazú Falls Region

The weather in Iguassu Falls is far from being that classic tropical year-round summer, so smart travelers must be aware of the climate of this region throughout the year. From December to March, it’s summer, and the hottest period of the year, filled with sunny days. From mid-March to May, it’s the autumn with sunny days but warm temperatures. Between June and August, it’s the winter when travelers must carry warm clothes, especially in the morning and at night. And from September to November is the rainiest period of the year, and this time requires flexibility in your schedule as some attractions may not be open or accessible during intense rains. Luckily though, a rainy day is normally followed by a mild day.

How many days do you need for Iguazú Falls?

If you want to visit the Iguassu Falls leisurely, we recommend you to take at least two days to see the highlights on both the Argentinian and Brazilian sides. Remember that in the southern hemisphere the sun sets at 20:00 during summer and in winter it is dark by 18:00. If you consider visiting Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, Puerto Iguazu in Argentina, and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, we recommend at least three or four days. As previously explained in the section about weather, it’s recommended to plan a flexible itinerary between September and November during the rainy season.

Photo credit: Macuco Safari


The Argentinian Side

The highlight of the Iguazú Falls on the Argentinian side is definitely the hike leading to the Devil’s Throat, locally referred to as Garganta del Diablo, located at Iguazu National Park. When visiting the falls in Argentina, make sure to taste some local food and have lunch in front of the falls. In the evening take part in the dinner party, The Argentine Experience, to learn the basics of Argentinian cuisine. In the city of Puerto Iguazú, you can also visit the eco-park La Aripuca and do a city tour. This is also possible from Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil.

If you want to spend more time exploring Argentina, Ruta 40 is a legendary route where you’ll find 20 national parks, 13 lakes and 246 bridges crossing 11 provinces including highlights such as Salinas Grandes, Mendoza wine region, Los Glaciares National Park, and the road leading to Antarctica. Even if you are based on the Brazilian side, you can do a day trip to Puerto Iguazu and return on the same day.

Photo credit: Iguazú Argentina

 

The Brazilian Side

Regardless of how impressive the Devil’s Throat is, the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls won’t disappoint you at all. Besides appreciating the wonder of the waterfalls, you can get some adventure up close on a boat trip from the entrance of the falls. Learn about local animals such as macaws, anacondas and more than 150 species by visiting the Birds Park (Parque das Aves). Both tours are suitable for travelers with special needs. For photographers, the best views of Iguassu Falls can be had from a helicopter ride over the waters. And Foz do Iguaçu is an interesting city for gastronomy, entertainment, and nightlife. Some ideas on what to do are the Ice Bar, the Italian dinner party, Wax Museum, and Iguassu Free Walking Tour. If you follow your journey in Brazil, before moving to another region I recommend going to Curitiba for the railway journey to Morretes across the rainforest Mata Atlântica, and eat the dish barreado

Photo credit: Cataratas do Iguaçu


What about Paraguay?

Although you can’t see the Iguazu Falls from Paraguay, this hidden gem between Argentina and Brazil is a paradise for backpackers near the falls. Ciudad del Este is a known tax-free zone for Brazilians and Argentinians who cross the border to buy everything from electronics to clothes at cheaper prices. Near Ciudad del Este, you can visit the Saltos del Monday waterfall and the Itaipú Hydroelectric Dam, one of the biggest engineering projects in the world. Once in Paraguay, try traditional dishes such as sopa paraguaya, chipas, bife koygua, pira caldo, and have a sip of the cold mate tereré. And the capital Asunción has an interesting foodie scene you can experience visiting restaurants such as Lido Bar, Bar San Miguel, and El Bolsi. And for the night, Asunción has a variety of interesting bars such as Rockero, Britannia Pub, Kilkenny Irish Pub, Long Bar, Arsenal Cué, and Central Bar.

For being one of the top travel wonders in the world, the Iguazu Falls must be on the bucket list of every smart traveler who plans to visit South America. Even smarter is taking advantage of its border location, making it easy to visit Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay in just one trip! Use this Iguazu Falls travel guide to plan the best trip ever.


Photo by Gábor Sz. on Unsplash

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