Borders between Brazil and Argentina
To visit both sides of the falls, one must cross the borders between Argentina and Brazil. Right now, there is no way to cross the borders. They are closed. The Argentinean government declared that it would be open in September 2021 but they declined. The politics are destroying the local economy.
In case they open the Iguazu borders, it will be mandatory to show the covid-19 vaccine card and also a 48 hours PCR test.
Borders between Brazil and Paraguay
To enter Paraguay one needs to stamp the passport at the border and show the covid-19 PCR test. For people that visit Ciudad del Este city, they don't require anything. People usually go to Paraguay for shopping because of the duty-free markets there. There is a small waterfall called Monday falls near Puerto Franco town. One can also visit the Itaipu Dam from the Paraguayan side. In the city, there is also a handicraft market with beautiful wood carving souvenirs.
Both national parks are open.
How many days one need to visit Iguassu Falls?
We recommend people to split it in two days, but we know that some people need to do it in one day to catch up with the travel schedule.
Yes, it is possible to do it in a day. To do both sides of the falls in one day, one must be a good walker. There are trails to cover on both sides. Depending on the hotel people stay at and the time of the year, one can start with the Brazilian side and finish with the Argentinean side or vice-versa.
In case one decides to visit both sides of the falls on private transportation in a day. There is also time for the boat ride under the waterfalls but one needs to skip one of the trails in Argentina. Please, bring shampoo.
We are reminded that there are borders to cross and a Passport is mandatory. During high season one can face lines at Iguassu borders.
At moment the borders between Argentina and Brazil are closed. There is no way to visit both sides of the falls in a day. Due to covid-19, is closed since April last year.
The same waters that are passing through Iguassu Falls, making the borders between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay 23 km downstream. The Iguassu river ends into the Parana River that is the second-largest river in South America, just behind the Amazon River.
Each of these countries has built a stone and cement obelisk on its territory painted with the colors of their respective flags. From this landmark, one has a panoramic view of each of the three countries.
The site in Brazil is run by a private company and they charge people to visit. There are facilities with a short local folk show focusing South American. The Building at the site looks like the Jesuit Missions run by the Jesuits, there is some information about the Jesuits and Spaniards, there is also a restaurant Cabeza the Vaca, kiosks with food and drinks and a gift shop. Limited buses from the site to Foz city in Brazil. Most of the people visit it during the evening. Tuesday to Sunday 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., admission US $6.00
The site in Argentina is run by the Argentinean government and is free of charge. There is a short water show with lights. At the site, people find kiosks selling handcrafts, beverage. Street vendors selling handicrafts. There is also a hippie market with handcrafts. This place is only busy in the evening. During the day people are at the falls. The site is walking distance from Puerto Iguazu, downtown.
Optional tours outside of the park on the way back to the hotel
Bird Park Brazil walk-in-through
The Park was designed and built by Dennis and Anna Croukamp. He has been a bird lover since childhood, she, a veterinarian, the two from Namibia, southwest Africa. In their incredible adventure, the couple arrived in Brazil without even speaking Portuguese. The park was opened on October 7, 1994, and it is getting bigger and bigger. Each year more than 700 thousand people visit the Bird Park in Portuguese Parque das Aves. The Park is located in an area of more than 16 hectares of forest. Strategically located between the Iguaçu River and the highway that leads to the Falls.
Bird Park serves as a hospital and refuge for animals rescued from abuse and trafficking.
It is the largest bird park in Latin America, the largest macaw nursery in South America, the largest aviary for birds in the Americas, it has the largest groups of macaw jacutingas in the world and the largest set of parrots (the family of parrots, macaws, jandaias and parakeets) on display in Brazil.
The Park currently has one of the most complete sets on the planet, with species from all continents: flamingos from Africa, cranes from Asia and cassowaries from New Guinea.
World reference for many species of toucans, one of the most popular Brazilian tropical birds.
At floresta aviary, one find birds of the Atlantic Forest. At Pantanal aviary, birds adapted to the aquatic environment. At macaws aviary, one can have the experience of admiring the low-flying macaws.
One can buy the ticket at the site.
Bird in the picture: Sayaca Tanager
Boat ride at the falls in Brazil
This is the only boat trip at the falls on the Brazil side. After visiting the falls in Brazil, one can do the macuco safari boat ride at the iguassu falls departing on Brazil. This tour starts 3 km from the falls. One can reach it by park bus, tour companies transportation or by taxi.
As arriving at the starting point of the tour, there is a desk for one to buy the ticket. There are lockers available for 2 dollars at the beginning of the tour. There are also more lockers available near the boat departing place. The tour is divided into two stages. It starts with a wagon ride pull by an electrical cart in the forest with some stops for information about fauna and flora. During the jungle tour, chances to see animals are remote. At a certain point, there is also a walking trail. There is a chance to skip it and go all the way to the pier by jeep. There are two kinds of boats departing one is the dry boat, the other one is the wet boat. One can decide at the pier which one to board. After people wear the raincoats and get ready to the tour, the boat departs upstream for about 3 km until reach the great Iguassu Falls. One has time for pictures before getting wet under the waterfalls. After people get soaking wet, they return to the pier. Even when one decides for a dry boat, there is a 5% chance to get some splashes.
After the tour, in case people don´t have a tour company waiting for him, must catch the park bus to the way out of the park.
What to bring: a passport, money, credit card, waterproof phone, swimming suits, shorts in the spring and summer, raincoat, sunglasses, and sunblock. During the speed boat ride one can stay barefoot, wear flip-flops or anything else. Some people bring a small towel. There are lockers available near the docks.
White water rafting in Iguassu Falls Brazil
There are two options to do the rafting in Iguassu Falls, Brasil
It lasts 3 hours, one must COMBINE this tour with the Macuco Safari and Boat Trip. The rapids vary from the 1.5 to 3.5 level, depending on the water level. When the water level is good, there are about 3 sets of rapids downstream. During the tour, one can also be swimming in the Iguassu River. One can buy the tickets at the Macuco Safari desk at the starting point of the tour.
There is a chance to buy the ticket only for the white water rafting. In this case, the tour will last around 95 minutes.
How to get to this option? As one arrives at the first lockout (beginning of the Iguassu Falls trail in front of the Belmond hotel), must walk to the right for 30 yards, they have a ticket office there. One can also buy the ticket at the Macuco Safari desk.
What to bring: there are water-resistant bags for small belongings available on this tour. If one has have large bags better leave at the lockers at the desk before it starts. If one has an Iguassu tour company assisting, there is a chance to leave it in the car or bus.
Iguassu Falls Brazil and Argentina are in front of each other but if one is in at the falls in Brazil and want to see the falls in Argentina needs to drive 44 km and cross two borders to get there. Looks simple as one sees on the map but it can be difficult if there are lines at the borders during busy times. It is mandatory to stamp passports or passenger list while crossing borders.
At the moment the borders are closed, people can´t cross borders to see the Iguazu Falls in Argentina. We will let people know when it is open.
For backpackers that have plenty of time, here is a (link with the bus timetable is not working) around Iguassu Falls.
For people that don´t have much time, it is possible to visit both sides of the falls in a day. If one got plenty of time available is recommended to split in two days visit.
iguazu falls map both sides of the falls
How far is the Iguassu Falls Brazil from the cities?
The Falls in Brazil are 26 km from Puerto Iguazu town in Argentina and 27 km from Foz do Iguacu city in Brazil. There are 3 ways to reach the entrance of the park, by public bus, by taxi, by bike, or using your own transportation. As arriving at the entrance of the Iguassu National Park in Brazil ( PARQUE NACIONAL DO IGUACU ) in Portughese, until one reaches the falls there are still 11 km. From the entrance of the park one needs to catch a bus service inside the park. There are ticket bots to one to buy the admission fee. The price of the entrance fee of the park is changing according to the exchange rate and nationality, please, bring an I.D. or passport. One can also buy an advance ticket using this link: admission for the Iguassu national park Brazil
For people that want to go back to the park the next day, there is a 90% discount on a second-day visit.
Only tour companies, tour guides and taxi drivers are allowed to ride in the park. People arriving by car must pay for the car park and also take the public bus ride inside the park.
There is only one word to say about the Brazilian side of Iguassu Falls, PANORAMIC. Yes, the best panoramic view one will only have from Brazil. One can also see some of the waterfalls that only can be seen from Brazil.
Walking around the Brazil side of the Iguazu Falls
Walking around the trails on the Brazilian side is much easier than walking on the Argentine side of the waterfalls. There is only one trail, one mile long with lots of stairs on the way. In the beginning, from the first lookout, one will be impressed by the amazing panoramic view of the waterfalls in Argentina. Some times there are animals on the trail like the coati (Nasua nasua) begging for food. They are nice animals but our food is not good for them to eat. Is forbidden to feed animals in the park. As one walk, the trails get better and better with different views until one arrives at the bridge. That is the best part, the feeling of the water on the face. Taking marvellous pictures of rainbows circling the waterfalls. After the trail one will approach the foot of some waterfalls for some other spectacular photos. There are two ways to reach the top, by stairs or by lift. One can decide about it according to the size of the line for the lift. As one arrives at the top, there is the grand finale, with some panoramic pictures. That is it! From the top one walk to the square, from where the buses are departing. At the square, there are choices for food and a cold beer. From the same place buses are departing to the entrance of the National Park.
On the way back there are some optional tours like the boat ride at the falls, the white water rafting, the Bird Park and also the helicopter ride over the falls and also the National Park.
(they spell Iguassu with double S and C in Brazil), in Argentina with Z)
How far is the Iguazu National Park in Argentina from the cities?
The National park in Argentina is 18 km from Puerto Iguazu town in Argentina and 27 km from Foz do Iguassu city in Brazil. There are 3 ways to reach the park, by public bus, by taxi, by bike, by a tour company or using your own transportation. The price of the entrance fee of the park is changing according to the exchange rate. In Argentina, there are 3 different exchange rates. As on arrives at the park there are bots to buy the admission but one can also buy the advance ticket for the Iguazu National Park Argentina in this link. Price of the Iguazu National park fee in Argentina is around USD $25.00 per person. Children and local people pay less.
For people that want to go back to the park the next day, there is a 50% discount on a second-day visit.
Walking around the Argentine side of the Iguazu Falls
If one is planning to do the boat ride, better plan a full day.
The Iguazu National park in Argentina is open daily from 8 to 6 p.m.
At the entrance of the park, there is a kiosk for one to buy a key to drop their luggage (this is for backpackers). There are also maps in the park, like the one in the picture below. There are 3 train stations named CENTRAL, CATARATAS and GARGANTA. Arriving in the park one can walk to the Central Station to catch a train to Garganta Station (20 minutes ride). Instead of catching the train, one can go on foot to the other stations using the green trail (Sendero Verde in Spanish). As arriving at the second station named CATARATAS, one can decide if catch the train or walk 1.5 miles on a dirt road to GARGANTA station. As arriving at Garganta station to reach Devil´s Throat (the highlight of Iguassu Falls) one need to walk on a metal bridge 3/4 of a mile long (1.100 meters).
The bridge is leading to the UNION waterfalls where is the border between Argentina and Brazil, locally know as devil´s throat.
After seeing it one must walk back on the same bridge all the way to the GARGANTA train station and from there decide if take the train or walk back. When the park is busy, people wait for more than 1 hour in line to catch the train.
Returning from GARGANTA station you will reach CATARATAS station, get off there. From there you will need to head to the Upper Trail (in Spanish they call it Circuito Superior). The entrance of the trails is located 200 meters from Cataratas station, as you see in the picture below.
The Upper Trail (Paseo Superior in Spanish) is a one-way trail with more than 1 mile. It is all flat and wheelchair friendly leading to the top of the waterfalls, on the way people see the following waterfalls: dos Hermanas, Ramires, Bossetti, Adan and Eve, Bernabe Mendes, Mbigua and San Martin. This trail is like a bridge and along the way, people will walk through the islands above the falls. One will be walking in the sun, better bring a hat, sunglasses and water in the summer.
There is a tower between the upper and lower trails. The old water tower is used as a reference for people walking on their own in the park. To reach the lower trail one must pass around the tower.
The Lower Trail (Paseo Inferior in Spanish) is an around about trail covering the same waterfalls one has watched from above but from a different angle. Also from the lower trail, at a certain point, one will have a far view from devils throat, will be walking in front of San Martin Island arriving at the Bossetti waterfall (Salto Bossetti). This waterfall is very nice, people can get close and get wet on the spray made by the falls. After daring the Bossetti falls, it is time to head out of the trail, on the way, there is a chance to see the dos Hermanas waterfalls again from below. The trail ends at the beginning of it. From there people will return to the upper trail and train station or go to the restaurant area inside the park. Arriving at the exit of the park, there are public transportation and taxi available.