A panda visits Iguazu Falls (The Brazilian side)
The flights, accommodation and activities mentioned in this Iguazu Falls post were NOT sponsored.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that if you love nature and are able to, Iguazu Falls is one of those must-see sites before you die. Don’t let your Brazillian trip end without a night or 2 in Foz de Iguacu which is the town on the Brazilian side which will enable you to see the falls.
In this post I will outline how to visit Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side, where to stay and how to get there.
Watch my video about visiting Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian side:
How to get to Foz de Iguacu: I flew in directly with LATAM from Rio de Janeiro. You can take a bus but its 12 hours and almost the same price. It just depends on your budget and time.
Where to stay: I stayed at the pristine resort called Wish Iguazu. This resort was perfect in almost every way from the helpful staff to the views from my room. While it wasn’t situated in the heart of the town, it was only a quick 10 minute drive away from the town (and the falls) and its location ensured peace & quiet.
How to get around Foz De Iguacu: We primarily used Uber in Brazil. Most places have WiFi (all you need to do is ask nicely) and we found Uber to be reliable and cheap. Other bloggers wrote about taking public buses but I found it more convenient for my location to use Uber.
What to bring: The contents of my waterproof backpack included a poncho to cover my clothes, sunscreen, water, snacks and my GoPro. You will get wet unless you don’t go near the waterfall (which isn’t going to be fun for you) so plan ahead for this. Polar wore waterproof clothes from Columbia and I wore my poncho over a cheap thin dress that dried quickly.
Visiting the falls
How long do I need: You need a maximum of 3 hours to visit the falls. It can be done in a morning and the length of time that you spend there depends on what pace you walk.
Buying your tickets: While we tried to purchase tickets online, we couldn’t figure out the Spanish website. You can purchase your tickets easily at the falls; just make your life easy by heading straight to the self service ticket kiosks instead of waiting in the endless queues with the tour groups who are buying their tickets at the counters. The kiosks have a variety of different languages, accept MasterCard and Visa cards. There are also people who can assist you. It’s about 10 times faster than buying it at the counters.
Exploring the falls: The park is designed so that you are bussed around between stops. There are 4 stops; the first 2 are for excursions that you need to pay an additional amount for and the last two are the platforms where you can see the waterfalls. Try to sit on the top of the double deckers buses for views of the national park.
Unlike Victoria Falls, you can hear or feel the falls anywhere near the entrance of the park. The falls are a distance away and hence, you need the bus to get you closer.
If you disembark at the third stop- Trilha das Cataratas– you will start at further way from the falls, giving you sweeping panoramic views of the falls in their entirety. You’ll then walk for around 1km towards Garganta de Diablo– the ‘throat’ of the waterfall.
Conversely, if you disembark at the 4th (and final) bus stop, you’ll start at the ‘throat’ and make your way further away from the falls. Either way you’ll see all that is on offer to see, its just a matter of preference.
Note: If you start at the 4th stop, you’ll certainly be wet for the rest of your photos. Also, If you are travelling with someone who is mobility challenged, they should disembark at the 4th stop.
Despite what other bloggers may tell you, there is no right or wrong way to visit Iguazu Falls. And its almost impossible to get there first as its packed with people way before they start operating the 1st buses to take you to the falls. I do advise going early- when there are less people and the temperature is more bearable but remember to allow extra time to wait for them to load up the buses. The bus journey from the entrance of the park to the third stop is around 20 minutes.
My biggest piece of advice is that if you can see both sides of the falls- DO IT. Crossing the border to Argentina is simple and doesn’t take long. However, if you plan to see both sides, do the Brazilian side first… Argentina has 95% of the falls so you may find it disappointing if you visit the Brazilian side after Argentina. In my next blog post I will discuss the best way to visit the Argentinian side and how to cross the border from Brazil to Argentina.
WHERE DO I FLY INTO TO Iguazu Falls?
You can fly into Foz do Iguaçu/Cataratas International Airport (IGU). The tickets are pretty reasonably price if you fly from Rio or Sao Paulo.
HOW LONG SHOULD I GO FOR?
A minimum of 1-2 nights would be ideal. You only really need one day to visit this park.
SHOULD I PURCHASE A SIM CARD?
There is no need at most places- including Iguazu Falls- has free wifi available!
DID YOU APPLY FOR A VISA?
No. Brazil is visa-free for South African passport holders. You can stay in Brazil for 90 days.
Should I carry US dollars?
No. You can exchange most currencies in Foz de Iguazu and the only accepted currency is the Brazilian Reais.
Have you been to Iguazu Falls? Or is it on your list of destinations? Let me know in the comments below!