Iguazu Falls – Puerto Iguazú, Argentina & Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil Travel Guide
The primary purpose of tourists visiting either town is, of course, to see Iguazu Falls. Photos
To take a walk along the wood-planed path to the lower falls – Alvar Núñez Falls - named after the Spaniard Alvar Núñez Cabeza da Vasca, the first European to see them, in 1541, watch this YouTube video:
More videos of the falls, including the spectacular Garganta del Diablo (“Devil’s Throat”), can be found here: Videos of Iguazu National Park & Waterfalls
Activities in the park, in addition to walking through the maze of forest paths and river bridges, include river rafting, rappelling (Brazil side), full-moon tours, helicopter rides and taking a speed boat ride close to the bottom of the cascading cataracts and their thundering spray.
Note: Waterproof bags are provided for electronic equipment, since you are, without a doubt, going to get wet!
One company that has helicopter flights over the falls on the Brazil side is Helisul – www.helisul.com.
There is a sweet little “Hummingbird Garden” in Puerto Iguazú but it can’t compete with Parque das Aves (Bird Park), a main tourist attraction in Foz do Iguaçu, located close to the entrance of Iguaçu Falls. Over 800 bird species are on display in Parque das Aves. For detailed information view the Parque das Aves website.
More than 2000 species of plants & (non-bird) animals have been identified in the park, in addition to over 900 species of bird.
Animals calling the park home include: Brazilian otter, black howler monkey, jaguar, ocelot, black-capped capuchin, broad-nosed caiman, tiger-cat, tapir, coati, tamandua, raccoon and merganser (sawbill duck).
One of the most commonly seen small mammals is the coati, who roam the park in large numbers and like to congregate around the rest stations at lunch time… Keep watch over that pricey chow, and keep your hands away from the coatis!
Another tourist attraction in the area is the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam, the largest hydroelectric energy-producing plant in the world – shared by Brazil and Paraguay.
On the Brazil side (Foz do Iguaçu) you can visit the Itaipu Tourist Center which has an Eco-museum. The dam can also be accessed through Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.
Original inhabitants in the area were the Caingangues Indians, followed by the Tupi-Guaranies. Their history as well as that of other original settlers are celebrated with photos and artifacts in the Tourist Information Center Museum (Argentina side). To view a short video of the museum, click here.
Transportation & Visas
Busses leave regularily from the bus terminal in Puerto Iguazú to the falls (every 15 minutes, around 30 minute ride), Foz do Iguaçu (one hour) and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay (one hour). To visit Brazil, you may need to obtain a visa (depending on what country’s passport you carry), as well as if you are continuing on to Asuncion, Paraguay or to other areas in Brazil (Visas & Fees for South America). U.S. and Canadian citizens need to get a visa before going to Brazil. This is not always a simple process.
Getting a Brazilian Visa in Puerto Iguazu
If possible, you should get your Brazilian visa before arriving in Puerto Iguazu. If you want to do it there, here’s how: First, familiarize yourself with the rules regarding travelers to Brazil. Visitors from the USA and Canada are among those required to get visas, but many nationalities do not require visas – check the rules here. You need to apply online for the visa, so you’ll need an internet connection. There are plenty of those in Puerto Iguazu. With your paperwork in hand (including photos, bank statements and other stuff), go to the Brazilian Consulate at Avenida Cordoba 264. near the bus terminal (Get there early). After you go through the interview and they take your papers, you should get your visa within half a day or so. Many visitors have hit the Consulate first thing in the morning, picked up their visas at lunchtime, and caught the bus over to the Brazilian side of the falls that afternoon. But you should budget two days for the process of getting a visa in Puerto Iguazu. Here’s a good guide (from a Canadian).
Note: Puerto Iguazú is one of the few locations you can obtain a Brazilian visa (limited to 90 days) within a day or two. Paraguay does not offer this service from Puerto Iguazú, the nearest embassy that issues visas is in Posadas.
The bus terminal in Foz do Iguaçu has regular service to the Brazilian side of the falls as well – around 40 minutes leaving every half hour.
Address: Avenida Córdoba y Carlos Thays
Website: http://www.aqvarestaurant.com/ Salads, grilled fish, meat and seafood.
Name: La Vitrina
Address: Avenida Victoria Aguirre 773
Website: http://www.lavitrina-puertoiguazu.com; Traditional Argentine cuisine such as asado, salads, etc.
Name: Color (pizzeria)
Address: Cordoba 135 (near bus terminal)
Website: http://www.parrillapizzacolor.com/index.php; Pizzas, traditional Argentinian cuisine, chorizo, salads, etc.
Name: Sheraton Iguazú Resort & Spa (only hotel inside the park) Book Now
Address: Parque Nacional Iguazú
Website: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/ Outdoor pool, spa, tennis courts and rooms with view of the falls. This is a beautiful hotel with beautiful views. Even if you can’t stay here, you should try to have a beverage in its lovely bar with spectacular vistas of the falls that you get from nowhere else.
Name: Complejo Americano
Address: Ruta 12 Km 5 (near entrance to park)
Website: http://www.complejoamericano.com.ar/ Spacious outdoor grounds, restaurant with deck seating overlooking the pool, game room with pool table.
Address: Rua Marechal Deodoro de Fonseca 1087
Website: http://www.trapicherestaurante.com.br/ Specialties include seafood stew & lobster.
Name: Martignoni Pizzaria
Address: Avenida Paraná, 3535
Website: https://plus.google.com/. Italian food; pastas, pizzas, salads.
Address: Av Juscelino Kubitschek 1565 (near bus terminal, inside market)
Website: http://clubedaculinaria.supermuffato.com.br. Tasty pay by weight food – grab a dish, fill it up then get it weighed for your price.
Name: Hotel Das Cataratas (inside national park) Book Now
Address: Next to waterfalls inside Brazillian National Park
Website: http://www.hoteldascataratas.com/ Restaurants overlooking the pool, abseiling, rock climbing and canopy walks, views of the falls.
Name: HI Paudimar Falls (hostal w/ camping)
Address: Rua antonio raposo 820 (in town)
Website: http://www.paudimarfalls.com.br; Small pool with garden, areas to put up a tent, local bus service to the falls.
Photographs & videos by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.