IGUAZU FALLS - HOW TO GET ACROSS THE BORDER?
Updated: Apr 23
It's not as straightforward as you might think. Find my tips here and learn from my mistakes
We were staying on the Brazilian side of the falls at Hotel Das Cataratas. Our hotel shuttle took us to the entrance of the national park. From the entrance you can see the bus station which is a short five minute walk away. This is where you will either start your journey over to the Argentinian side of the falls or if you aren't staying inside the national park, this is where you will take the bus to the Brazilian side of the falls.
Brazilian side of the falls
Tickets on the Brazilian side are £10 per person.
If you are taking the bus to the Brazilian side of the falls you will be dropped off outside of Hotel Das Cataratas. From there you can explore the trail off to the right which takes you to a scenic view point. You can then carry on along the trail to the left and after 25-30 minutes you will reach the Devil's Throat. Whilst walking along the trail you have a view of the falls the whole way. The route is not difficult. It is fairly flat with some stairs to reach some of the viewpoints.
Don't forget your waterproof as you will get soaked! But it is so worth it.
If you would like to have a close-up of the falls, the first stop on your bus route to the falls is Macuco Safari. Here you can join a boat tour which will take you to the foot of the falls for a whole new perspective of this incredible natural wonder.
How to get across the border
You have 3 options:
Take a private transfer from your hotel, over to the border and back again - the easiest but most expensive option.
Take a local taxi over the border and back again - still fairly easy and a more reasonable price.
Take public transport over the border and back again - the cheapest but most time consuming and awkward option
We were quoted 550 Reals (£85) for a private transfer to take us from Hotel Das Cataratas across to the Argentinian side of the falls and back again. This is the easiest and most luxurious option but it comes at a price. If you can afford it and want to avoid any hassle, this is the way to go.
The second option, and what I opted for, is a local taxi from the bus station at the entrance of the national park on the Brazilian side of the falls, across the border to the Argentinian side. Our driver waited for us for around 4 hours whilst we explored the falls and then brought us safely back again. The price for this taxi was 300 Reals (£45). Still fairly pricey for Brazil but definitely more palatable than the private transfer option. Our driver also kindly waited for us for an extremely long time and did not rush us at all which was really appreciated.
I would recommend this option for someone looking for a middle ground. Make sure you confirm the price before you get into the taxi. If you don't speak Portuguese use Google translate to converse with your driver to ensure you're on the same page.
We originally planned to get public transport across the border which is the cheapest option. However, after waiting 15 minutes for a bus which was due to arrive and didn't, we were worried we would waste too much time so hopped in a taxi.
A bus operated by Rio Uruguay runs every 30 minutes and costs around £2 per person. The bus takes 1 hour 20 minutes and takes you to Puerto Iguazu. You will then need to change to get a second bus (again only around £1-£2 per person) to take you to the entrance of the park on the Argentinian side.
This is definitely the cheapest option but it is time consuming. The buses can be unreliable and may not arrive according to the timetable and the biggest negative for the public transport option is crossing the border.
Crossing the border
Firstly, remember your passport. This may seem obvious but it's very easy to forget and you won't get far without it.
We crossed the border in June 2022 and had to show our vaccine certificate. If you're travelling from the UK the vaccine confirmation from the NHS App was accepted.
On the Brazilian side your driver will pull up outside some small cabins. You will need to get out of the car and show your passport and vaccine certificate to border control officers. This is where you will be delayed significantly longer if you take public transport as everyone on the bus will have to get out and show their passports (and possibly vaccine certificates) one by one.
On the Argentinian side they have toll-like booths where your driver can drive right up to the window and handover your documentation. Again you will need to show your passport (and possibly vaccine certificate).
Our taxi driver took us to get a sworn statement which I am still unsure what it was really for. No officials asked to see this either on the Brazil or Argentina side. I think it was a Visa style document and it cost 10 Reals each. I don't think we needed this but I think our driver was simply covering his back and for the sake of 10 Reals, I wasn't going to argue.
Argentinian side of the falls
Tickets for the Argentinian side of the falls are £26 per person.
You will need around 4-5 hours to explore the Argentinian side of the falls. It is so much bigger than the Brazilian side and you want to ensure you see the falls from every angle possible.
There are a number of trails to explore:
I started at the entrance of the park and took the Green Trail. This is a 15 minute walk where you will reach a train crossing. Cross over and you will find the stop for the ecological train to take you to the Devil's Throat.
Take the train to the Devil's Throat stop and walk the trail which will take around 20-25 minutes to reach the falls. The sheer power of the water is truly breathtaking. Spend some time here appreciating the beauty of the falls and getting some amazing photos and videos.
Head back to catch the train and you will find Coatis running around which are part of the Racoon family. They might look cute and cuddly but avoid feeding them as they can get quite aggressive and can scratch and bite.
The train will take you back to the first stop and from there you can grab a bite to eat before embarking on the upper and lower circuits. The upper circuit was the highlight of my day and where I finally got to see an Iguazu rainbow. It was incredible and I hope you get to experience it too.
It is definitely worth visiting both sides of Iguazu Falls as both the Brazilian and Argentinian sides offer a completely different experience. From the Brazil side you see the falls from a distance but get the most incredible panoramic views. From the Argentina side you still get those panoramic views on the upper and lower circuits and from the Devil's Throat you stand above the falls where you can see the water come in before it cascades down. A truly once in a lifetime experience.
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