When you consider traveling to the Iguazu Falls there is only one decision that you need to make, are you going to see both the Brazil side and Argentina Side? Or are you just going to travel to the Argentina side of the falls? Most people only travel to the Argentina side due to the Brazilian visa situation (see below for details) and the fact that it’s easier to get around from the Puerto Iguazu. If you want to see the absolutely spectacular views from a helicopter then you definitely need to go to the Brazil side since the Argentinians don’t allow it.
How Much Time Do You Need To See Iguazu Falls?
When trying to plan out your trip you have to understand that there are two parts of the falls, the Argentina side & the Brazil side. The Argentina side of the falls has more view points but the Brazil side provides a more panoramic view. If you are short on time then I would recommend only going to the Argentina side of the falls. With more time you can explore the Brazil side which also provides helicopter rides (so worth it!)
- Time Needed To See Argentina Side
The Argentina side of the Iguazu Falls will take one full day to explore since there are three different parts of the park; the Upper trail, Lower trail, and Devil’s Throat. That can be two half days or one complete day but one full day is the minimum amount of time needed for the Argentinean side.
If you travel by bus you can find bus times where you will arrive around 12pm and can choose a bus back at roughly 2pm/3pm the following day. That will provide you with the full day that you need. Click here for more info on the Argentinean side of the falls.
- Time Needed To See Brazil Side
The Brazil side of the Iguazu Falls will take between 4-6 hours depending if you are taking the helicopter ride. The Brazil side is just one long walk along the river and gorge where you will find great panoramic views. Just before the entrance of the falls you will find the helicopter center where you can pay $100 (USD) for about a 20 minute ride over the falls.
Arriving via Bus
When I was living in Buenos Aires the government of Argentina instituted a new tax on all bus trips which considerably brought up prices. It was roughly $150 to take a bus from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls, now that same bus will cost you about $250. It’s really worth it to take a flight now especially if you are short on time since you can find flights for around $300 to $350 (also consider the cost of a taxi to the airport is roughly $25/$30 at both Buenos Aires and Puerto Iguazu)
When you exit the bus station you will see a an intersection with a little bakery and gas station. The street goes both uphill and downhill, there are a slew of hostels if you go uphill which you will most likely see from the bus. The Brazilian consulate is along the flat road walking towards the gas station away from the bus terminal.
- Bus from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu: 15-20 hours
- Bus from Sao Paolo to Foz De Iguassu: 15-18 hours
- Bus from Rio De Janeiro to Foz De Iguasuu: 21 – 23 hours
Arriving via Plane
There are no direct flights to the Iguazu Falls. The most common connection is from Buenos Aires but you can also find flights from Brazil, Lan Airlines has recently introduced a flight from Lima, Peru. The general price that I found was between $300 – $400 dollars (Buenos Aires is roughly $350).
Do You Need A Visa for the Brazil Side of Iguazu Falls?
You definitely need a visa to get to the Brazil Side of the Iguazu Falls. There was a time when you didn’t need a visa to enter the Brazil side and you could even sneak in. I spoke with the border patrol and they advised me since the economic situation in Argentina is getting worse they have tightened their security at the border. The process is painless and you get the Brazil visas done in the morning (Brazilian time of course), click here for more info.
The Best Time To Go To Iguazu Falls
I lived in Buenos Aires during the spring and visited the falls in the spring and the fall. It’s a tropical climate so if you don’t want to die from the heat definitely try to visit during the spring. The best time to visit the Iguazu Falls is in October when it isn’t too hot and the weather is perfect. The weather starts to warm up in November and in December it gets extremely hot. Pictures aren’t as good during the fall and winters as it isn’t as green and lush.
Costs of Visiting the Iguazu Falls