Iguazu (E-gwa-zoo) is stunning, marvelous, breath taking. It is easy to navigate and great for couples or the family. Here is a punch list of notes from our 2-days there a few weeks ago.
We had an early flight from Buenos Aires into the Igauzu Falls (Argentina Side). Took a fixed rate taxi to our Hotel in Puerto Iguazu (AP$120). Along the way we “spoke” with our taxi driver who agreed to come back one hour after check-in to drive us to the Brazilian National Park, wait for us, take us to the Bird Park, wait for us, and drive us back (AP$250) – so that’s what we did. The next morning we took the bus from Puerto Iguazu to the Argentina Falls, spent the whole day there, and took the bus back – all super easy. Our original taxi driver had also agreed to pick us up the third morning at 7:30 am to drive us to the Brazil Iguacu Falls Airport for our flight to Rio – he was waiting for us as planned (special deal AP$100). Our taxi driver was: Juan Carlos Cabrera, Juacar26receptivos@hotmail.com.ar, Cel: +54-3757-15462096 or 0054-9-3757-15462096 (ino from his card).
Besides your hotel accommodations, there seemed to be little to nothing needed to plan in advance. Taxis and buses are readily available and easy to figure out. After the National Parks (on both sides), the Bird Park (probably the one on the Brazilian side) and the Town of Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) or the City of Foz (Brazil) there isn’t much else to do – which is just fine.
PUERTO IGUAZU (ARGENTINA) vs.
FOZ do IGUACU (BRAZIL):
Puerto is a town, Foz is city. I was actually surprised at how big Foz was (we could see it far off in distance from our hotel in Puerto). We loved Puerto Iguazu. We felt safe, had nice dinners, shopped, and walked around. I had originally planned on staying in Foz because we were flying out of the Brazilian side, but then a friend strongly suggested we change – he said Puerto was much more pleasant and not to worry about getting through customs as it was quick and easy. He was right on both and we’re very happy we switched.
HOTELS IN THE PARKS:
Each National park has a hotel in it. The one most preferred seemed to be the Sheraton (Argentina) because that side has many more walking/hiking trails. I’m sure both were nice but neither looked too spectacular from the outside. Plus, at either hotel you are far from either town so you are stuck there. May work for some, but we loved being able to stroll around Puerto even if it meant our accommodations were a bit older.
TAXI/BUS FROM AIRPORT:
At the Argentina Airport Terminal there was a clearly marked “fixed-rate” taxi sign and stand. It was AP$120 to any hotel in Puerto Iguazu, AP$110 to any hotel along the main road between the airport and Puerto, and AP$100 to the Sheraton. The stand assigned you a driver who you paid direct. I do not know if the Brazilian Airport had the same fixed-rate system – but it was a good one. Van and bus services into town were also clear and seemed low stress.
TAXI/BUS TO/FROM THE FALLS PARKS:
The “Rio-Uruguay” company bus runs every 20 minutes from the Puerto Iguazu bus terminal to the Argentina Park, and every hour to the Brazilian Park (I think also stopping at the Brazilian Airport). At the bus terminal in Puerto Iguazu there were several Rio-Uruguay stands and most people there spoke English so this was also easy. Any taxi will take you to either park as well, but for going to the park on the same side as your hotel the bus was good.
Make sure you have BOTH your Brazilian Visa AND your Argentinean Reciprocity Fee receipt! As long as you have your paper work your taxi driver will pass through the longer line of cars and speed you through in minutes. At one point he takes your passports into Brazilian Customs Office, leaving you in the car with air conditioning, and comes back with your stamp. If taking the bus across, I believe they make everyone get out, get their stamps, and walk down the road to re-catch the bus. On your departure day, plan a little extra time just in case there is any delay at customs, although one should reasonably expect to get through quickly.
BRAZILIAN FALLS & BIRD PARK:
Do the Brazilian Falls first if possible! 2-3 hours is plenty of time (2 hours even). The internal park bus run every 20 minutes. The only stop you need to go to is the “Falls Path.” You’ll get a great sense of the majesty of the falls and be immersed in the power of them once you arrive at Devil’s Throat. Take the elevator up and the bus back to the main gate from there. After, go across the street to the Brazilin Bird Park which is really really cool! As a side note, it was pouring rain when we left Puerto for the Brazilian Falls but Juan Carlos said we’d have nice weather by the time we get there – he was right and the weather cleared up for just long enough for us to have a great time.
Arrive early. This is a full day. Bring snacks/water ect. Sign up upon arrival for one of the speed boat trips (super awesome! We did the ‘short’ trip which was great). Consider wearing a bathing suit there and bringing a change of clothes (seriously, we were so happy we did. They give you a ‘dry bag’ for your stuff, but you will get 100% soaked. I also had ‘dry’ plastic case for my cell phone so was able to get amazing vids/pics from the boat trip). All trails are plainly marked. Don’t take the park train from the main gate, but you will want to take it Garganta del Diablo (The Argentina side of Devils throat where you are above it, as opposed to in it like on the Brazilian side). The line will probably be long but moved quicker than expected. There was some chatter about being able to swim under the Arrecha Fall but was told that was no longer allowed – although I’d do some more research on that. You can google pictures of people swimming in the river too, but not sure where/how they did that.
They DO accept credit cards at the Brazilian National Park. They do NOT at the Brazilian Bird Park. They do NOT at the Argentina National Park. Also, while many places in Puerto accept credit cards, not all do so make sure you verify. Besides, with the “street market” rate for US$ so high, if you were smart and changed your dollars on the street to pesos (say in Buenos Aires before you arrived in Puerto) then you’d be saving a lot by not using the credit card.