I could feel the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls before I could see it. Clouds of mist filled the air, hitting my face, as they cascaded off powerful Devil’s Throat—Iguazu Falls’ main attraction. In a matter of minutes, as I gazed around awestruck while strolling the platform in front of the curtain of falls, I’d be soaked—but I wouldn’t care.
Rumor has it that Eleanor Roosevelt muttered, “My poor Niagara…” when she set her eyes on Iguazu Falls, and I understood why immediately when I caught a view of the UNESCO World Heritage Site during a recent solo trip to Brazil.
I’ve ignored TLC’s advice and chased waterfalls in my travels. Though I absolutely love scenic Cascada el Meco and towering Cascada de Tamul in Mexico, I’ve yet to visit a waterfall that even comes close to the power and scale of Iguazu Falls.
Visiting Iguazu Falls alone, I was initially nervous about what the region had in store for me. I ended up loving every second of it. Traveling to the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls is easy and straightforward—perfect for solo travelers or those in groups and visitors of all ages.
How Large is Iguazu Falls?
Although Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe is considered the largest waterfall in the world, Iguazu Falls is considered the biggest waterfall system (confusing, I know).
Thundering Iguazu Falls consists of 275 waterfalls flowing at an average of 450,000 cubic feet per second—about eight times that of the average waterfall. Devil’s Throat, a horseshoe-shaped curtain, is composed of 14 of those falls.
The waterfalls plunge up to approximately 262.5 feet (80 meters), and have a diameter of roughly 8,858.25 feet (2,700 meters), according to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Measuring 196.85 feet (60 meters), even Iguazu Falls’ shortest waterfalls are taller than Niagara Falls’ highest of 188 feet (57 meters).
All of that water doesn’t go to waste—the subtropical rainforest surrounding Iguazu Falls hosts more than 2,000 different plant species. Jaguars, toucans, and tapirs are among the many animals that call Iguazu Falls home.
Parque Nacional de Iguaçu on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls spans 419,327.65 acres (169,695.88 hectares) of land, protecting that floral and fauna—major remnants of what’s left of the interior Atlantic forest.
Where is Iguaçu Falls Located?
Nestled on the “Tres Fonteras” (Três Fronteiras in Portuguese, Triple Frontier in English) region of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, where the Iguaçu and Paraná Rivers converge in South America, Iguaçu Falls spans Brazil and Argentina.
Roughly 80% of the falls belong to the Misiones province of Argentina, while the remaining 20% occupies the Parana state of Brazil. Despite the country having the smaller share of the waterfalls, the Brazil side of Iguaçu Falls boasts panoramic, up-close views that the Argentine side lacks.
On the Argentine side, views aren’t quite as impressive (though still beautiful). Robust hiking options and an increased opportunity to explore the nature of the falls make up for it.
Brazil Side of Iguazu Falls: Overview
- Time needed: 1 day for the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls. 2 to 3 days maximum across Brazil and Argentina
- Best month to visit: March to May or late August to October
- Closest airport: Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU)
- Entrance fee: R$88 ($17.85 USD) for adult tourists, according to the official Iguazu Falls Brazil tourism authority. Minors under seven are free
- Park hours: Opening hours vary by season. Currently open 8 am to 4 pm daily.
- Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL, R$)
- Language: Portuguese (both sides)
Best Time to Visit Iguazu Falls
The best time to visit Iguazu Falls is during the shoulder seasons of March to May and August to October.
From March to August, rainfall slows and temperatures cool, making for an easier visit, especially if you’re planning on hiking or doing other outdoor activities such as boat rides and cycling. By October, you can view more of the falls’ structure as water levels fall and expose granite cliffs.
I visited in June, and although there was a little rain, it was extremely temperate, and the falls were still powerful despite it technically being dry season (the falls are that grand).
Remember that if you’re visiting Iguazu Falls from the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll be in the opposite season in Brazil that you are at home. Spring in the Northern Hemisphere is fall in Brazil, and summer is winter, and so forth.
Visit Iguazu Falls as early in the morning as possible to avoid massive crowds. Taking in the massive waterfalls with no one around you is incredible.
Visiting the Brazil Side of Iguazu Falls vs. the Argentine Side
Your experience at Iguazu Falls will differ greatly based on which side of the falls you choose to experience.
Many travelers visit both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of Iguazu Falls when in the region. Recent shifts to Brazil’s tourist visa policy, however, have made this increasingly difficult (ahem, more expensive) for visitors from several countries.
If you’re looking for the best view of Iguazu Falls or are physically challenged, the Brazil side is where you need to be. You’ll take a casual 20-minute hike (walk) from the bus dropoff point in front of Hotel das Cataratas before reaching the catwalk in front of Devil’s Throat, Iguazu’s most impressive waterfalls.
Those who seek adventure will love the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls, which has tons more options for hiking and allows for a more intimate experience with the nature of the region. Views aren’t quite as impressive but are still interesting as Parque Nacional Iguazú (Iguazú National Park) allows guests to see the waterfall system from above.
Physically challenged travelers should know that both parks require walking on stairs or inclines to reach key waterfall viewpoints. Elevators are available on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls to mitigate some of this, but some use of stairs is required.
Closest Airports to Iguazu Falls
The closest airports to Iguazu Falls are Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) in Brazil and Cataratas del Iguazu International Airport (IGR) near Puerto Iguazú in Argentina.
Though both airports are technically international, IGR on the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls currently only services domestic destinations within Argentina.
IGU on the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls has a more robust flight schedule, offering direct international flights to Chile and several domestic airports within Brazil.
How to Get to Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Going to Iguazu Falls, Brazil from São Paulo
Reaching Iguazu Falls from São Paulo is as simple as braving the traffic to Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), São Paulo/Congonhas Airport (CGH), or Viracopos International Airport (VCP) and hopping on one of the many daily direct flights to Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU).
Airlines Azul, Gol, and LATAM all offer direct flights between São Paulo and Iguazu Falls. Flights are typically $150 to $250 USD round trip, with durations between one hour and 35 minutes and one hour and 55 minutes.
I took a flight to Iguazu Falls from São Paulo on Gol, and although booking my flight was straightforward, trying to check in at the airport was anything but. Guarulhos International Airport is not the most efficient airport, and I nearly missed my flight waiting in line at the check-in desk because of it.
Give yourself at least three hours before your flight, if not more. If you’re early, embrace the airport lounge—albeit dated—for a little reprieve from chaotic Guarulhos.
I’ve flown both LATAM and Gol. LATAM is by far the better airline. Although operations for both are slow in São Paulo, LATAM is more efficient in my experience.
Reaching Iguazu Falls, Brazil, from Rio de Janeiro
Flying is the easiest way to get to Iguazu Falls from Rio de Janeiro. A few nonstop flights to Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) are available daily, operated by LATAM and Gol.
Nonstop flights to Foz do Iguaçu from Rio de Janeiro are usually $350 to $450 USD, round trip. If you’re willing to have a connection in São Paulo, you’ll save major money—connecting flights usually stay between $120 and $250 USD roundtrip.
Book your nonstop flight to Iguazu Falls from Rio de Janeiro well in advance. As these flights aren’t available as frequently as they are in São Paulo, they sell out quickly and rise in price rapidly.
If you choose to connect through São Paulo, pick a flight with a generous layover if you’re landing at Guarulhos International Airport (GRU). This airport is massive. Navigating it can be lengthy and overwhelming.
Getting to Iguazu Falls, Brazil, from Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nonstop flights do not exist between Buenos Aires and Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) on the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls.
Connecting flights between the cities are available on LATAM and Gol, with durations between six hours and 23 hours (yes, really). These flights range from $430 to over $700 USD, round trip.
Alternatively, there are several daily nonstop flights between Aeroparque Internacional Jorge Newbery (AEP) in Buenos Aires and Cataratas of Iguazu International Airport (IGR) in Puerto Iguazú on the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls.
If you take one of these flights, you can take a shuttle or bus across the border to Foz do Iguaçu and the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls.
Nonstop flights between Buenos Aires and Puerto Iguazú are typically $88 to $150 USD roundtrip and have a duration of one hour and 50 minutes.
Taking the Bus Across the Border of Brazil and Argentina at Iguazu Falls
If you’re having trouble deciding which side of Iguazu Falls to visit, don’t choose—just see both! Border crossings from Brazil to Argentina are common for tourists visiting Iguazu Falls. It’s so common, that often, visitors traveling from Brazil to Argentina don’t even need to stamp in and out of the country if returning on the same day.
The Rio Uruguay and Crucero bus lines operate regularly between Foz do Iguaçu and Puerto Iguazú. Bus stops are clearly marked along the route with blue “AR CONDICIONADO” stickers.
Buses between Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil and Puerto Iguazú in Argentina run daily. These buses begin running around 8 am from both cities, typically in 20 to 40-minute intervals (there is no fixed schedule). On Sundays, buses run further apart—usually in 1.5-hour intervals.
Bus fares cost $700 ARS (R$4, $0.85 USD) in each direction between Foz do Iguaçu and Puerto Iguazú. You will be given two tickets—don’t lose them.
During your journey, the bus will stop at immigration checkpoints for both Argentina and Brazil. Buses will wait at Argentine immigration, but do not wait on the Brazilian side of the border—if you need to get your passport stamped, you’ll need to wait for the next bus to arrive.
There are buses that go directly from Puerto Iguazú to Parque Nacional do Iguaçu in Brazil, buses that shuttle between Foz do Iguaçu and Parque Nacional Iguazú in Argentina, and buses that run between Puerto Iguazú and Foz do Iguaçu.
When coming or going between Puerto Iguazú and Foz do Iguaçu, ensure your driver knows that you’re visiting the waterfalls and not just heading into town. If he’s aware, he’ll be able to drop you off where you’ll pick up the next bus to take you to the national park.
If you take the bus to Foz do Iguaçu, you’ll transfer to Bus 120 to get to the national park. You’ll pay R$5 ($1 USD) for this bus. On the Argentine side, the second bus is $600 ARS ($0.75 USD).
On the way back to Argentina from Brazil, you’ll miss the bus if you’re waiting in the actual bus terminal in Foz do Iguaçu. The bus stop for the border-crossing buses is right outside the main terminal, labeled as “Terminal de Onibus Internacional – Argentina” on maps.
Transportation from Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) to Parque Nacional do Iguaçu
There are four primary methods of reaching Iguazu Falls in Brazil from IGU airport: taking a private taxi, booking a shared transfer, riding the public bus, and going on a guided tour.
When you reach the park via any method of transportation, you’ll get on the bus at the visitor’s center and take it to the Path of the Falls Stop, unless you’re staying at the Hotel das Cataratas, a Belmond Hotel, and have arranged a private transfer.
Private transfers within the Iguazu National Park are not available to tourists who are not staying at the Hotel das Cataratas to minimize the environmental impact of tourism on the area.
Private Taxi from IGU
Taxis are readily available at Foz do Iguaçu International Airport. A taxi desk is onsite to help match travelers with drivers.
Always negotiate and agree on your fare before getting in the vehicle. Taxi drivers in Foz do Iguaçu do not use meters to calculate fares. If you don’t want to deal with negotiating your far on the spot, book a private transfer from IGU in advance online.
Most hotels in the area can arrange private transfers from IGU for guests. I booked mine through my hotel, enabling the car to drive through the national park to reach the hotel (if you book a private transfer to Hotel das Cataratas independently, your car will not be permitted to do this).
A taxi from IGU to the park entrance of the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls is usually R$60 to R$80 ($12.18 to $16.24 USD). Taxis from IGU to downtown Foz do Iguaçu are priced similarly.
The drive from IGU to the entrance of Parque Nacional do Iguaçu isn’t far—just around 10 minutes. Your driver won’t be allowed to take you into the park, but from the dropoff point, official shuttle buses run to several stops within the park.
If you’re trying to reach Puerto Iguazú in Argentina rather than Parque Nacional do Iguaçu or downtown Foz do Iguaçu, expect to pay R$150 to R$250 ($30.45 to $50.74 USD).
Shared Airport Transfer from IGU
Shared transfers are more common for transferring between IGU and Puerto Iguazú than the airport and the national park but exist for travelers who want the convenience of a taxi without the price tag.
Book your shared transfer from IGU to Foz do Iguaçu online in advance for $7 to $8 USD.
Public Bus from IGU or Centro Foz do Iguaçu
Bus 120 runs from Centro in Foz do Iguaçu, to IGU airport, then to Parque Nacional do Iguaçu. The bus is the most inexpensive way to reach Iguazu Falls from the airport in Brazil and is frequently used by tourists.
Buses leave on the hour, beginning at 8 am, daily. More information on bus schedules can be found on the Foz do Iguaçu tourism website.
Fares on Bus 120 are R$5 ($1 USD) for each trip. Buses only accept reais, in cash—you won’t be able to use your credit card to pay your fare.
Iguazu Falls Guided Tours
Guided tours for the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls will take you straight from the airport or your hotel to the park. These tours vary widely in length, based on what you’re interested in seeing and if you’re visiting both Argentina and Brazil or just Brazil.
I’m a little too independent for my own good, so guided group tours are typically not my thing. Private tours are available for those who want the convenience of having a guide without being held up by others, but they come at a much higher price.
Iguazu Falls tours are also useful if you’re short on time and looking to discover both sides of the falls rather than just one. Tour operators are well-versed in carefully planning itineraries so travelers can experience both in one day.
Iguazu Falls tours from Brazil can be booked in advance online.
Discover some of the best Iguazu Falls tours below:
Parque Nacional do Iguaçu Hours
Parque Nacional do Iguaçu (Iguazu National Park) varies its opening hours with the seasons. Currently, the park is open from 8 am to 4 pm daily.
The first bus to the waterfalls departs the park’s Visitor Center at 8 am. The final bus from Espaço Porto Canoas returns at 5:30 pm.
Parking at Parque Nacional do Iguaçu is available from 8 am to 6 pm.
Ensure you’re on that first bus departing the Visitor Center, or you’re almost guaranteed to experience Iguazu Falls with a crowd.
Parque Nacional do Iguaçu Entrance Fee
Admission to the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls is R$97 ($19.67 USD) for foreigners not belonging to a Mercosur member country.
Nationals of Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela) may purchase Park Nacional do Iguaçu Tickets for R$88 ($17.85 USD).
Tickets for the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls can be purchased online in advance through the official Cataratas do Iguaçu website.
Map of Iguazu Falls in Brazil
Navigating Parque Nacional do Iguaçu is far easier than doing the same in Argentina. The park really only has one main hiking route to reach the catwalk of the waterfalls and a couple of shorter in-and-out paths that are used to access docks for speedboat tours and rafting up the river.
The official Cataratas do Iguaçu website offers travelers a downloadable, digital interactive map of the waterfalls.
Hiking at Iguazu Falls in Brazil
After an intense, six-hour hike in Rio de Janeiro on the first day of my solo trip to Brazil that left me with bug bites that lasted weeks, I was ready to relax and rejuvenate by the time I reached Iguazu Falls at the end of my trip.
Hiking at Iguazu Falls in Brazil is really more like a walk through the subtropical rainforest for most visitors—perfect for those not looking to overexert themselves.
The path is clearly defined and has staircases when needed to ease access (no slipping down steep dirt hills here). The end of the route has a scenic elevator to bring visitors between an aerial observation deck for Devil’s Throat and the path, but stairs can also be used.
It takes roughly 15 to 25 minutes to reach Devil’s Throat from the Path of the Falls Stop in front of Hotel das Cataratas, depending on your speed.
If you do want a longer hike through the waterfalls, take a shuttle from the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls to Iguazú National Park in Argentina, where hikes have lengths ranging from just a mile to over six miles long.
Best Things to Do on the Brazil Side of Iguazu Falls
Though the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls isn’t quite as extensive as its Argentine counterpart, there’s still plenty to explore.
Though I wasn’t able to get to everything listed below, I was able to tackle several of the best things to do at Iguazu Falls with just one full day in the region.
Admire Devil’s Throat
The Brazil side of Iguazu Falls has a much better view of Devil’s Throat than the Argentine side. Parque Nacional do Iguaçu has several areas for observation of the falls and a lengthy catwalk that spans across a large part of the gorge.
You don’t need to pay separate admission to walk across the platform and view Devil’s Throat. It’s included in your admission to the park. To access it, take the main waterfall trail—you’ll reach the catwalk in 15 to 25 minutes.
Observe Local Wildlife
I rushed my walk out to Devil’s Throat in the morning to get the catwalk all to myself. If you do this, make sure you circle back to walk the path again more slowly.
When I took the path at a slower speed, I could see several toucans, exotic flowers, and other fauna that were nonexistent in the cold climate I live in.
Go Birdwatching at Parque das Aves (The Bird Park)
If you’re a real nature enthusiast, you can’t miss visiting Parque das Aves on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls. The sanctuary and shelter in Foz do Iguaçu is home to several species of tropical birds, in addition to a few other animals and butterflies.
Parque das Aves is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm daily.
Take a Macuco Safari Speedboat Ride
Prepare to get wet.
During your visit to Iguazu Falls, you might notice bright boats going right up to Devil’s Throat. These speedboat tours are by far the most popular thing to do at Iguazu Falls, outside of visiting the national parks themselves.
On the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls, Macuco Safari has been operating these tours since 1986. Tours consist of three parts: jungle, trail, and boat. You’ll be driven through the jungle before hitting the trail as your guide explains local wildlife. Finally, you’ll climb into the speedboat to see Iguazu Falls up close.
Tours last roughly two hours and, at $150 USD per person, aren’t necessarily for the budget traveler, but tourists rave that it’s well worth it.
Just don’t bring anything that can’t be soaked.
Get an Aerial View on an Iguazu Falls Helicopter Ride
See the falls from their most dramatic angle—while staying dry—on an Iguazu Falls helicopter tour.
At $150 to $220 USD per person for a 10-minute ride, Iguazu Falls helicopter tours in Brazil are a small splurge, but there’s no better—or other—way to see the waterfalls from above and both sides of the UNESCO World Heritage site at once.
Unwind at the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
It’s impossible to miss the Hotel das Cataratas, a Belmond Hotel when visiting the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls.
The only hotel in Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, Hotel das Cataratas’ perky pink façade is located right in front of the shuttle bus stop for the waterfall trail.
Such luxury comes at a price (one that reaches over $1,000 USD a night). If splashing out for an overnight stay isn’t in your budget, stop by the hotel for a drink and bite at Bar Tarobá, Hotel das Cataratas’ bird-themed bar, where staff is more than happy to practice their English with guests while filling them in on local wildlife, or book a treatment at the resort’s luxurious spa.
What to Bring to the Brazil Side of Iguazu Falls
You will get wet visiting the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls. The park’s observation deck gets so close to the massive waterfalls that avoiding the mist is nearly impossible. Do not bring anything that can’t get wet, because it will.
Even if you’re not going on a speedboat tour under the falls, you should still bring a poncho or rain jacket to avoid the inevitable spray, along with a few other essentials to make your visit easier.
- Bug spray
- Extra phone battery and charger
- Passport (put it in Ziploc bag, or water pouch)
- Poncho or rain jacket
- Walking shoes
- Waterproof phone bag
Best Hotels on the Brazil Side of Iguazu Falls
As I delved into dozens of hotel options, I quickly realized that figuring out where to stay in Iguazu Falls, Brazil was more difficult and confusing than it seemed.
Many of the hotel results were on the Argentine side rather than in Brazil, while those on the Brazil side were in the city of Foz do Iguaçu, which had me questioning safety.
Staying in the city of Foz do Iguaçu is common for visitors visiting the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls, and far less hassle than staying on the Argentine side if you aren’t planning on crossing the border, as you won’t need to deal with the hassle of police.
The below hotels are all firmly on the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls:
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas
This iconic pink colonial hotel is among the best not just in Brazil, but in all of South America. The property is the continent’s only Forbes Five-Star hotel.
More importantly, Hotel das Cataratas is the only hotel on the Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls that’s actually located inside the park itself. Unlike the Gran Melia in the national park on the Argentine side, Hotel das Cataratas has prime real estate for accessing Devil’s Throat, perched across the street from the entrance to the path that leads to the Devil’s Throat catwalk.
As described in my full Belmond Hotel das Cataratas review, my stay was a moment of pure bliss. Everything about the chic, tropical property was immaculate, from the champagne served at the included breakfast to the exotic birds soaring across the courtyard to the in-room surprises and creative cocktails harnessing flavors and spirits unique to Brazil.
The only thing I’d change about my stay is the length—it was over all too fast but worth every penny.
Wish Foz do Iguaçu
Wish Foz do Iguaçu is a harmony of soft, sophisticated design, Italian and Argentine gastronomy, and modern creature comforts.
The 5-star resort on the Brazil side of Foz do Iguaçu boasts multiple swimming pools, a fitness center, a spa, a sports court, a soccer field, a professional golf course, a kids’ club, and a robust leisure team that can arrange bespoke activities for children and facilitate tours of the region.
Bourbon Cataratas do Iguaçu Thermas Eco Resort
Balance leisure and nature at Bourbon Cataratas do Iguaçu Thermas Eco Resort. A simple but comfortable property in Foz do Iguaçu situated 14 miles from the waterfalls.
Free parking is available onsite, as are two swimming pools, a tennis court, additional sporting equipment, and a kids club (this resort is very family-friendly).
Iguazu Falls FAQ
The Brazil side of Iguazu Falls requires a half day at the bare minimum. A full day is better so you don’t feel rushed during your visit. You can visit both the Argentine and Brazilian sides of Iguazu Falls on the same day, but having two or three full days will allow you to experience all that the parks have to offer.
Yellow Fever vaccination is not required to visit Iguazu Falls by the Argentine or Brazilian governments, but it is recommended as the waterfalls are in an at-risk region for the disease.
A visa is required for American, Canadian, Australian, and Japanese citizens visiting Brazil, among others. Generally, if your country requires that Brazilian citizens obtain a visa to enter, you will be required to hold a visa to enter Brazil.
Europeans in European Union member states are typically exempt from needing a visa to enter Brazil for stays under 90 days.
Drones are not allowed at either of the Iguazu Falls national parks in Argentina and Brazil.
The Brazilian side of Iguazu Falls is very safe within the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu. Armed police stand guard at the entrance to the park and patrol the grounds on a regular basis.
Exercise caution when in the city of Foz do Iguaçu. The Tres Fronteras region is notorious for drug-related crime. Although staying at a hotel in town is common and safe, the region is given a Level 4: Do Not Travel warning from the US State Department, with the exception of the Foz do Iguaçu National Park, which is deemed as permissible for travel by the authority.
Iguazu Falls is not currently one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Previously it was named as one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World in 2012.
Looking for more to do in Brazil? Discover below:
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Eva Phan is the founder of Eva Darling, a travel and style website aiming to empower women to see the world solo while sharing on-trend, luxury feminine style inspiration. Featured in publications including Forbes, Thrillist, and Yahoo News, Eva has combined her education from Parsons School of Design with her incurable case of the travel bug to create a global destination that encourages others to romanticize their everyday.