Foz do Iguacu

Photo © janvanhest

Travel Guide South America Brazil Foz do Iguacu

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Introduction

Foz do Iguacu is a city of approximately 300,000 inhabitants in the southwest of Brazil, at the confluence of the Parana and Iguazu rivers, which form the border with Paraguay and Argentina respectively. It is quite a large city though not really attractive. If you want to spend some time at the amazing Iguazu Falls, try and get a room on the other side in Argentinian Puerto Iguazu.

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Sights and Activities

Cataratas 6a

Cataratas 6a

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  • Iguazu Falls - One of the most famous attractions in Brazil, the falls on the Iguaçu River have a flow capacity equal to three times that of Niagara Falls. The falls are shared between Brazil and Argentina, and each side has its own network of trails and viewpoints. The National Park on the Brazilian side runs a shuttle bus between the Visitors' Centre, the falls, and numerous outdoor tour operators, including boat rides run by Macuco Safari out to the bottom of the falls.
  • Parque das Aves (Birds Park) is very close to the entrance of the falls, you can take a self-guided tour of the park to come in close contact with all different types of exotic birds. There may also be chances to hold and take pictures with the birds. The Birds Park is considered an ecological sanctuary. It is located near the Iguaçu National Park in a 16-hectare area of native woods. A paved trail leads visitors to the enormous aviaries that blend in with the forest and allow you to know approximately 900 birds from 180 species. The Park also has a butterfly section with 25 species and a reptile section as well. All of these animals can be seen from a distance of only a few meters. The park also has a parking lot, a souvenir shop and a snack bar. It is open daily – including holidays – from 08:30 to 17:30, 08:30 to 17:00 in the summer. R$40.
  • Itaipu Dam (Itaipu Binacional) - The Itaipu Hydroelectric Plant is the largest electric power generator in the world and was considered to be one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineering. Take a bus R$2.85 from the Local Bus Terminal to get there. Booking in advance is recommended for special tour and/or on weekends/public holidays. There are many tourism attractions available, but the panoramic tour and of the dam is a must. R$12-100 (depending on tour type and discounts).
  • Three Borders Landmark - The place where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. Each side has its own Marco (landmark). Have a look at Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, all in the same glimpse of the eye while there are cargo freighters making their way slowly along the water. Accessing it can be hard, as there is a single bus line leaving from the Downtown Terminal whose final destination is the landmark. There is a new visitor center and a museum on the Brazilian side, costs R$25. It has a wall around it, so you cannot see the brazilian border mark without paying. Argentinian border mark is easily accessible even by walk from the centre, or by bus. No entry fee. Paraguayan mark is quite far from the city, accessible by buses going to Pdte. Franco and then Tres Fronteras. Entry fee 5000 Gs. Argentina: Free, Brazil: R$25, Paraguay: 5000 Gs.

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Weather

Winters last from June to August, but temperatures are generally still between 15 °C and 20 °C or even more sometimes. Nights can be rather chilly though and frost is not unheard of though pretty rare. During this time, cloudy and cool days of just over 10 °C make a visit to the Iguazu Falls not a great time. Summers can be extremely hot and humid, with temperatures from November to March frequently hitting 30 °C or (much) more. This is also when most of the heavy rainshowers fall. Spring (late September - early November) and autumn (March to May) are actually quite pleasant times for a visit.

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Getting There

By Plane

The Foz do Iguacu Airport (IGU) is served by flights from Curitiba, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

By Car

From Curitiba, access is over the BR-227 (Curitiba - Assuncion) highway, about 640 kilometres.

By Bus

Local buses run from Foz do Iguaçu city to the falls on a regular schedule. Buses cost 1.85 reals and run every 20 minutes from Centro. The bus terminus on Avenida Juscelino Kubitschek has a Tourist Information Office where they speak excellent English. Many buses go across the border to Ciudad del Este in Paraguay and Puerto Iguazu in Argentina, from where there is onward transport to other cities in both countries.
From Sao Paulo to the Iguazu Falls will cost approximately USD $79.00 leito (sleeper bus - Pluma). Conventional or executive buses will cost approximately US$49. Travel time - 16 hours. From Sao Paulo, buses normally depart in the evening and arrive the next morning.
Buses also go to Curitiba (10 hours) and Rio de Janeiro (22 hours).

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Getting Around

A bus (No. 120, direction Aeroporto/Parque National) leaves hourly from the terminal to the entrance on Brazilian side of the falls. The bus is also the access to Foz do Iguaçu International Airport, which is before the falls. The airport's entrance, Parque National Iguaçu, and Parque das Aves (Birds Park) are in close proximity to each other.

It is only a short walk across the Friendship Bridge over the river Parana to Ciudad del Este. Alternatively, you can take a taxi as walking across the bridge is not recommended due to pickpocketing. You might have to ask multiple taxi drivers to get a taxi across the bridge. However, there are busses, vans, taxis and moto-taxis all around customs offices on both sides.

There is a bus you can take from the Terminal in Foz de Iguacu that leaves you at a stop relatively close to the bridge, if you tell the driver/tickets person you want to go to Ciudad del Este when boarding. However, you have to walk from the stop to the bridge for about 10-15 minutes through an area that does not look or feel safe, until you reach the Brazilian customs so this way is not advisable. Take an official taxi to and from the border instead. Also, Ciudad del Este does not feel any safer than Foz de Iguacu, it's a place for cheaper shopping not tourism.

Remember to get stamped out at the Brazilian customs and stamped in the Paraguay side on your way in, and likewise stamped out of Paraguay and into Brazil on return, even for a short day trip, otherwise you are in Paraguay illegally.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Foz do Iguacu or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes (Lan houses) are increasingly common, and even small towns often have at least one spot with more or less decent connections.
An increasing number of hotels, airports and shopping malls also offer hotspots for Wi-Fi with your laptop computer or of course smartphone. Sometimes it is free, sometimes you need to register and there is a time limite and sometimes you need to pay a small amount for (day) use.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Brazil is: 55. To make an international call from , the code is: 0014. All cities use the following emergency numbers: 190 (police), 192 (medical) and 193 (fire department). However, if you dial 911 or 112 while in Brazil, you will be redirected to the police.
Brazil uses two-digit area codes, and phone numbers are eight digits long. Numbers beginning with digits 2 to 5 are land lines, while eight-digit numbers beginning with digits 6 to 9 are mobile phones.

Public payphones use disposable prepaid cards, which come with 20, 40, 60 or 75 credits. The discount for buying cards with larger denominations is marginal. Phone booths are nearly everywhere, and all cards can be used in all booths, regardless of the owner phone company. Cards can be bought from many small shops, and almost all news agents sell them.

Brazil has 4 national mobile operators: Vivo (Telefónica Group), Claro (Telmex/América Móvil Group), OI and TIM (Telecom Italia Group), all of them running GSM and HSDPA/HSPA+ networks. Pay-as-you-go (pré-pago) SIM cards for GSM phones are widely available in places like newsstands, drugstores, supermarkets, retail shops, etc.

Post

Correios is the national postal service of Brazil. It is a government run postal service and overseen by the Brazilian Ministry of Communications. Post offices are generally open from Monday to Friday from 09:00am to 5:00pm, although post offices located in shopping malls have their own opening hours, usually from 10:00am to 10:00pm. There are no set opening hours at weekends and as post office owners can choose when to open and close. More and more post offices are open until 1:00pm on Saturdays though. You can check things at the nearest post office.

Sending postcards, letters and parcels is a rather straightforward process and services are reliable, though not overly fast when sending post internationally, mostly taking about a week to the USA and Europe, and there is a track-and-trace service for this as well. Domestically, there are both next day as well as more expensive same day delivery options. Stamps are available at post offices, as well as some kiosks or other places where they sell postcards.

For sending packages internationally, you can also used competitively priced private companies like TNT, UPS or DHL. They are generally much quicker and not much more expensive.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: -25.5468978
  • Longitude: -54.5881716

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This is version 11. Last edited at 13:53 on Dec 8, 17 by Utrecht. 20 articles link to this page.

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