One of the greatest spectacles of the nature
From the very beginning since booking the flights to Brazil, we knew Iguazu Falls would have to be part of the trip. How or when was secondary, the main point was to plan at whatever the cost was in this point, at least a day trip here. We could not let the chance go now that we were going to be in the country to admire the largest waterfall system in the world, without any doubt a well deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site listed. Fine that you could also get here from the Argentinian side, where you have the people who argue which side is better; and reach them also from Paraguay, from Ciudad del Este which neighbours Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil just across the Parana River.
Now, after the trip, if you ask me if I would return, I certainly say a definitely yes! And possibly to stay longer, and to check the views from the Argentinian side. It is mind blowing and jaw-dropping to see such power and beauty of nature. Simply grandiose.
Fortunately, and considering the size of this country, Iguazu Falls are quite well located at short flight distance from both Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. From our experience coming from Rio, this was a little less than 2 hours flight. Also, the choice of airlines was good enough to select some of the best times at great prices. After all, this is one of your major places to visit in your lifetime, immerse yourself and appreciate the magnitude and size of it all.
To know the fact that before we came we could not image our thoughts would change that dramatically, it is something amazing and spectacular. What you see in TV or from people who tell you their experiences and photos is nothing comparing to be there in real life. The size, the thundering sound of the water falling down, the nature. Everything.
For more information about the Iguazu Falls check this Wikipedia site. Brazil’s currency is the Brazilian Real (R$). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
How to get to the Iguazu Falls
At the moment of booking, there were 3 different airlines making this route. Check the best time to your needs, and also prices. From our experience, our day trip was from Rio de Janeiro and we can recommend GOL Airlines to be the most suitable. Their most convenient departure was the 10.10am from Galeao Airport, which is the one located right by the business district hence fast asn easy to reach on public transport. The arrival was estimated at 12.10pm. As for the returning flight, we got the 18.10pm, landing back in Rio at 20.10pm. As a tip for your journey, try to get a seat on the left hand side of the plane. You will get to see the falls in the distance few minutes before landing in their full glory.
The town of Foz do Iguaçu is about 20 kilometres away from the airport, and the airport lies in between the National Park and the town. A bus service runs every half hour for R$2.20 per way, efficient and easy to use. The stop is right outside the terminal building of the airport therefore impossible to miss. Remember, as for any local bus in Brazil, you board at the front of the bus and pay the person sat at the turnstile before passing through. This bus drops you just outside the main visitor’s centre at the entrance to the National Park.
How to plan your visit
Get your ticket from the Visitor Centre where the bus drops you off. The entrance fee is R$41.60 (at the time of writing this guide). Once inside, everyone must board the panoramic buses which will take the visitors to the falls itself. This bus stops along the way at some points for different activities. All those activities are payable and not included with the general admission ticket.
As taken from the official website of the National Park, “Macuco Safari offers boat trips up to the base of the Iguaçu Falls in 20 person zodiac boats. Your tour starts at the roadside entrance gate where you board the truck that will take you through the jungle towards the drop-off point. A narrator will describe the fauna that along the way. At the end of the ride, you have an easy hike down to the dock where you should put on your raincoat, a life preserver and place your valuables/dry things into plastic bags. The ride up the river to the falls is quite fun as the boats are powered by the two large motors that are needed to navigate the rapids. The first pause is at the beginning of the falls near the launch point for the Argentinian boat tours. There is time for photos and then to re-wrap your camera and up the river towards the Devils Throat. You cannot get that close the large falls as it gets exceedingly rocky in the river which prevents them from going all the way to the base of the falls. However, the captain will get you very close to going under the falls whenever he can.”
From where the bus drops everyone off at the last stop, you start your walking. Don’t get too excited when you see the first viewing point. I promise this is just nuts to what is there to come! There are plenty of viewing points along the path. And the extra hint of adrenaline comes when you reach the walkway along the canyon with an extension to the lower base of the Devil’s Throat. Here you will be right on top of one of the falls, and can go to the very edge. Beware, you will get absolutely soaked! There is no escape to getting wet. The fun in any case, is to be without a rain coat. Let the power of the water come to you. Don’t worry on being wet. At 30 degrees you will be pleased and nicely refreshed.
After this path, you are at the end of the visit. You can go up by lift to another viewing platform on top of the shops. This must be the nearest elevators to a waterfall in the world. It’s not even 50 centimetres from the edge! The buses will be coming often to take visitors back to the main entrance.