“My poor Niagara …”
– Former First Lady of the USA Eleonor Roosevelt said when she first saw Iguazu Falls.
Foz do Iguzçu | Brazil Travel
As a travel family, we have experienced a few unreal waterfalls throughout the years, but nothing is as spectacular as Foz do Iguaçu – also known as the Iguazu Falls. It is one of the supernatural wonders that everyone should plan to visit for the once in their lifetime.
Family Travel Destination
Daniel is from Brazil, so there is no doubt that we can’t wait to bring our little explorers to experience the stunning natural wonders. In Foz do Iguaçu, the diversity of animal species is so rich, your little explorers will be fascinated by how close they can watch the animal, and get to experience the real relationship that the human should behave with nature.
Foz do Iguaçu also offers several routes that are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, Park is suitable to visit at any age.
Five Fun Facts about Foz do Iguaçu.
- Foz do Iguaçu received over 1.6 million visitors in 2019, both local and foreign.
- The Iguaçu National Park is divided into two parts: Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil and Puerto Iguazú in Argentina.
- The Iguaçu National Park combined has a total size of 252,983 hectares.
- UNESCO declared the Iguaçu National Park as World Heritage in 1984.
- The Iguazu National Park creates a critical natural ecosystem connected to all Latin America.
Which side? Argentina vs. Brazil
Both sides are beautiful in their own way. Most people would recommend the Argentina side if you need to choose one. Around 70% of the waterfalls are on the Argentina side. Does it mean it’s better?
Standing on the Argentina side can’t see the scale, but you can get closer to the water, and experience the breathtaking view on top of the 80 meters drop – Devil’s Throat. Visitors are standing over the edge of the highest and the most powerful location of the entire National Park.
Brazil’s side offers a panoramic and wide-angle view, and visitors see the falls by walking into the halfway of Devil’s throat. You get to witness the volume of water washing down from the top.
Both sides offer beautiful trails and famous soaking wet boat. Daniel and I took it in Brazil, and it gives you an entirely different perspective on Foz do Iguaçu; For the Brazilian side, it may take around half day to enjoy everything, and as for Argentina’s side, I would recommend a full day.
Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
Puerto Iguazú in Argentina.
Activities & Highlights
The helicopter tour is quite popular as you can get a spectacular aerial view of the Foz do Iguaçu. However, we chose the walking trails and the boat tour for one main reason, PRICE! The helicopter trip lasts for 10-12 minutes average and cost from US$120 per person, which is over our travel budget.
The Iguaçu National Park is beyond imagination, walking usually is the best and cheapest way to explore.
If you are a big fan of fast boat and waterfalls, boat tour is the perfect combination for you to experience, you will also get a great views of many amazing falls in distance.
Remember to bring a raincoat, or wear a waterproof jacket, because you will get wet either on the boat tour or walking near the Devil’s Throat.
Yes! protect your camera too!
You can only purchase tickets at the entrance of the Park in cash or credit card. It depends on the season, but we waited in line for over 30 minutes, it wasn’t bad at all. After entering the Park, the shuttle bus fee is included and will take you to the different spots of the National Park.
Please visit the official website Iguazu Falls for more information.
Where to Stay?
There are several hotels available either in Argentina or Brazil side. We were recommended to stay at a Five-star hotel, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, the hotel offers a spectacular view of the Iguazu Falls, you are also granted with access to visit the Park after visitor hours.
However, we had a different idea on how we would like to spend our evenings, instead of staying in Foz do Iguaçu. We extended our adventure crossing the border to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. We stayed at the Casino Acaray Paraguay, a great location, the room is spacious, the pool overlooks Paraná riverbank, and casino.
How long should you stay?
It depends on your plan, whether you are planning to visit one or both sides of the Iguazu National Park or stay even longer to explore the State of Paraná. You may need around 3 to 4 days to experience the full Paraná and The Iguazu National Park.
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Casino Acaray Paraguay; Window view from the hotel room
Explore the State of Paraná
Parque das Aves – the bird park, was the last thing on our list, a short distance away from the Foz do Iguaçu. You will find more than 1320 birds from 143 different species in the Park, and meet some of the most famous birds in Brazil, such as toucans and macaws.
Itaipu Dam is the most significant hydroelectric power in the world; it is the seven wonders of modern engineering. The plant offers classic Panoramic Tour and the award-winning special tour that can take you to the interior of the plant or a boat trip on the lake. If you have any interest in engineering, Itaipu Dam is a must go.
Parque das Aves & Itaipu Dam
To add on our adventure, we have decided to explore more and cross the border from the city of Foz do Iguacu Brazil to Ciudad del Este in Paraguay.
You will need to stop at the Brazilian Immigration first before crossing the Paraná River. Once you crossed The Bridge of Friendship between the two nations, you will make another stop to receive the passport stamp before entering Paraguay. If you don’t have a car, you can either take a moto-taxi or bus to the border. Overall, it was quite simple to enter Paraguay.
Busy streets start almost immediately after the border, expect to see a hectic town, it is quite chaotic in a way that we appreciate the originality of it.
Is it safe?
Daniel felt safe, but it was debatable for me to say it is safe, I felt just fine. I will not feel comfortable to cross the border if I’m with a group of the family, especially with younger kids or the elderly.
The State of Paraná is safe and a family travel destination in general, perhaps it was just me stepping out of my comfort zone. Everybody also has a different definition of safety.
Pic left: There’s a side walk in case you would like to walk over
Pic right: Watch your belonging! The closer you get to the borders, the more people, stalls, and vehicles, which can be quite overwhelming.
How to get there?
Argentina and Brazil share Iguazu Falls. Therefore, you have two airport options to choose from.
- Argentina Airport (airport code: IGR) will get you to Puerto Iguazu.
- Brazil Airport (airport code: IGU) will take you to Foz do Iguazu.
There is no better way to make your family travel experience better by seeing it from the windows of a car; We drove 1500 kilometers from São Paulo to Paraná, and it was one of the best road trips we have done.