Foz do Iguaçu is a major city in the state of Paraná, Brazil. It is a gateway to both Paraguay and Argentina, and home of the famous Iguaçu Falls. Together with the cities of Ciudad del Este (Paraguay) and Puerto Iguazu (Argentina), it forms part of one the largest cultural tourism poles in South America.
Iguaçu Falls near Foz do Iguaçu
Foz do Iguaçu is so named because it sits at the mouth of the Iguaçu river, discharging into the Paraná river, at the border between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. The word Iguaçu means "large water" in Tupi-Guarani.
Remember that while Brazil is mostly a tropical country, a part of it is subtropical and this is exactly where Foz do Iguaçu lies. Even though it is warmer than Europe and North America's winter, subfreezing temperatures and frost do occur a few days each year, and houses and cheap hotels in the region usually lack heating systems. If you're visiting the Southern Region - where Foz do Iguaçu stands - from June to early September, make sure to pack some warm clothes. Summer, from November to March, can see some very hot days, as expected.
Foz do Iguaçu / Cataratas International Airport (IATA: IGU) (ICAO: SBFI) is close to the city. There are frequent flights to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile etc. ATMs are available on the ground level next to Arrivals. Internet terminals and WIFI are available in the upstairs restaurant area but the WIFI can only be purchased in a 24 hour package for R$25 which is quite expensive.
Public bus number 120 connects the airport, Iguaçu falls and Foz do Iguaçu city for R$3.45 (Jan 2018) and takes about 30 minutes from the airport to the city center. Alternatively, taxis are available at the airport for about R$55 to the city.
Bus transportation is available to and from the most important cities in the country, and even to Argentina.
- Sao Paulo, about 17h, with at least three departures from Iguaçu at 2.30pm, 6.00pm and 7.30pm. Update 26/08/2016: This route is currently not safe to do over night, as several busses have been held up at gunpoint and robbed. Instead look for daytime options or flying.
- Rio de Janeiro, with at least one departure from Iguaçu at 6.45pm. As of Nov. 2015 there are three (3) daily depatures from Rio - 11:15am, 1:30pm; 2pm - costing approximately R$240 per person. The bus trip takes 24 hours.
- Curitiba, about 11h with Catarinense
- Cuiaba, about 28h with Eucatur
- Campo Grande, about 14h with Medianeira, Integração or Unesul
- Belo Horizonte, with at least one departure from Iguaçu at 3.00pm
- Florianopolis, with at least two departures from Iguaçu at 5.40pm and 8.30pm
- Santos, with at least one departure from Iguaçu at 4.00pm
- Criciúma, with at least one departure from Iguaçu at 8.30pm
- Buenos Aires, with at least three departures weekly from Iguaçu on Sundays at 1.30pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5.00pm.
Many other destinations as well.
Be warned that many Brazilians from all parts of the country go shopping for cheaper electronics, liquor and luxury goods in Paraguay, especially Ciudad del Este (both for personal use and for resale), and while chartered buses are more commonly used for that, scheduled line buses from Foz do Iguaçu are sometimes used as well. This means two things: first, that other passengers may be carrying a lot of luggage. This is not carried in the bus cabin and won't affect your comfort, but the bus trunk may be fuller than expected, increasing the risk of confusion, theft and bag damage.
Second, and more important, the Brazilian Federal Police and customs often make random raids on the road to stop and inspect buses coming from Foz do Iguaçu. This is more likely to happen in the first 100 km (60 miles) or so from Foz do Iguaçu (up to the city of Cascavel), but can happen anywhere in the state of Paraná and even in other states. According to Brazilian federal law, roads coming from international border zones are special customs areas and are subject to customs inspections as if you were at a point of entry, even though you have already been cleared by customs when entering the country.
If this happens, policemen and customs agents will be polite, won't harass you, won't be expecting bribes and won't cause you any trouble, other than maybe asking to see your ID (passport) and for you to identify and maybe open your luggage. As they won't probably speak English, they will probably leave you alone as soon as they see you don't speak Portuguese. What they are really after is Brazilians who bring contraband and who somehow slipped through customs inspection at the usually very busy and congested Friendship Bridge border crossing; even in those cases, the worst that can happen to that person is to have the purchased goods that exceed the customs quota confiscated. Treat the authorities respectfully and you won't have any problems. The only real problem is that this may cause delays to your trip.
Of course, if they catch you with illegal drugs such as marijuana or cocaine, you will be in real trouble, so don't even think of carrying any! Talking about that, since this route is also used for small-scale drug and firearms trafficking, absolutely refuse to carry any package that someone may ask you to, and make sure all your luggage is well locked.
From Curitiba, access is over the BR-227 (Curitiba - Assuncion) highway. There are 632 km of highway. Foz do Iguaçu is in the extreme west of Paraná, 640 km from Curitiba.
- From Curitiba: BR-277
- From São Paulo: BR-116/BR-277
- From Rio de Janeiro: BR-116/BR277
Attention: international urban buses *do not* stop at the Brazilian and Paraguayan borders unless requested, and most won't wait as locals (Brazilians, Argentinians, Paraguayans) don't need to do immigration procedures on these borders. They always stop and wait at the Argentine border, where everybody gets off and goes through immigration.
As a foreigner, make sure to stop for the Brazilian immigration departure procedures when leaving Foz do Iguaçu because the Argentinian officials will ask for the exit stamp to let you in. The two border posts are a few km away, so don't forget to tell the bus driver you want to get down there. If you save the bus ticket, after completing the procedures you can board the next bus of the same company for free - however, this might take over an hour, so consider just paying the fare again on the first bus that comes.
Also, if you have onward travel inside Paraguay (further than Ciudad del Este), do stop for the procedures and remember to get the "permiso" paper as the Paraguayan officers are known to "forget" to hand them, which will subject you to fines or bribes on the way out.
- Bus line 120 (TTU/Terminal - Parque Nacional) costs 3.45 BRL in Jan 2018 and deserves Foz do Iguaçu International Airport, Bird Park and has the last stop at the entrance on the Brazilian side of the falls. Mobile app Moovit has detailed information, but the entire trip takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
- International urban lines run through Foz do Iguaçu center towards Puerto Iguazu Terminal (25 ARS or 5 BRL, Jan 2018). They call at a bus stop just outside the TTU terminal. These service stop at around 7pm.
- International urban lines run through Foz do Iguaçu center towards Ciudad del Este Terminal (5,25 BRL in Jan 2018). They call at a bus stop just outside the TTU terminal. You can also walk your way across the Friendship Bridge, but there's a risk of pickpocketing.
- Bus lines 101 and 102 also costs 3,45 BRL (Jan 2018) and go all the way to the Itaipu Dam Visitor Center. Mobile app Moovit has detailed information, but both call at the central TTU/Terminal.
- Iguaçu Falls (Cataratas do Iguaçu), (Accessible with Aeroporto/Parque Nacional bus 120 from Local Bus Terminal), . 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 Brazillian 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. R$52.
- Parque das Aves (Park of the Birds), . 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 Park of the Birds is considered an ecological sanctuary. It is located near the Iguaçu National Park in a 17-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 8:30AM to 5:30PM, in the winter, and from 8:30AM to 6PM, in the summer. R$34.
- Itaipu Dam, ("Take), . 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. It can only be visited on a tour. There are multiple tours available (see website for times and prices), most notably the Panoramic Tour consisting of a bus ride across the dam with various stops to take pictures, and the Special Tour with the possibility to enter the turbine halls, control room, etc. in addition to the stops of the panoramic tour. R$27-R$68.
- Three Borders Landmark. The place where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. Each side has its own Marco (landmark). Have a look at Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, all in the same glimpse of the eye while there are cargo freighters making their way slowly along the water. December 2016 the Brazilian landmark with adjacent park was closed for renovation, though one can still glimpse the Argentina and Paraguay markers from the parking lot and adjacent trail. Free.
- Dreamland Wax Museum, . Who does not want to see in firsthand some personalities of film, television, sports, politics and history? This is the experience that the Wax Museum Dreamland brought to Foz do Iguaçu, an immersion in 16 scenarios with dozens of statues that bring the visitor to a fantasy world. 40-70-90 R$.
- Salto do Macuco (Tinamou Drop) (Macuco Safári). It´s a unique and amazing experience at the Iguassu falls nobody should miss. On this tour, the visitor takes trails in an open, electric vehicle, accompanied by trilingual guides over three kilometers of jungle. The vehicle stops at the beginning of a 600m trail that leads to the Salto do Macuco – with its crystal clear waters that fall from a height of 20m over rocks, forming a tiny lake. Those who do not want to descend on foot can take the same electric car to where they embark on the inflatable boat. It is an exciting adventure as the boat navigates over a canyon’s waters and gets very near the huge Garganta do Diabo falls and then receives the “wet blessing” from the Three Musketeers Falls. To get there take the Cataratas Highway to km 23, already inside the Iguaçu National Park. A hint: if you don’t want to get soaked, take a raincoat.
- Helicopter Tour, . 9am-5pm. This 10-minute tour provides a beautiful aerial view of Iguaçu National Park. It is the best way to understand the real dimensions of the Falls. Another option is to fly over the Itaipu Hydroelectric Plant. For the flight over the Iguacu falls, you need a minimum of 3 people (the helicopter can take 4 people + the pilot), but you can wait around and will usually find another group of one or two people. R$350 pp. (April 2015).
- Poço Preto (Black Well). This excursion is made in a special vehicle – over a rustic 18 km trail - through the exuberant vegetation of the National Park. It lasts up to 5 hours. Specialized guides accompany the visitors who can photograph or watch birds. It is located on km 18 of BR 469 – the Cataratas Highway.
- City Tour (Sightseeing). Foz do Iguaçu now has the famous red bus, an indispensable tour in a tourist town. Lasting three hours, the Foz do Iguaçu City Tour (Sightseeing) has three stops: the Three Borders Landmark, Islamic Mosque and Buddhist Temple. In addition to passing more than 30 points of interest in the route.
- Water Parks. For those visiting Foz seeking fun, the parks are great options for a day to more travel, and family activities: Parque Aquático Acquamania, Parque Aquático Lago de Itaipu, Hotéis Resort Termas.
- Ciudad del Este, (The most common way to arrive is through Ponte da Amizade (Friendship Bridge) which connects Ciudad del Este in Paraguay and Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil.). The main shopping streets are Av. San Blas and Camilo Recalde, where you can buy about anything and everything. Many people come for electronics. A WARNING: If you want to buy electronics such as cellphones or cameras, the procedure shall be as follows: Ask to test the device, if it works DO NOT give it back to the shopkeeper/assistant as some of them exchange them with faulty versions or hand the box back filled with paper or other stuff but certainly not with what you just bought. It is also possible to visit Itaipu dam from Ciudad del Este. The bus tour from Iraulico on the Ciudad to Hernandarias road is free (only Spanish speaking guide) To get there take any bus from Ciudad with destination Hernandarias (one way 3000 Guarani 0,5€).
- Martignoni Pizza Parlor, Av. Paraná 3535 (downtown), ☎ (+55) 45-522 2706. Tu-Su 7pm-12pm. Pizza de rodizio: the waiters bring around a selection of meats, pastas, and (the main attraction) pizza. A nice atmosphere with an excellent variety of pizzas, including some with fruit, chocolate, and ice cream. But before dessert, try the catupiry and the tomate seco (dried tomato). R13.50.
- Boi Na Brasa, Av. Juscelino Kubitscheck (Close to Fouad Center New Time), ☎ (45) 3523 5858. Buffet with grilled meat. Buffet from R$8.
- Bufalo Branco, . The best churrascaria in town. Problaby also the most expensive. R$85.
- Churrascaria do Gaúcho (Steakhouse), Avenida República Argentina, 632 (Close to TTU terminal). Traditional and very affordable Brazilian churrascaria (all-you-can-eat buffet and waiters walking around with skewers or barbecued meat), frequented by locals and tourists alike. R$28.50.
- La Bella Pizza, Rua Xavier da Silva 648, ☎ +55 (45) 3574-2285. 17:00-late. All you can eat pizza and pasta, 40 different types including chocolate and banana pizza. $R 12-15.
- Hostel Manga Rosa (Hostel Manga Rosa), Av. Florianópolis, 1085 ("2), ☎ +55 45 3029-4047 ([email protected]). checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Familiar atmosphere, cosy private rooms or dormitories, each with air conditioning, wi-fi throughout, lounge with cable TV, PS3 or Wii. Pool and an outside bar, with a typical Brazilian barbecue. Relax in the hammocks, read a book or smoke a shisha, whilst being only a minute walk away from a shop to buy your food or 10 minutes walk away from major supermarket and banks with cash machines. $.
- Hostel 76, Belarmino de Mendonça 521, ☎ 30284344, . A new hostel just opened in July 2012 with nice clean rooms and a buffet restaurant (lunch only). Central location one block from bars and restaurant and the bus stop for buses to Iguazu Falls, airport, and Argentina. 28.
- Favela Chic Hostel, 78, Rue Major Raul de Mattos (Take bus 120 from Terminal Urbano; get off at the first stop on Cateratas, the street going to the falls. 10 meters to de Mattos street from the bus stop.), ☎ (0055)45 3027-5060 ([email protected]). checkout: 11:00(ish).  Opened in March 2012; really nice and clean hostel. Friendly English owner, Nick, with tons of ideas, information and a big welcome. Great concept, beautiful surroundings. Comfy hang out areas, nice bar, hammocks. 30 Reals for a dorm bed (air con, bathroom inside). Price includes full English breakfast! Tents and camping space available..
- Hostel Backpacker, Rua Tarobá 827 (Downtown, 3 blocks from TTU urban bus terminal), ☎ (45) 3027-2500 ([email protected]). Friendly staff. Nice breakfast included. Internet. Conveniently located in the city center. Booking for organized tours to Iguaçu Falls possible. Dorm from R$30.
- Pousada El Shaddai, Rua Engenheiro Reboucas 306, Foz de Iguacu, . Phone +55 45 30254493, email contato(at)pousadaelshaddai.com.br. Dorms from R$22.00, doubles from R$60.00, incl breakfast buffet, swimming pool, kitchen use. Clean and friendly. Quiet and central location near amenities like banks, supermarkets, restaurants, launderettes.
- Albergue Paudimar Campestre (Av. das Cataratas). Twelve kilometres outside Foz do Iguaçu on the way to the Brazilian side of the falls, it's more a mini-resort than a hostel. It offers free internet, budget meals and also has a swimming pool and bar. They also arrange tours to the Argentinean side of the falls. Half the taxi fair from the bus terminal is returned if you go with two or more persons and stay at least two days. Look for the stand at the bus terminal.
- Hostel Natura, Av. das Cataratas, KM 12,5 - Bairro Remanso Grande, ☎ +55 (45) 3529-6949 (hostel) / +55 (45) 9116-0979 (mobile), . The hostel is located close to the Albergue Paudimar Campestre, some way outside the city. It's small, quiet, clean and has two ponds where you can swim (besides the swimming pool). It offers free internet (WiFi), has a small kitchen to use and a small bar with pool, tabletop soccer and TV. The staff is very friendly and helps you planning your visit to the falls. Dorms and Doubles from R$38.00, with air condition. (-25.605055,-54.524729)
- Your Place Hostel, Rua Joaquim Firmino,222., ☎ (45) 3029 2462 ([email protected]). Free breakfast. Close to the bars and commerce area. Staying here you can easily catch direct buses to the main touristic places. Dorm from R$23.
- Tetris Container Hostel, Av. das Cataratas, 639 (At the road connecting the city with airport & falls. Bus 120 stops nearby.), ☎ (45) 3132 0019, . The hostel is made from shipping containers and has a very unique design. A bar in the backyard and a swimming pool invite you to hang out and meet other travelers. Breakfast included. Highly recommended for party lovers. You can get to bed next to the bar. The metal containers also serve as noise amplifiers. Dorm from R$45 Female dorm R$40.
- Nadai Confort Hotel, Av. República Argentina, 1334, ☎ +55 (45) 3521-5050, . The Nadai Confort Hotel boasts a privileged position among the main avenues of the central area and the green preservation space belonging to the Brazilian army. Offers a number of options for leisure and facilities for its businesses.
- Pousada Sonho Meu, Rua Men de Sá, 267 - Centro (very close to the bus station, there are signs at the station showing the way), ☎ +55 45 3573-5764 ([email protected]), . Family-run, friendly pousada, conveniently located next to the bus terminal (it's not like anyone visits Foz to hang out in the city anyway). The breakfast buffet is excellent, and there's a swimming pool and even a tiny gym. Doubles from R$120.
- Hotel San Rafael, Rua Almirante Barroso No 1660, Foz de Iguaçu, Brazil. 85851-010. A pleasant hotel with friendly staff. You can hire their tour guide, Val, who will gladly take you to both sides of the falls. Hotel includes a gym and pool, which is needed as it gets very hot in Iguaçu in summer. Breakfast is included and there is a superb buffet in the evenings for 20 Reals a head. Also very close to the main shops in Foz do Iguaçu, where all the bargains are.
- Hotel Panorama & Acquamania Resort, Avenida das Cataratas, s/n, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. 85853-000. http://www.hotelpanoramaresort.com.br With an excelent infrastructure for leisure and accommodation, the Resort offers 155 anti-alergic rooms with ceramic tiled floor and 102 rooms with Balcony. The Resort is surrounded by woods and gardens, in a green area of 130.000 m² of native forests and tropical gardens. Next to the hotel you can find Acquamania, a water park with pools, toboggans and buoy-cross.
- Wish Resort Golf Convention Foz do Iguaçu, Av. das Cataratas , 6.845 - Tamanduá, Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná, Brazil, ☎ +55 (45) 3521 3400, . Wish Golf Resort Convention Foz do Iguaçu is in Foz do Iguaçu, which is at the western end of the state of Paraná, Brazil, only 15 minutes away from the international airport and 20 minutes away from the Iguassu Falls, on the border between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
- Iguaçu Falls - Obviously the most important attraction nearby Foz do Iguaçu. The world-famous falls.
- Puerto Iguazu - On the Argentinian side of the border, offers access to the Argentinian side of the falls and a number of casinos and shopping.
While most of the carriers offer 3G and 4G connectivity to Brazilian subscribers, international visitors find very hard to get connected to, even if they have previously purchased special packages. This is more than likely due to the complexe international roaming agreements between your home network and roaming networks, and the proximity to the countries borders. This will also result in increased battery drain as your device hops between countries/providers - consider turning the network option off on your phone when you don't need
Keep in mind this also may play havoc with your phone's clock if set to 'automatic date & time' & your device roams to Paraguay as it can be an hour behind Foz/Puerto
Therefore, do not rely only on your international data roaming, as it may be widely unavailable in the area. Also, WiFi is widespread, but suffers of disconnections and slow throughput. This occurs even in conference-grade hotels and resorts.
For the international travelers holding a VISA debit/credit card, be reminded that VISA is rarely accepted on ATM machines, even in the ones located at the bank. The ticket office of the waterfall has only one ATM accepting VISA cards. My experience is that the bank firm named CAIXA usually accepts VISA. On the converse, MASTERCARD is accepted by all ATM.