Iguazu Falls: How Do I Get There?
While I realize that answering this question really depends on who's doing the asking, we can only speak from experience so we're going to break down how we were able to do it. Therefore, I'd imagine this page would be most useful to foreign visitors wishing to get here (since that was the situation we were in).
With that being said, obviously the quickest and most convient way to get to Iguazu Falls
is by air. Since we're talking about 2 different countries, there are obviously multiple ways to get here by air. We're most familiar with the Argentina side so we'll start here first.
, you're most likely going to be flying into Buenos Aires (the country's capital) and then take a connecting flight (typically 90 minutes) from there to the town of Puerto Iguazú. The Ezeiza International Airport in the outskirts of Buenos Aires is actually quite a drive (budget at least an hour for this drive alone) from El Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (i.e. the domestic airport) so we had to arrange for a taxi to make the transfer between airports.
We actually made this taxi arrangement before arriving at the airport (with a tour operator) so there was someone waiting for us. I'm sure it's not the cheapest option, but we did it for the piece of mind. If you really want to wing it or you think it's cheaper not to do what we did, then I'm sure it's possible to catch one of the many spontaneous taxis at the airport itself (I recalled seeing lots of them looking for business). I'd imagine if you're going this route, you might want to ensure your Spanish is decent enough to at least communicate with the cab driver.
If you happen to already be in an Argentinean city or other South American city outside Argentina that's both reasonably closer to the Iguazu Falls than Buenos Aires and contains a direct connection to Puerto Iguazú, then you can probably fly directly to the airport by the falls.
After landing at the Iguazu Falls International Airport on the Argentina side, you'll need to arrange a taxi or a courtesy shuttle with the hotel you're staying in (though not all hotels do this). In our case, we had this shuttle arrangement done with the tour operator prior to leaving on this trip so we had someone waiting for us. Again, I know it's probably not the cheapest way to do it, but at least we had piece of mind.
The accommodations are either in the town of Puerto Iguazú or the Sheraton Iguazú (which is within the National Park boundary). If you're staying in Puerto Iguazú, you either need a bus or a taxi to get to the visitor center in the National Park. From there, you can catch a short in-park train ride or walk to get up to Iguazu Falls. However, if you're staying within the park at Sheraton Iguazú, you can just walk for about 15 minutes from the hotel to the falls.
Note that the park generally closes after 6pm and doesn't open until 8am. This usually means small barricades are put up to discourage access though sometimes moonlight tours are conducted at Iguazu Falls. Also, some people just walk to the falls (barricades or not) in the morning before the crowds start to arrive.
, I believe you're most likely going to be flying into Sao Paulo (a major hub of Brazilian flights). From there, you'd probably take a connecting flight (90 minutes) to the city of Foz do Iguassu. Then, you'll need a ride (taxi or bus) to your accommodation in the city itself or to Hotel Tropical Iguassu Falls. Moreover, you'll need a taxi or bus to get from your accommodation to the falls unless you're at the Hotel Tropical Iguassu Falls (in which case you'll just walk a couple of minutes right to the overlooks).
If flying isn't your thing, then you can take a bus ride in either Argentina or Brazil. It's certainly cheaper than flying, but you're typically looking at a minimum of 20 hours on the road (at least that's what Lonely Planet said). Naturally, time was more of a factor than cost so the bus option wasn't palatable to us.
Just to give you an idea of the amount of travel involved, here's our travel circuit, which consisted of...
- a 6-hour flight from Los Angeles to Miami
- an 8.5-hour flight from Miami to Buenos Aires
- an hour-long taxi from Ezeiza Int'l Airport to Aeroparque Jorge Newbery
- a 1.5-hour flight from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazú
On the return trip, we took a different route...
- a 1.5-hour flight from Puerto Iguazú to Buenos Aires
- an hour-long taxi from Aeroparque Jorge Newbery to Ezeiza Int'l Airport
- a 10.5-hour flight from Buenos Aires to Dallas/Fort Worth
- a 3-hour flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Los Angeles
Naturally, these transit times will differ depending on where you're at, but at least this gives you a rough idea of how much time to budget for travel days.
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