In addition to our write-up on how to get to Iguazu Falls concerning some of the logistics, we’ll also talk a little more about some other considerations to make when it comes to a visit.
The answer to this issue depends more on who you’re taking advice from.
Indeed, there are different sides to the story about which side is safer – Argentina or Brazil.
Puerto Iguazu on the Argentina side appears to be the smaller town compared to say Foz do Iguassu. And for that reason alone, it’s said to be safer.
On the flip side, I’ve heard that Brazil’s cities tend to suffer from a rising rate of street crime, and Foz do Iguassu is no exception. However, that doesn’t mean Puerto Iguazu is free of crime. In fact, we witnessed the presence of armed security guards at the visitor centers of both sides of the falls as well as at the hotels.
So our advice would be to stay vigilant about minimizing your chances of being victimized.
That means you’ll probably want to conceal your money in a body pouch beneath your clothes to minimize your chances of being seen with money. It’s also probably not wise to be wearing signs of wealth like jewelry or fancy clothes (what do you need them for anyways while on holday?).
In addition to crime, another aspect of safety we had to worry about was that of not being sick. In fact, if you don’t trust their tap water, you can go for bottled water (though I really hate the environmental impacts of single-use plastics). We had been advised to drink carbonated water (agua con gas), which is less likely to harbor bacteria.
Personally, I don’t like the taste of carbonated water. Flat bottled water (agua sin gas) is not considered as safe, but it’s better than unbottled water since pathogens can exist in freshwater streams in the rainforests of South America.
Then again, if you had access to fire or some kind of stove or heater, you could also boil water before drinking or brushing your teeth.
Around Iguazu Falls (also known as the Triple Frontier Region), generally the Argentina peso, the Brazilian real, and the United States dollar were all accepted on our trip in 2007.
If you’re in Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, I understand that they’ll take the US Dollar or Brazilian Real.
In Argentina, the currency is the peso. For various economic and political reasons, the value of the peso collapsed in 2002. However, it had been recovering during our trip and I understand it will continue to recover. Even with the rising stability of the currency, we noticed that things were certainly cheap as far as the strength of the US dollar at the time we made our visit.
As of late 2007, the exchange rate with the US Dollar was roughly 3 persos to 1 US dollar. We were told by our operator representative/guide that sometimes Brazilians stay on the Argentina side of Iguazu Falls because it’s cheaper for them.
Finally, if you spend money in cash on the Argentina side and don’t have exact change, then you will get chance in the Argentina peso.
In Brazil, the currency is the real. Around Brazil, foreign currency is not accepted except for the immediate area around Iguassu Falls. As of late 2007, the exchange rate with the US Dollar was roughly 2 reals to 1 US dollar.
It’s generally more expensive in Brazil than Argentina since the real is stronger than the peso. And we experienced this firsthand, but when you spend money in cash and it’s not exact change on the Brazil side, then you will get the change in the Braziian real.
The US dollar is mostly accepted in the immediate Triple Frontier area (around Iguazu Falls). It is also accepted at the Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’m not sure about the Sao Paolo Airport in Brazil since we did not go through there.
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