My last stop in Brazil was Foç do Iguaçu, close to the Brazilian /Argentinian border. I was lucky to find (in advance) a very cheap flight Rio – Foç that saved me a bunch of endless hours by bus and a stopover in Sao Paulo that I did not feel like it.
Leaving Rio was more painful than I thought: in its chaotic airport I had to queue for one hour only to do the check in and luggage drop off. I was lucky that my taxi (Barrichello) driver took me to the airport in only 15minutes otherwise I would have lost my flight!
I won’t be gentle describing Foç do Iguaçu: it is an ugly city, built in the eighties while Itaipu Dam (the second biggest dam in the world) was under construction. Despite being a tourist place, the city does not have nice restaurants, shops or other amenities; it was a very boring place in that sense. The weather did not help either, with heavy rains since I arrived to the airport until late at night. Still, Foç is the place to go if you want to see the Iguaçu Falls and of course I did not want to leave Brazil without visiting the Iguaçu Falls!
The Iguaçu Falls are formed by 275 waterfalls, being 80% of them in Brazil and 20% in Argentina. It is possible to visit them from both sides: the Brazilian side is more quiet, with a panoramic view while the Argentinian side allows visitors to see them from three different levels.
On my first full day in Foç I visited the Brazilian side with Sarah, my roommate from Chicago. We were very lucky with the weather and could see the falls in all its splendor: they are so spectacular! I felt impressed and moved at the same time, it is one of the most beautiful natural sites I have ever seen.
The best part of the Waterfall Trail was the Devil’s Throat, a walkway to the middle of the river where Sarah and I had a taste of the waterfalls’ power (and our second shower of the day).
Rain protection is very important for visiting the waterfalls. I was OK with my rain trousers and rain cover but Sarah was not lucky wearing jeans so she had to leave the park quite early to change clothes. I decided to stay a couple of hours more and do the Water Trail in the opposite sense. The weather and light were better then so I stopped many times to take pictures of the waterfalls from every possible angle.
On the second day I visited the Argentinian side. I did it with an organized tour, a very interesting option because we did not need to change bus at the border plus our driver took care of all the visa formalities. Sarah stayed at Foç because the Argentinian visa for Americans was too expensive to use it for only one day.
The Argentinian side of the Waterfalls was a complete chaos: one hour lost at the Argentinian border control, overcrowded park (no limit of visitors per day), all the locals feeding the wild animals close to the panels strictly forbidding it, endless queue that did not move forward at the Devil’s Throat . . . I wished I had stayed with Sarah in the Brazilian side!
On this side I wanted also to take a boat to see the waterfalls from above but everything was booked for that day, too bad!. Anyway, we lost so much time at the border and at the Devil’s Throat that I don’t think we could have made it.
I spent my last full day in Foç visiting Parque das Aves, a kind of zoo for birds where visitors can walk inside the aviaries, allowing endless photo opportunities. I enjoyed especially the toucans and other rare, birds, difficult to spot in real life.
On the fourth day I left the city by bus, direction to Buenos Aires. End of my Brazilian trip.
My Tips :
Che Lagarto Foç de Iguaçu. The best shared room of all my World Tour, it looked like a hotel! Well located, excellent staff, excellent breakfast in the morning and daily free caipirinha in the evening.
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Quirky explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to help you plan your dream World Tour!