I will attempt to cover a multitude of different things in this tip about transportation to and around the National Park and its Waterfalls:
1. Personal vehicles, unless you are staying overnight at the hotel, have been banned for use inside the park since 2001. Instead, no matter what vehicle you arrive in, it most likely will have to stay outside the park. At the visitors center at the entrance to the park, you will transfer to park owned buses that operate reasonably frequently from the park entrance to several stops along the way to the main viewpoint at the falls.
2. The park entrance has a parking lot for tour buses as well as for personal vehicles. There is no parking fee for the park, and the vast majority of visitors arrive in tour buses.
3. There is a city bus that operates through downtown Foz do Iguacu (the nearest city to the national park) and the park entrance. The current fare is R$2.20. It is bus route number 120. From the park entrance you must transfer to one of the park buses, after paying the entrance fee. The city bus from downtown runs reasonably often and also operates during hours that the park is not open - because it also serves the city of Foz do Iguaçu airport and a few other important locations vital to the city. If you arrive by air, it is possible to take this bus directly to the National Park, though I highly recommend instead getting your luggage to your hotel first.
4. Once you arrive at the Iguaçu National Park entrance and pay your entry fee, you are then able to board the various buses that connect the major tourist stops inside the park. The first set of buses purchased for this service were double deck buses, with the top floor being open to the air and the lower level being enclosed and air conditioned. A second fleet of buses that are more standard city buses (long articulated) and not open to the air at all was purchased, and these appear to be the more frequently used today.
Stops on this bus route through the park are:
+ Visitor Center and Main Park Entrance
+ Park Office - the buses only stop here if there are park employees or family that need to get off or on the bus.
+ Poço Preto Trail Stop - this is a trail through the forest that requires additional fees to use. There are also some rafting trips that leave from here.
+ Macuco Safari Stop - trail to up river area for some rafting and boat trips, and trail to lower part of river for other rafting and boat trips. These require an extra fee separate from the park entrance fee.
+ Path of the Falls Stop - this is where about 95% of the passengers will get off the bus, and start on the trail with viewpoints of the falls. This is also where you can take a look at the Hotel das Cataratas. There are also zip lines and a few other activities here for the more adventurous, or those willing to pay a bunch of money.
+ Porto Canoas Station - this is the end of the bus route, as well as the end of the falls trail. This is where 95% of the people will get on the bus going back to the visitor's center and park entrance.
Bus frequency inside the park depends on the number of visitors. Generally speaking, at a minimum the buses operate once every 20 minutes, but they will operate more buses if more people are in the park.
Web sites that may be of Assistance:
Foz do Iguaçu City Bus Services: (FozTrans) (100% Portuguese)
After the flash media stuff is overwith, you need to select "Prefeitura Municipal" from the bottom menu. A new page will open, and from the left size you will need to select "Foztrans". In the new window that opens, the left side has a section called "Transporte Coletivo" - this is the section that features information on the public bus system.
Park Web Site:
When you are looking to visit the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, you have two good options in terms of flights. The first is to fly into the Brazilian side, or the second option is to fly into the Argentinian side. The decision of which to fly into will likely be determined on where you are starting and ending your trip. If you are flying through Buenos Aires, you will likely end up landing on the Argentinian side, but if most of your itinerary is Brazilian based you can go with the Brazil airport. One factor to keep into consideration is if you are coming from the US, you will have to get a Brazilian visa to land at this airport, but if you enter Argentina you will not have to worry about this.
Overall, this is a very easy airport to navigate, as it is a very small place with just a few gates. We were treated to a band when we first arrived, and entered through just one small gate. There are two airlines that land here, TAM and GOL, both Brazilian regional airlines.
The park ticket allows you to use the bus of the park as much as you want, stopping at the 5 different stops:
Poco Preto Trail (for 9km treck through jungle),
Macuco Safari (for jeep safari),
Bananeiras Trail (for 2km path and boat ride),
Campo de Desafios (for rafting, climbing etc),
Hotel Tropical das Cataratas (for 1.5km path for great views of the falls).
Most of the visitors go is the last one, in front of Cataratas hotel. From there you start walking on the path and at the end of it, after going up with the elevator you will find the bus waiting for you to take you back.
The bus has great view from the top floor. The audio guide announces the stops and some basic info about the park in Spanish, portoguse and eglish.
If you want to fly to Rio or elsewhere you have to go to the international airport of Foz do Iguzu is easily reached from Foz do Iguacu by taxi (faster) or local bus (cheaper). From Puerto Iguazu is better by taxi because by bus you have to go first to Foz do Iguacu and then take the bus to the airport.
Before endering the park you will notice a helicopter! With 200pesos(40euros) you can fly over the park and have an amazing view of the falls! You cant do this on the argentinian side (they don’t want to disturb the animals) so if you have the money here’s your chance! :) The flight ride is almost 15’
I noticed that many people like to take the boat that runs close to some falls. There are boats like that in both parks but I didn’t use them because you get wet and I although I’m not made of sugar I didn’t want to risk my camera equipment…
The buses are really cheap but the taxis are also cheap comparing to European prices. There are a lot of them everywhere, outside the hotels, next to special taxi stands etc I stayed at Puerto Iguazu and I used taxi only the first day when I wanted to go fast to the brazilian side without loosing time for changing buses
You can find the local bus for the park at terminal bus (terminal Urbana) on Av. Juscelino Kubitschek. The are 3 buses per hour and the ticket costs 3pesos(0.60euro). The bus from Puerto Iguazu(3 per hour) costs 4pesos and takes you to Foz do Iguacu where you change bus for the one to the park.
Most of the traffic inside the park are the new double decker buses that were instituted to cut down on the number of vehicles inside the park, cutting down on noise, auto emissions and increasing the wildlife viewing for guests. The buses carry park visitors to the major sites within the park, there's a map marked with numbers that tells you what activities are at which stop. The bus is included in the price of admission and you will want to use it to get around as the park is quite large.
Try to get a seat up on the top open air deck for the best viewing.
The least expensive way to get to the Parque and to visit the Falls is by public bus. The bus leaves from Foz de Iguacu and goes up Av. Catarates where many of the luxury hotels are located. We picked up the bus across the street from our resort, the Mabu Foz, and the cost was R$1.85 (90 cents) each. The bus ride was about 25 -30 minutes, this is the same route that goes to the airport. Buses run every 20 minutes.
You board the bus and pay the woman seated about 1/3 of the way down the bus, she can make change, we even saw her take US cash but it's always best to have exact change. After paying go through the turnstile.
To pick the bus back up to get back into town, we just waited under the shelter where they dropped us off, the bus dropping passengers off will come by, wait until the bus turns around to get on.
You can also take a taxi to get to/from the Falls, when we inquired how much when we were leaving, the driver said it would be 30 reals (about $15 US). There was a bus coming in 10 minutes so we just waited.
There were several drivers waiting outside the entrance to the park.
There are double-decker buses that take you from the Visitors Centre entrance to the waterfalls and vice versa. The top deck is open air where you feel the rush of air as the buses are quite speedy. There is no extra charge for the bus. It's included with the purchase of your park admission ticket.
The parques on both sides of the Rio Iguacu have installed modern and sturdy catwalks to allow you to get a close-up look at the action. This is a really great idea because you can experience the spray up-close and also stand on the very edge as the water makes it's plunge into the gorge. Even though these things are made out of steel and concrete, when this river gets serious it can do damage! The remnants of an earlier catwalk are still visible if you visit the Argentine-side. It was destroyed during very high water levels in 1992 and it's replacement has only just recently gone into service.
Our first excursion to the Brazil-side of the Iguazu River was due to a mix-up with the Tour operator as we were picked up from our Argentina-side hotel in Puerto Iguazu. However, we finally got that sorted out (see my 'Foz do Iguazu' page for the details!) and ended up back in Brazil again on our second day for the actual Iguacu Falls tour.
This time, we were picked up by a small Cuenca vehicle, taken through border customs (no hassles) and then placed aboard a large tour bus that was full of people and waiting for us. It was not a long drive to reach the entrance of Parque do Iguacu, where we disembarked to pay for our entrance.
Inside the park, we boarded another bus, this one a double decker with an open-roof upper deck. It was 26 deg C and cloudy this morning, so the ride was refreshing as this bus took us further into the park to the luxury hotel. From there, we walked along the Brazilian-side trail overlooking Iguacu Falls, with the bus waiting for us at the far end of the trail when we had finished our 1.5 hour walk.
Be aware that there are two airports adjacent to the park. One on the Argentinian side, and one on the Brazilian side. They are about 1 hour apart, by car. Also be aware that they are in different time zones.
I was meeting up with some friends who flew in from Rio, when I came from Buenos Aires. We didn't realize there were two airports, so we missed each other for a little while. Also note the time difference, we thought our flights were coming in about the same time, but they were more than 1 hour apart due to the time difference.
I got my tickets from BA to Iguazu via expedia, probably not the cheapest way, but I was in a hurry. There are several Argentine airlines that fly to Iguazu, and likewise, there are several Brazilian airlines that fly to Iguacu.
A great option to see the National Park is watching it from the air... Helisul is the company that organizes the helicopter tours.
This was my first time, and I can assure you it is amazing!!!
A short flight (about 12 minutes) coasts 60 dollars; the heliport is situated at Rodovia das Cataratas, Km 16,5.
Una excelente opción para ver el Parque Nacional es observarlo desde el aire... Helisul es la empresa que realiza los viajes en helicóptero.
Esta fue mi primera vez, y les puedo asegurar que es impresionante!!!
Un vuelo corto (alrededor de 12 minutos) cuesta 60 dólares; el helipuerto se encuentra en Rodovia das Cataratas, Km 16,5.