The guide for the Argentina and Brazil sides of the falls in one day
When possible, our recommendation is to first start with the Argentine side of Iguazu for the following reasons:
- Opens earlier than the Brazilian side allowing more time at both sides;
- The park is larger, takes longer and there is more involved when visiting the Argentine side:
- There are also some trails on the Argentine side that have less coverage from trees and therefore by doing them in the morning you avoid a lot of the direct heat from the afternoon sun.
The Argentine side of the falls opens at 08:00 am, and the Brazilian side of the falls closes its gates at 18:00 pm every day. To best achieve seeing both sides of the falls on the same day, you will want to be present at the entrance to the Argentine side right as it is opening.
Suggested timing for when starting the Argentine Side First
Here we have given you the timing for achieving an itinerary which allows you to see both sides of the falls on the same day when starting on the Argentine side of the falls. Below this schedule is the description of how to achieve this timeline.
08:00 – Enter Argentine Side park
08:15 – Depart Central Station (Estacion Central) on the first train
08:35 – Arrive Garganta Station (Estacion Garganta) and walk to Devils’s Throat
08:55 – Arrive at Devil’s Throat Look-out
09:40 – Depart Devil’s throat for the walk back to train station
10:00 – Take the train to Cataratas Station (Estacion Cataratas)
10:15 – Start Upper-Level Trail (Circuito Superior)
11:00 – Start Lower-Level Trail (Circuito Inferior)
12:00 – Take Lunch Break for 40 minutes
12:40 – Start heading back to the park’s entrance
13:00 – Depart Argentine park for Brazilian side
14/14:30 – Depending on border traffic, arrive at the entrance to Brazil side
Once inside the park take the bus to the Mirante Principal Hotel Cataratas stop
15:00 – Start the waterfall trail to Porto Canoas
17:30 – Take the bus from Porto Canoas back to the park entrance
18:00 – Depart Brazil side park at closing time
Recommended departure time from Brazilian hotels – if staying in Foz do Iguaçu then we would suggest departing your hotel at around 06:30/06:45 am with the aim to reach the entrance of the Argentine side of the falls by 07:45 am. This allows you time to purchase your entrance tickets and line up to be ready for the park opening at 08:00 am.
On the way to the falls, you first need to complete the immigration procedures for crossing into Argentina. With average traffic it usually takes about 40 minutes to stamp out of Brazil and then drive to the Argentine passport control where you stamp in; but by departing early as we suggest, it can be as quick as 20 minutes to complete the crossing due to there being less traffic at this time.
Recommended departure time from Argentine hotels – if staying in Puerto Iguazu, then we would suggest departing for the falls at 07:15 am to be at the entrance by 07:45 am so that you may purchase your tickets and join the queue to enter when the gates open at 08:00 am.
Itinerary for a same-day visit to both side of the falls
Starting Argentina Side / Finishing Brazilian Side
Here we have provided in-depth information so that you may achieve the above timeline. We would suggest the following itinerary to our own clients so that they maximize what they see on both sides
Once inside the park’s gate after it opens at 08:00 am, you would want to make sure you are on the first train departing for the Devil’s Throat (Garganta del Diablo). It takes about 5 minutes to walk to the Central Station (Estacion Central) from the entrance of the park, and the first train departs around 08:15 am, with the following departures every 30 minutes throughout the day. From the Central Station, the train travels about 20 minutes to the end of the line which is the Garganta del Diablo Station, which is your jumping-off point for visiting the Devil’s throat. From the train’s platform, it is roughly a 20-minute walk via a metal boardwalk to the viewing point of the Devil’s Throat where you will want to spend up to 40 minutes absorbing the amazing views and taking some amazing photos.
Start your walk back to the train station by 09:40 am to get a returning train around 10:00 am, but this time get off at the Cataratas Station (Estacion Cataratas). From this station, you access the other two recommended trails within the park, which are the Upper-level Trail (Circuito Superior) and the Lower-level Trail (Circuito Inferior). Start with the Upper-Level trail which is the shorter of the two, taking around 40 minutes to complete, and then walk the Lower-level trail which takes around an hour on average. The lower trail takes longer because there are more steps and locations you will want to stop to take photos.
Around 12 midday is the perfect time to take a 40-minute lunch break. Near the Cataratas Train station, and also near the entrance of the park, you will find Kiosks that serve fast food such as Empanadas, sandwiches or hotdogs, or there are also restaurants for quick sitdown meals such as fast steaks & salad; or take your own food with you and choose a nice spot for a break along the lower-level trail.
At 12:40 pm you will want to be making your way back to the entrance of the park so that you are departing and on your way to Brazil by 13:00 pm. There is bound to be more traffic at the border at this time of day, so after you complete the border procedures for exiting Argentina and entering Brazil, we would estimate your arrival to the entrance of the Brazilian Side of the Falls to be around 14:00/14:30 pm. The Brazil side of the falls is more straight forward than the Argentine, with only one main trail which gives you a great panoramic view across to the Argentine side allowing you to see the scope of just how big the falls are. Most people complete the Brazil side in around 2.5/3 hours.
Timing for the Brazil Side of the Falls
After collecting your Brazilian park entrance tickets, you then take a free bus from the entrance and you will drive about 20 minutes, getting off at the 3rd stop which is called the Mirante Principal Hotel Cataratas. Once on the bus, the stops are announced and you know you have arrived because your stop is in front of the big pink-colored historical hotel called the Hotel das Cataratas. Most of the other people on the bus will also be exiting with you at this point because in front of where you get off the bus is the start of the Cataratas Trail (Trilha das Cataratas) which is the principle trail that everyone walks.
Ideally, so that you are able to walk this trail at a leisurely pace, you will want to be starting it by 15:30 pm. There are viewpoints of the falls scattered along this 1.2 kilometers (.75 miles) path, and you will finally end up at the Devil’s Throat lookout (the Brazilian side has one too) where you will want to spend some time before you enter the elevator that takes you up to street level. Once out of the elevator it is a short walk to the Porto Canoas restaurant and snack bars, which is also the departing location of the buses returning to the park’s entrance. The last buses from Porto Canoas depart at 17:30 pm and they will have you back at the entrance by closing time at 18:00 pm.
If you are returning to a Brazilian hotel in downtown Foz do Iguaçu, then from the Brazilian side of the falls, your drive time will be a further 30 minutes, or if taking a flight from the Foz do Iguaçu (IGU) airport it is a quick 10-minute trip.
If you are returning to a Puerto Iguazu hotel in Argentina then you will need to cross the border again and make the required immigration stops along the way. If departing the park at 18:00 pm, we would estimate you will be at your Puerto Iguazu hotel between 19:00/19:30 pm, or if departing the same night fro the Puerto Iguazu (IGR) airport you will probably be there by 20:00 pm.