transportation to, from and within Foz do Iguaçu

Traveling to Foz do Iguaçu is quite a simple task from either Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.  After about two hours on a TAM Brazilian Airlines flight, we peered out of our window and were simply stunned by the impeccably lush and invigorating bird’s eye view of the Southern Brazil rainforest jungle!

After touching down at the pleasantly clean international airport of Foz do Iguaçu, we easily maneuvered a taxi and were soon whisked off to our accommodations.  Little did we know that the Recanto Park Hotel was probably the furthest from the airport - and the town’s main attraction of Parque Nacional do Iguaçu.  We must have passed 30 other hotels and resorts before finally reaching our destination on the complete other side of the city!  Of course this meant that we had to travel back through the city and out near the airport to see the National Park the following day!  Argggghhh!

To save some Brazilian reals, we took the cheaper (and more adventuresome?) route via the local bus system on our way to the park.  The trip into the city took FOREVER and was uncomfortably crowded.  After a rather long layover in town, we switched buses for the one that would take us directly to the gate of the waterfalls.  (You would think there would be more buses to the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu than simply one per hour!  We guessed everyone else had taken a taxi, which is exactly what we did on the way back.)

The city of Foz do Iguaçu is not necessarily attractive.  If at all possible, use your best Portuguese and ask your taxi cab driver to take the more scenic route to bypass the cluttered town center altogether.  (Of course, if you are staying in town, this may not be possible.)  The driver that picked us up outside of the Parque das Aves charged us only R$20 (about USD $13) and returned us back to our hotel much quicker, and via a picturesque backroads path that won’t soon be forgotten!

Upon leaving Foz do Iguaçu we once again requested a driver from the concierge of our hotel.  Funnily enough, due to our travel plans, we had to take a cab across the border from Brazil into Argentina so we could get to the airport for our flight to our next destination of Buenos Aires.  This journey took a lot longer than we anticipated, particularly the segment beyond the Argentinean border.  At one point along the incredibly scenic drive, we became a bit concerned that we would make out flight.  Still, our cab driver assured us that we would have no problem reaching the airport in time! 

Once we finally got to the airport of Puerto Iguazú, we were happy that we had negotiated a flat fare before starting out in Brazil!  From the front windows of the airport on the Argentinean side we could still see, albeit in the distance, the majestic upspray from the amazing waterfalls we had viewed just days prior! 

a visit to Paraguay?

Foz do Iguaçu sits at the convergence of three countries, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.  I suppose we had acknowledged that fact on a map before visiting, but it did not really hit us until we touched down in Foz do Iguaçu.  Why?  Well, perhaps it had something to do with the incessant billboard signs that lure visitors over the border from one kilometer to the next!  Since our next destination was to be Buenos Aires in Argentina, we pondered if it might be possible to visit Paraguay for our second full free day while in town.  Your “Set of Drifters” always are up for a little adventure, and eager to take in the vibe of another country while “stranded” so many miles away from home. 

A quick query at the front desk of our hotel changed our mind.  The concierge told us that it simply would not be a good idea... since we were Americans!  Apparently, there was some anti-American sentiment going on at the time and a tourist had been shot there even the day before!  Yikes.  The concierge further added that, although they do promote day-trips to the nearby town of Ciudad del Este, there really is not much to see other than stretches of souvenir shops, malls and a few restaurants, none of them noteworthy (Pizza Hut anyone?). 

We hear a better, safer international side trip to tackle is via boat from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, the capital city of Montevideo.  Unfortunately, we were unable to make this jaunt while in town visiting Buenos Aires due to some stomach issues contracted while in Foz do Iguaçu (see "goodies"!)