I’ve spent the last month taking in the sites in Buenos Aires, and am now starting to make plans for viewing a few sites outside of the city. The first location I’m probably going to visit is Iguazu Falls. If you are planning a trip to Iguazu Falls, then this post is for you.
Iguazu Falls is a massive set of cascading waterfalls right on the border between Argentina and Brazil. People who have seen them say it’s one of the most impressive natural wonders in the world, and it’s something I’ve been anxiously awaiting for since I found out about them approximately six months ago.
There are two ways to get to Iguaza Falls from Buenos Aires, by bus or by plane. Unlike North American busses, busses here are very comfortable and posh, often containing DVD players, hot meals, champagne, and the ability to put your seat all the way back and actually get some sleep. The bus ride to Iguazu is probably close to 18 hours or so, so it’s a long trip. But one of the benefits is that you get to take in the scenario of the country while you travel. The cost of one way bus ticket is around 420 pesos, or around $105 CAD.
The other option is to take a plane from Buenos Aires. Since it’s a domestic flight, it generally leaves from Buenos Aires’ secondary airport, and the one that’s actually pretty close to where I live. The flight time is around 1 hour and 45 minutes, and it’s on LAN airlines, which is one of the more widely known airlines down in these parts. The cost for a round trip ticket is about $390 CAD right now, so almost double the cost of the bus.
More on transportation later.
The one glitch for the whole visit is that Brazil requires Canadian and US Citizens to have a visa to visit the Brazilian side of the falls. Unfortunately they do not give these visas out at the border, so you must apply for them, either before hand in your home country, down at the embassy in Buenos Aires (which is rumoured to be a multi-day pain in the ass), or at the consulate in Puerto Iguazu (which supposedly gives out visas on the same day). The cost for the visa is around $150 CAD.
While I would like to visit the Brazilian side of the falls, I’m not entirely sure I want to drop $150 just to cross the border for 30 minutes. In addition, I would basically have to arrive in Puerto Iguazu early in the morning to apply for the visa, and sit around waiting until it was ready (since they take your passport from you while they are processing it).
Right now I’m thinking I’ll probably go from Friday the 18th of February until Sunday the 20th. Other than the falls, there isn’t much to do in Puerto Iguazu, so most people say to get in and get out fairly quickly. I may attempt to get a Brazilian visa here in Buenos Aires, but if not, I’m content with seeing only the Argentina side (which contain most of the falls, but doesn’t have as nice of a panorama view as Brazil).
People keep asking me if I’m going to be hosteling it when I start bouncing around a bit more. Truthfully, probably not. My only experience with a hostel was in New York City, and it was a relatively poor experience. The night before I arrived someone broke into the room I was staying in and stole a pile of things. Plus, I was crammed into a room with nine other people, and it was a pretty restless sleep due to people moving around and going in and out late at night.
I won’t rule it out for some destinations, but for the most part I’ll probably be using hotels for most of my trips away. In fact, I’ve already been scoping out some decent hotels in Iguazu, and am quite looking forward to a nice comfy hotel bed and possibly even a pool or hot tub for an evening. The one I’m probably going to book at is the Hotel Saint George, since a few other expats have recommended it, and it has 4.2 out of 5 stars for it’s reviews (some of the highest in Iguazu).
I’ll probably toss around a few more ideas, but I’m anxious to book the trip so I have something to look forward to over the next few weeks.