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Getting from Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls (and return)

Rio de Janeiro is an iconic Brazilian city and a transportation hub in the country. It is famous for the samba, Carnaval, football (soccer) and beaches.

Iguazu Falls is one of the great natural wonders in the world. No visit to Brazil is complete without experiencing this superb waterfall.

Access to the falls is done through one of the tri-border cities:

  • Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil
  • Puerto Iguazu in Argentina
  • Ciudad del Este in Paraguay

Quick summary

Since you are already in Brazil, it’s cheaper and easier to get to Foz de Iguacu. If you have limited vacation time, consider flying. There aren’t many airlines connecting the two cities, so fares are a bit on the pricy side. Still, it surely beats paying almost the same and spending 23 h in a bus.

Flights from Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls

Rio de Janeiro is the biggest transportation hub in Brazil and is served by two airports:

  • Galeão International Airport (GIG), which handles all international flights and some domestic ones
  • Santos Dumont Airport (SDU), which handles only domestic flights

Both Foz do Iguaçu (Brazil) and Puerto Iguazu (Argentina) have nearby airports. There are two airlines offering flights from Rio – Galeao to Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU): Gol Airlines and Webjet. A single adult ticket starts at US177 on TAM (flight time: 2h). Return adult flights start at US$272.

You can also fly from Rio – Galeao into Cataratas del Iguazú International Airport (IGR) on Aerolineas Argentinas. Single adult tickets start at US$221 (flight time: 2 h), while return fares start at US$327.

>>read more about Flights to Rio de Janeiro

Buses from Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls

Pluma runs a direct service from Rio de Janeiro to Foz do Iguaçu. There are two departures per day: at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The travel time is 23 h and the adult single ticket is about US$123.

Once in Foz de Iguacu you need to take a bus to the visitor’s centre at the national park entrance. There are buses every half hour departing from the bus terminal. The flat fare is about US$2 one way. The travel time is 40 min.

Driving from Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls

It’s a known fact that hardly anyone recommends renting a car and driving in Brazil. But, taking a road trip to get to Iguazu Falls can be an interesting adventure. The shortest route to Foz de Iguacu is 1470 km and it takes about 18 hours to get there. So make sure to stop during the night along the route and continue the next day.

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