The Ultimate 2 or 3 Day Guide For Iguazu Falls and the 3 Frontiers

If you’re planning on heading to Iguazu Falls anytime, then you’ve come to the right spot. You can learn from what I did wrong, and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes and maximize the time you have there.

The Iguazu Falls are located on the border of Argentina and Brazil, and are comprised of a series of approximately 275 waterfalls that stretch for nearly 3 kilometers. The falls are situated within the Iguazu National Park, which covers an area of approximately 550 square kilometers and is home to a diverse array of wildlife and plant species. The cities surrounding Iguazu share a tri-border land frontier between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. The falls themselves are split between Argentinian Puerto Iguazu and the Brazilian Foz Do Iguacu and located not far away are the Monday Falls in Paraguay’s Ciudad Del Este. I will outline the best way to maximize 3 days or 2 days if you’re in a real hurry.

Day 1

We arrived in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina at around 3p.m. so we didn’t want to rush to the falls with all our bags and get their right before the park closed its doors at 4p.m. The bus from the airport to the centro of Puerto Iguazu is the same bus that also drops people off at the Iguazu Falls, Argentinian side. So we hopped on the bus and paid the driver and made our way to the centro. It was odd, all of the bus seats were wrapped in plastic, like they were brand new. Puerto Iguazu is very small and there is not much else to do except view the 3 borders viewpoint, and the falls.

When we arrived to the centro, we walked over to a few hostels but most of them were fully booked. In Argentina it’s always best to book hostels in cash because the official exchange rate on credit cards is almost double the price. This style of booking hostels is risky though because you risk the chance of having nowhere to stay. We kept walking until we found Steve’s House which is coincidentally a block away from the bus terminal, and very convenient for when you need to grab your stuff before hopping on a bus to Brazil.

Steve’s house was perfect. The dorms had private lockers, and the room had air conditioning and hot showers and clean bathrooms. The staff also also really nice and held our bags for us the next day when we went to the falls.

After we dropped our bags off we headed straight to the Hito Tres Fronteras, which is the Argentinian viewpoint of the 3-frontiers. The walk is about 30 minutes and is along the coast, and is quite scenic. When you get to the border there is not much to do except sit down and relax and take some pictures. There are also some vendors selling souvenirs.

After this we walked back to the hostel and grabbed some dinner before heading to bed. Unbeknownst to me, it would be my last meal in Argentina, and was an average Parilla. Puerto Iguazu is more expensive than other Argentinian cities, but a barbecue for 2 and bottle of wine with a salad cost us around $30USD. After we ate we headed back to the hostel to get some sleep. We wanted to make sure we got on the first bus to the Argentinian falls before it got crowded.

Day 2 – Argentinian Iguazu Falls

Map of the Argentinian Iguazu Falls featuring the Devil's throat and various other points of interest.

The next morning we woke up super early and quickly showered and “packed” the few things we had taken out of our bags the night before. We left our bags with the clerk at the desk and made sure to get our key deposit back. The staff were avilable very early in the morning which was very helpful. Steve’s House was perfect for the quick 12 hours we spent there and if I ever went back to Puerto Iguazu, I’d stay there again.

Across the street from the bus station there is a convenience store and a bakery. The bakery is awesome because it serves Portuguese/Brazilian style pastries and Argentinian/Italian style pastries. The coffee and the pastries were fairly priced. We grabbed snacks and water from the convenience store next door and made our way to the bus terminal to get the 7a.m. bus to the Falls. The falls were absolutely incredible and it’s true what they say that the Argentinian side is much bigger than the Brazilian side. The Argentinian side had much more flexibility in what you were allowed to do and you could go deep inside the falls to take amazing close-up photographs. Unfortunately it started pouring and they closed the Devils Throat section of the falls, which was one of the areas I wanted to see most.

Even though we arrived really early, it was absolutely packed. There were so many tourists as it was a weekend, but still this didn’t deter from the experience and it was entirely worth it. Now remember when I said that you could do the Iguazu Falls in 2 days if you were in a hurry? Well, because the Devil’s Throat area was closed that day, we had a lot of extra time. We did the whole Argentinian side in an unrushed 3 hours. With the Devil’s Throat, it would have been approximately 4-4.5 hours.

In addition to the walkways and viewing platforms, there are also several visitor centers and interpretive facilities located throughout the park that provide information about the history, ecology, and culture of the region. These facilities are designed to blend in with the natural surroundings and minimize their impact on the environment. In addition to the various buildings, lighthouses, and paved walkways, there is also a fully functioning train that takes you around the park. Fortunately it’s included in the price of the entry fee. It’s a really cool experience and you can see some amazing wildlife, insects and over 320 species of birds, including the plush-crested Jay below!

When we left the Falls, we were absolutely drenched. Getting back on the bus was easy and it picked us up at the same spot it dropped us off. We showed the driver our wet soggy piece of paper with ink smudges and luckily he accepted it as proof of payment. When we sat down on the bus it made sense to me why the seats were all wrapped in plastic, because it’s definitely a common affair for people to board the bus dripping wet.

Image of me absolutely soaked by the torrential rain that we experienced on the Iguazu Falls hike.

When we got to the bus station, I asked the staff if it was possible to get dropped off directly at the Brazilian Foz Do Iguacu and luckily it was possible because there wouldn’t have been enough time to get to the hostel in Brazil, drop off my bags, and then go all the way back to the Brazilian side of the falls which is closer to the Argentinian border crossing. The Brazilian side of the falls has storage lockers and since the Brazilian side is much shorter, there is not much of a risk of not having a space to store your bags.

I ran back to Steve’s House hostel and grabbed my bags and made my way to the next bus. Luckily the busses come quickly and the bus station is tiny so there is minimal risk of getting lost or missing your bus.

Important Note: When you get on the bus, make sure to tell the bus driver that you need to get your passport stamped if you don’t plan on going back to Argentina. Otherwise, this can cause you problems later when trying to leave Brazil! There are two stops that the bus driver makes, one for your notice of departure to the Argentinian authorities, and then another for your notice of entry to the Brazilian authorities. Luckily I had all my documents in order because the line behind me was long, and everyone on the bus were locals except me and had to wait for me to get my documents stamped.

Day 2.5 – Brazilian Iguazu Falls

Hotel das Cataratas, A Belmond Hotel, located at the entrance to the waterfalls. This beautiful pink building is complimented by a vintage Volkswagen Minibus van.

Hotel das Cataratas, A Belmond Hotel, located at the entrance to the waterfalls.

Once I arrived at the falls, the lockers were right past the entrance, after you paid on the digital ticket machines. I was able to hop on the free shuttle bus that takes you down the fifteen minute drive to the Brazilian entrance to the falls. There weren’t a lot of people when I got there because I arrived quite late, but it worked out perfectly because by then the rain had passed and the sun was out, and the Brazilian side of the falls has much more picturesque views. On the Brazilian side, it’s about an hour hike down a guided pathway of different viewpoints of all the different falls, which gave me more than enough time before the park closed for the evening.

The different viewpoints are incredible and fortunately the Devil’s Throat on the Brazilian side was fully open and for the second time that day, I got absolutely drenched. The platform takes you right in the heart of the biggest part of the falls and the water is crashing down hard and fast, and the mist is enough to make you feel like you just showered. This was the coolest experience I’ve had in a waterfall anywhere in the world and much better than Niagara Falls, which was just deemed the biggest tourist trap in the world, rightfully so.

View of the muddy waters of the Argentinian Iguazu Falls view. You really get deep into the heart of the falls.

After I spent some time in there taking photos, I wanted to make sure my phone didn’t get damaged and headed up towards the final viewpoint. You’re about 3 feet from another loud and powerful part of the falls but this time it’s not spraying you with mist, but is truly beautiful.

Photograph of how misty the Devil's Throat section of the Brazilian Foz Do Iguacu can get with a beautiful view of how large the falls really are.

After this, I had had about enough waterfalls for one day and headed back to the busses to take me to the park entrance. This was when things got a little tricky. Since I had just arrived to Brazil and didn’t have enough time to stop off at an ATM to get cash, it was very difficult to get a ride to the hostel. I ultimately had to settle on taking an Uber, which was inexpensive, but I later found out the busses take Pesos, and Brazilian Real.

The Hostel I decided on was called Pousada El Shaddai. It was very reasonably priced at about $20USD for a private room with 2 beds. I ended up dropping off my bags and showering before heading to the Brazilian Marco das Três Fronteiras. This was the Brazilian viewpoint of the 3 frontiers, and I was digusted to find out on arrival, that the view was blocked entirely by an area that costs around $20USD to enter. Truly disgraceful, but luckily at the time of writing this, they are just about ready to open a free pedestrian bridge right over top that will hopefully save future theft-victims money and dignity.

Since I was already there, I figured that I would pay because in all likelihood I would never return and I wanted to share the photos with everyone. In the end it ended up being a nice experience. There were live performers and fairly priced restaurants and snack bars. There was also a gift shop, but the receipt for what I paid was the only haunting memory I needed. I ended up taking my time and watching the sunset there, having some Caiprinhas before heading back to the hostel.

After the day I had I was so happy that I had a private room and private shower and was happy that I wouldn’t be disturbed until morning.

Day 3 – Ciudad Del Este & Monday Falls

View of Paraguay and the Ciudad Del Este from Foz Do Iguacu in Brazil on the walk between the two countries.

Anyways like I said, it was possible to do the falls in 2 days but what most travellers don’t know or often hear about is that Paraguay has it’s own set of waterfalls and they are small but stunning. If you’re not interested then you can skip this next part but if you want to find out more, I highly recommend it. That morning I woke up early and made sure to take advantage of the hostel’s free breakfast, and I’m glad I did. They offered a full buffet of vegetables, fruits, sandwiches, pastries, breads and meats and cheeses. This was enough to hold me off for most of the afternoon.

After breakfast I walked over to the bus terminal which was only 3 blocks away, and waited for the bus that said Ciudad Del Este. Luckily the bus driver spoke Spanish and accepted Brazilian Real both going and returning as I didn’t want to waste time finding a bank in Paraguay and learning about their currency. Crossing the border into Ciudad Del Este was like crossing into another time period. The roads were dirt and the traffic was insane. It was much different than Foz Do Iguacu and Puerto Iguazu but overall a a really cool experience. This time passing over the border was easy because I didn’t need to worry about a passport stamp because I was planning on heading back to Argentina in a few hours. When I got to the bus station, I had a difficult time finding which bus would take me to the Monday Falls, but luckily my cell phone plan with Claro worked in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Paraguay, so I was able to look up the exchange rate and order an Uber. The uber was about half an hour and because I had a flight that night I didn’t want to get on the wrong bus and end up getting lost.

Ciudad Del Este is very big compared to the two other border cities. Luckily I was able to order an Uber to the Monday Falls because it was farther than expected and not really surrounded by anything. When I got there, it was totally empty except for a few staff. The falls are much smaller and can be completed in under an hour. I paid an extra few dollars and it included an elevator ride down to the falls. This was a bit of a cash grab but it was totally worth it. The falls were not as immense as either of the two views of Iguazu Falls but were downright beautiful in their own nature and I’m very happy I had visited. By that point I was ready to take TLC’s advise and avoid waterfalls for the next little while, because two full days of waterfalls were enough for one person.

After I finished up there, I was fortunate enough to have service and ordered another Uber to the Hito 3 Fronteras – Paraguay. This was the most desolate and boring of the 3 but I am really happy I visited. Seeing three of the same views from different perspectives was so cool, and like I said earlier, the bridge connecting Brazil and Paraguay right by the 3 frontiers viewpoint is near completion. I will update this when it’s completed but it will hopefully add some life to the Monday Falls and the Paraguay viewpoint.

Important Note: There was very little cell phone service and ordering Uber was difficult at the Paraguay viewpoint and luckily I took down my drivers number and he picked me up. He accepted Brazilian Real.

I highly recommend not skipping out on this part of the Iguazu Falls experience.


My favorite part of the trip was definitely the Brazilian side of the falls. It was quick, easy, and absolutely stunning. It really is also much more picturesque because you can see all of the falls. I was happy I did the Argentinian side and it seems that my perspective is controversial because every other blog and review I read, placed the Argentinian as the better option. Maybe if it wasn’t pouring rain when I was there, my opinion would match everyone elses.

The Argentinian side is arguably more adventurous and natural than the Brazilian side but overall, if you only have a short time and had to choose between the two and wanted the better photo-op than the Brazilian side is definitely for you. If you want the adventurous aspect through the trees and nature then the Argentinian side is better.

Both options have pre-paved paths and walkways already laid out for you, so they are both not as adventurous as one would hope but they are truly incredible in their own ways. If you can go to both, and bonus if you can visit the Monday Falls in Paraguay, definitely don’t skip out on that opportunity.

Also seeing the same 3-border point from 3 different countries was also really cool, and I’m excited for the bridge to be completed so that others can experience it cheaper and easier. I will monitor this blog and update it when it’s finally open!

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