Iguazu Falls is situated on the border of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Each country has it’s own border town which is serviced by its own airport, giving the area the unique advantage of having 3 international airports located so close to each other.
The border towns and airports situated in the Iguazu area include:
The below map will allow you to better understand the spatial relationships between the airports, cities and Iguazu Falls entrances.
The major motivator for the visitor to arrive to one of the above airports is obviously to visit the amazing Iguazu Falls! From each airport you can be at the Iguazu Falls within 30 minutes and each border time has their own accommodation, restaurants and other attractions to fit with most budgets, so which should you choose to fly into? Well there are a number of things you should consider including:
Obviously the cost of a flight will be your biggest determinant of which city you will fly into. Keep in mind that domestic flights will be cheaper, and if you will already be in Argentina it makes sense to fly into Puerto Iguazu, and the same goes if you will be in Brazil and Paraguay then the border cities in each is often the best choice. But also note that each of these airports have international flights arriving from other countries. Check-out each airport page on this website to see what airlines service each airport and also from where you can fly-in from.
Entry visa requirements for each country may also determine the cost arriving into each country. If you require a visa then also count into the equation of how long it would take to obtain the documents, because for some countries no visa is granted on arrival while others such as the EU countries are issued tourist visas at all the airports. It is best to check before purchasing your flight whether your country of citizenship requires you to obtain a visa before arrival.
The actual Iguazu falls are located literally on the border of Brazil and Argentina, with the international border sharing views of the falls, so these are obviously the closest airports for accessing the falls. Both the Foz do Iguacu and Puerto Iguazu airport are located quite close to the national park entrances that host the falls in their respective countries and you can be at there within 15 minutes drive from the time you exit the falls, however the Foz do Iguacu airport has more hotels and attractions nearby. Foz do Iguacu also features the city center a shorter distance to the airport and also feature a public bus which departs regularly to the falls and the center.
Paraguay does not have direct access for viewing the falls, making crossing at least one border required to visit the Iguazu Falls. Brazil would be the closest side to Paraguay because of a large bridge connecting Ciudad del Este to Foz do Iguacu. There is a small barge connecting Ciudad del Este to Puerto Iguazu which is fine and novel if you have time, but using local transport between the two countries is difficult and taxis using this service would not be cheap. From Paraguay it is probably best to access the Argentine side of the falls via land transport which first has to cross into Brazil and then crosses the bridge to Argentina. There is a bus that travels between Ciudade del Este and Puerto Iguazu which travels through Brazil but does not require you to stamp into Brazil.
If you are wondering which country has the better side for viewing the falls, then this is often up to the individual and the best advice is to see it from both sides to make up your own mind. If you have to choose just one side then you can note that the entrance costs are similar, but the Brazil side has the better panoramic views with less walking involved; while the Argentine side gets you closer to the falls and has many more trails through the area’s beautiful rain forest with more contact with nature and wildlife. It is also worthwhile to note that the border crossing between Argentina and Brazil is not located close to the falls and driving between the two would take around 40 minutes, but add to that the time it takes to complete border procedures which can be delayed if there is traffic.
In relation to timing of a visit, once you are inside the national park, you can see the Brazil side in less than 3 hours, while on the other side of the border you’ll find navigating the main trails takes upwards of 6 hours. Best to think of Brazil as a half-day trip, and Argentina as a full day, but also remember that outside the entrance on the Brazil side there are other attractions which will fill another couple of hours but are not included in the Iguazu Falls entrance price. There is a good bird park featuring the endemic birds and a few other animals of the Iguazu area, and also just outside the park there is the possibility of taking a helicopter ride over the falls. While both sides feature the possibility of taking a boat ride under the falls, it is fair to say the Argentine side provides a better experience by getting you so close to the falls you have to prepare for getting a soaking.