Sun yourself on the man-made beaches of Itaipu Dam, get up close to toucans and howler monkeys, and take a hike through lush jungle to Iguaçu Falls, one of the world’s largest waterfalls. The proximity of the falls and surrounding National Park is the main attraction of Foz do Iguazu, which sits on the border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Iguaçu Falls and National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will discover the habitat of Black Howler Monkeys, endangered Amazon parrots, river-dwelling caiman and Giant Otters.
Intrepid adventurers can abseil down the Iguaçu Canyon for an unforgettable view of the falls. Reward your efforts with a traditional Brazillian lunch at a restaurant overlooking the falls, complete with a view of misty rainbows thrown up by the thundering water.
For any wildlife you’ve missed out on seeing on your hikes through Iguaçu National Park, you’re guaranteed a close up encounter at the Parque das Aves (Bird Park) right by the Park entrance, and at the Bosque Guarani Zoo back in the city. At the Parque das Aves you can step into the aviaries with iconic Toucans and Macaws, just two of more than 150 bird species at this park.
The city of Iguaçu itself is built at the meeting point of the Parana River and the Iguaça Rivers, and is laid out in a grid. The two main streets, Brazil Avenue and Jorge Schimmelpfeng Avenue offer retail therapy, hotels, nightclubs, sidewalk bars and cafes. There is also a nearby lake formed by the Itaipu Dam on the Parana River, which features several man-made white sand beaches. It’s a popular spot for picnics, as well as swimming, cycling and canoeing.
Public transport in Foz do Iguaçu is run by four private bus companies, so prices and timetables vary. If you’re planning a day around the city it can be less confusing to simply hire a private minivan or join a city tour. If you’re crossing into Argentina or Paraguay, even for a day trip, it’s important to make sure you have the right visas, which can be arranged 24 hours in advance.