Getting to Brazil side of Iguazu Falls without a visa

Brazil side of Iguaza. Over here, it is called Iguassu Cataratas. The falls here seemly look more photogenic than the Argentina side, but the view is much further.At the Argentina side, the falls are right in your face so close you could feel the adrenalin of the intense water force. The whole place is constantly covered in mist and light showers. You would be drenched if you are not wearing a rain poncho.

Finally after a 24hour bus journey from Salta, I am in Iguazu, Argentina. Always wanted to visit the spectacular Iguazu falls after watching that frustratingly romantic gay film by Wong Kar Wai. “Happy together” starred the late legendary Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Chang Chen. Tango never been so sad and heart breaking after that scene. Maybe at the falls, I shall play Cucurrucucu Paloma as a homage to Leslie.

When I crossed the border to visit the Brazil side of Iguazu Falls, got stopped at customs when the tourist bus I took to visit the Cataratas decided to stop at the border between Argentina and Brazil, the bus driver gathered everyone’s passports and was insistant that I and another travel companion who technically needed a Brazillian tourist visa, get our passport processed at the customs office. Quite bummer, the silly bus ticket cost around ARS$45. Unofficially, the local buses do not stop at customs, and most of the time the Brazilian customs keep a very relax attitude towards one day visits without visas.

The Brazillian Customs officer was friendly, smilingly, advise me to head back to Argentina. Adamantly, I walked away from the border, and carried on walking towards the bus stop that took me to the Cataratas. My travel companion who was not used to travelling the way I do, freaked out  and wanted to turn back most of the way to  the bus stop. With some false reassurance from me, my hapless travel companion with great fear he would be thrown into a crappy Brazilian prison, decided to stay on after I cajoled him into waiting for the public Bus to Cataratas. He had probably watched a fair bit of the cheezy Banged up Abroad documentary, turning into a god fearing law abiding citizen. How could I blame him! I must admit his frantic panic did throw me off a few times.

I had no clue if we were to have any issues at the customs when we return to Argentina. I knew the public buses ferries the locals between the borders for work daily without stopping at the customs. It would have been a pity for my law abiding travel companion to turn back after walking 20 minutes to the bus stop. I would have continued on the public bus without him, we had walked 2KM away from the Customs border anyways.

And so I took the public bus right to the doorsteps of the Iguazu National Park. Saw the incredible Brazil Iguazu falls, frankly it was much more photogenic here than at the Argentina side.

So there I was! Technically in Brazil without a passport entry, returned to Argentina via the public bus without any border check whatsoever. No one checked, or bothered to even stop us. The public bus stopped at the customs to let off a pair of tourist and continued on to Argentina!

The Argentina side of the Cataratas was like being in the action. The devil’s throat falls was one of the most spectacular experiences in my life. Being right at the magnificant falls gave me an adrenalin rush and I could feel the energy of the waters all over. One of the places you definately have to visit before you die. The place is simply awesome and puts a great prospective of nature’s force right in your face.

Argentina side of the falls -San Martin Island borders between Brazil and Argentina

Iguazu Falls in Argentina side- Devils Throat : Garganta del Diablo, the most spectacular falls in the world. You could feel the adrenalin of the nature’s force while you are right near the edge of the falls. One of the best highlights of my entire trip in South America.

Iguazu Falls view of San Martin Island – Argentina Side:  Rainbows are everywhere at the falls. Small, big, doubles, halfs, the colors are just brilliant

The waters are so intense, the whole area is perpetually covered in mist and waterdrops.

4 responses to “Getting to Brazil side of Iguazu Falls without a visa

  1. Both the Brazilian or the Argentinian side of the Falls are amazing. Something that I have never seen before, it is a unique feeling and a sight of sore eyes scenery. For those who love adventurous tourism, parachute jumping can be a great alternative to enjoy the stay in Foz do Iguassu. Here: there are tips of tandem jump in Foz do Iguassu, it’s worth it!

  2. Hi! Thanks for the great advice on seeing Iguazu Falls! I just returned from a trip with two friends. First, the Falls are SPECTACULAR! I have also been to Angel Falls, Victoria Falls (ok, and Niagara), and Iguazu is the Best!
    And, yes – you do want to take in both the Brazil and Argentinian sides! The Brazil side gives you a great perspective/panorama of the Falls, while the Argentina side gets you up close to them. As for the visa issue, we easily found a taxi driver who took us across the border (twice) without any problem – and visa. While the hotels won’t encourage going without a visa, talk to taxi drivers at the airport and make a friend that knows how to easily cross the border. Enjoy!!

  3. Wow, I am so not sure if I would be brave enough to cross the boarder to brazil without a Visa. But it’s definitely one way to do it… for those with courage of steel like you. We went to the Falls on the Argentine side today, was good to read your blog and see the pics of all the great views we saw in person. Will probably be writing about it on my blog soon too.

  4. What a brave girl you are to cross borders without valid visas and even braver to return the same way through the same check post!!! At the most you would have had an experience of a lifetime to see the insides of a Brazilian prison!!! Beautiful pics of the falls, they hit you right in the face!!!

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