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I'll be travelling from Europe to Brazil (Rio). I would like to use this opportunity and see the Water Plant of Itaipu and the Waterfalls of Iguazú as a part of this visit.

Now, if it were in Europe or the US, I would fly to the nearest airport (in this case it's IGU) early in the morning, rent a car there, visit the two sites, get back to the airport and fly back. Possibly, I would spend a night somewhere near to make it less stressful.

However, I have never been to Latin America, I have never driven a car there, I have never crossed country boundaries 4 times in a day (Bra--Arg--Bra--Par--Bra).

So, what are my options and how difficult is this going to be? Especially, my questions are:

  1. How difficult is it to rent a car at Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) and drive it for the ~100 km in the three states?
  2. As a Czech/EU national, can I easily do the journey? (Concerning car rental, driving license, visas, ...)
  3. How much can you actually see of the Itaipú dam and of the Iguazú waterfalls? Are there any entrance fees?
  4. Will I manage things with zero knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese? (The closes I speak is French.)
  5. Or, are there travel agencies that offer this combo as a sightseeing tour?

Any help is appreciated!

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    I did Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls and back in one day. It required a bit of energy but I didn't feel rushed (but it is quite normal for me to move around, I have three long haul flights coming up in the next five days and I consider this a relaxing weekend). I didn't cross any international borders and didn't rent a car. On the Argentinian side, English was more than sufficient for navigating the area. The park entrance fee was 300 ARS. If you're interested, take a look at my trip report of the experience: flyertalk.com/forum/trip-reports/… – Calchas Mar 28 '18 at 11:07
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I made exactly this trip in 2013 (except from São Paulo and not Rio). I didn't find I needed a car: fly to Foz do Iguaçu, get bus 120 (or a taxi) to the centre of town.

There is a website devoted to tourism at the Itaipu dam. Plenty of tour operators in town will sell you a tour, but you can also buy tickets online there with a credit card. I took the Circuito Especial which shows the dam inside (including a view of the control room and the turbines) and out, where you can see the run-off channels). You can get there from Foz do Iguaçu by public transport as well: the Conjunto C Norte or Conjunto C Sul lines take half an hour.

It's also only a short bus ride to the Iguaçu Falls: take the bus with Nacional Iguaçu to the end of the line (30 mins or so). This thread gives some more advice about crossing to Argentina if that's what you want to do (I didn't, myself). The short version is that you'll need Argentinian pesos for the entrance fee and can't get them there.

I speak no Spanish or Portuguese and had no problems. You'll be fine.

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    The dam receives a lot of tourists and they are well prepared to give you a tour, you will ride in a bus with a guide. There are some options and the longest can take a few hours. I don't advice travelling 18 hours (~1.500km) unles you really love to drive long distances. Crossing 4 boundaries can be done in less than 30 min if you are in a rush =). I did this trip once and at the hotel negotiated with a taxi driver fo the whole day (not that expensive) and he toke me to all places, give us advice where to eat, shop, etc. Take to plan, there a lot to do here beyound the dam and the falls – jean Mar 28 '18 at 19:01
  • So just to make sure: You saw the waterfalls from the Brazilian riverbank? – yo' Mar 28 '18 at 22:01
  • @yo' Yes, Ironic the best view is from Brazil looking to falls in the Argentine side =). Both sides haves it parks and places and you can visit both in the same day. Also take a time to do tour by boat, lots of fun – jean Apr 6 '18 at 19:46

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