Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls: How to Get There

Traveling in South America can be a lot of fun. It is a place where you can find a little bit of everything. One of the best countries you can’t ignore when you are on this continent is, without a doubt, Brazil. This large country offers amazing beaches, modern cities, native towns, and some of the most amazing natural beauties of the world, like Iguazu Falls – all about this amazing fall that you can visit, I’m going to let you know how to go from Rio de Jainero to Iguazu falls and what you should see on your way.

It is such a large place that most people go from one place to the other by plane, but what most people don’t know is that through all of those long hours of driving you will find amazing views and fun places for pit stops, or stay overs. One of the best road trips through Brazil is the one that goes from Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls, a World Heritage site. Check out the following suggested itinerary.

From Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls By Car

Rio de Janeiro

Most people, when they decide to visit Brazil, immediately think of spending time at its second-largest city, Rio de Janeiro. It is well known around the world because of its carnival, nightlife, beaches, and tropical weather.

Discover Hidden Gems Between Rio de Janeiro and Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Phot by: Pedro Angelini

But there is much more to do and see in this colorful city. You can climb to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain to get an amazing view of the city and ocean, go for a boat ride on Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, or check out its museums and historic buildings such as churches. There are also parks and botanical gardens that you can enjoy, such as Parque do Flamengo.

Once you have taken in everything that Rio de Janeiro has to offer, buckle your seat belts because your driving time is of around 17 hours through BR-374 highway towards the famous waterfall. So try to leave as early in the morning as you can, or even better – stay a night or two in different spots along the way.

Optional midway stop: Because I know that it can be tiring to drive for that long, I would suggest spending a night in a place called Curitiba. It is almost half way. You will find it about 9 hours into your drive. In Curitiba you can spend the rest of your day exploring places such as its Botanical Garden and the Oscar Niemeyer Museum.

Jardim Botanico Curitiba in Brazil
Photo by: Leonardo Dasilva

Iguazu Falls

The next day you can hop in the car again and do the final six hours to Foz do Iguaçu, the nearest town to Iguazu Falls. It is the place where most visitors stay at and rest before actually seeing the waterfall.

Iguazu Falls in Brazil
Photo by: PROSF Brit

And that is exactly what I suggest. Spend what is left of your day exploring the place and going to attractions such as Parque das Aves (a Bird Park) and enjoy a tasty meal at one of its restaurants. The next day, with a lot of time and energy you can finally make your way to the famous waterfall.

Note – even if you’re staying on the Brazilian side of the falls, you can head over to the Argentinian side. The secret is, that Brazil has the most beautiful part of the falls, but they are better seen from the Argentine side.

Its platforms, trails and magnificent views will be waiting for you.

Last Updated on February 27, 2023

2 thoughts on “Rio de Janeiro to Iguazu Falls: How to Get There

  1. I’ve done this stretch three times and kept stopping in Paraty. I was on a night bus though so I slept through most of it. I remember part of that route being very wiggly as it followed the coastline!

  2. Wow, it sure is a long drive but the beautiful stops and views seem well worth it! Iguazu Falls would be amazing from any viewpoint. Thanks for the post!

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