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Updated 2019: I had been in Paraty for a few days which is really nice historic town with a few beaches 5 hours south of Rio, I knew when I had roughly planned my trip that Iguaza falls would be my last stop in Brazil as from there it’s easy to get into Argentina.
I got a 6 hour bus from Paraty to São Paulo which I had to pre book myself at the bus station in Paraty (luckily I met a Brazilian girl who translated for me otherwise it would have been really difficult), this bus cost $53BRS/ £13 so very reasonable, I then booked a bus online from São Paulo to Foz do Iguacu which took 15 hours overnight and cost $189BRS/ £47 so a bit pricey.
São Paulo bus station was quite strange, I had read it’s a bit like an airport terminal which it is but more like an airport terminal based in a high rise concrete car park and with no air con!! I checked in with the company when I arrived (Pluma) and I was able to put my bag away at a cost. I had a 6 hour wait at the station, I could have got the metro into the city but I didn’t want to be rushing and didn’t know where to go so I stayed in the station and the time passed fairly quickly.
I was pleased with both the buses, it was mainly Brazilians on the bus and it felt really safe, the seats reclined really far (like the furthest I’ve ever been on!) and they had a good system whereby by put a sticker on your bag with a number and gave you that other half so when you collected it off the bus the driver could check they matched so all in all the 27 hour journey wasn’t really that bad! (Which is good because it’s the first of many in South America!) And of course the plus to an overnight bus.. No accommodation cost that night!
I arrived in Foz do Iguacu (Brazilian side of the falls) at 11.30am the next day, I stayed in the Che Lagarto hostel (a chain of hostels around South America) which was a really nice hostel.
I got up the next day and went to the Brazilian side of the falls which took from 9.00am-2.30pm door to door.
That afternoon I then took a public bus to Puerto Iguazu in Argentina. The bus stopped just outside my hostel and cost $4BRS/£1 (bargain for a border crossing!). I met someone who said it took them 3 hours to do the crossing but it only took me 1 hour from being picked up to being dropped off at Puerto Iguazu station which included a stop to get my passport stamped. Again I heard that sometimes the driver doesn’t wait but mine did, maybe because it was later on on Sunday afternoon. Note that there’s a time difference between the 2 towns so you actually gain an hour going into Argentina from Brazil which helps fit everything in in the one day!
Anyway I arrived at my hostel in Puerto Iguaza with no stress and was ready to get up the next day to go to falls! (Also in another post)
When it came to leaving Puerto Iguaza I knew I wanted to go to Buenos Aires next which involves a 20 hour bus journey. I tried to book a ticket online but it was being awkward so instead I went to one of the many companies in Puerto Iguazu bus station, most of which were the companies I saw online and booked the bus with them- Cruceo del Norte.
I booked a ‘Cami’ seat which I was really pleased with when I got on the bus and just got more and more impressed with as the journey went on! It was basically like being in business class on an aeroplane but on a coach, so really big seats which reclined back really far. We also got meals and drinks served on the bus including alcohol, it started off which being offered whisky (which I declined) then wine and then after dinner a glass of champagne! I also noted that I was a vegetarian and got a vegetarian dinner which was a huge plus and we left and arrived on time totalling 20 hours.
Related Post: Top Tips on How to Survive Bus Travel in South America!
For this bus I paid $1144 ARS/£87 so pretty expensive! The semi cama (so just a normal reclining seat with no service) was only £10 cheaper though and I checked out many companies but they were all charging the same! I had seen posts online who mention getting a bus for less but it’s high season now so I think that’s why and the buses were booking up quickly.
To be honest I doubt I’d ever get an experience travelling on a coach like this like this outside of Argentina again and because I was happy with it and the journey was very pleasant it makes me feel better about the cost. Hopefully this will be the most expensive bus journey while in South America though!!