GUIDE TO CROSSING THE BORDER: BRAZIL & ARGENTINA

Don’t let Google Maps fool you–  it might say it takes as little as 25 minutes to get between Puerto Iguazú and Foz do Iguaçu, but with two immigration stops, you can expect it to take between 1 and 3 hours.

To make the border crossing, you can take a transfer, taxi, or public bus.

Transfer

Transfers will pick you up directly from your hotel and drop you off at the airport, national park, or your next hotel.  This is the most expensive, but also safest and most convenient option, as they’ll help you with your bags and wait for you at immigration, unlike taking the public bus. Transfers can be booked online here, or through your hotel.

Cost: R $200 ($52 USD) or more depending on your pick up and drop off location

Taxi

Taxis are another convenient option, and are normally cheaper than a transfer, especially if you’re splitting costs amongst a group of 2 or 3. Make sure to agree on price with the driver before getting in or expect to be charged double!

Cost: R $50 ($13 USD) and can be higher if traffic is a problem

Public Bus

For backpackers on a budget, public bus is by far the cheapest option, and the one I chose. This was the first border crossing of my trip, and the most confusing. At other border crossings, I was always on a long-haul coach bus and everyone was required to get off at immigration, therefore eliminating any confusion. But, the buses between Puerto Iguazú and Foz do Iguaçu are local buses, and locals are not required to go through immigration, so as a tourist you have to be aware of when to get off.

The two immigration offices are located a few kilometers apart, so you’ll have to get on and off the bus twice– buses wait on the Argentinian side but not on the Brazilian side. If there is a long line at the Argentinian office and the bus leaves, you can just hop on the next one as drivers don’t check tickets.

Once you get your passport stamped at Brazilian immigration, you can catch the next passing bus, meaning you’ll have to pay a second time (fares are about R $5 each), or you can wait to catch a bus from the same company you originally took. When you pay the fare, make sure the driver gives you a receipt. You can use this to get back on with the same company without having to pay again; however, the average wait time between buses from the same company is around 40 minutes, so I just opted to pay twice and save myself time waiting around in the rain.

Cost: R $5-10 ($1.3-2.6 USD).

Visas

Argentina

As of July 2018, it’s completely free to enter Argentina and no visa is required for citizens of the US, Canada, England or European Union. That’s right, fellow US citizens– the $160 USD Argentinean reciprocity fee is no longer required as of March, 2016. Click here for the most up-to-date list of visa requirements.

Brazil

As of January 2018, citizens of the US, Canada, and Australia are required to get a visa and they have two options: eVisa or traditional visa.

eVisas are much cheaper ($40 USD) than traditional visas ($160 USD), and both are valid for stays up to 90 days. eVisas can be completed online, and are normally processed within one week. However, I have heard of people having issues with their online application, so don’t wait until the last minute.

Not only is a traditional visa 4 times the price of the eVisa, but the application process is much more complicated. The process usually takes at least one month and must be done in your home country, and involves physically mailing your passport, along with a ton of other documents, to your nearest Brazilian consulate. They didn’t start accepting eVisas until right before I went to Brazil, so I had to go with a traditional visa, and it was one of the biggest headaches of planning my trip.

As of July 2018, visas are not required for citizens of the European Union.

Planning to cross the border just for the day?

Technically, tourists are required to get their passport stamped in both countries, even if they only plan to visit for a few hours and return the same day. But, acting like a local by simply not getting off the bus is a “thingpeople do. It does save a considerable amount of time.

Sometimes agents will board the bus to check passports, but no one checked when I made the trip, so it’s up to you if you want to take the risk.

falls31

 

2 Replies to “GUIDE TO CROSSING THE BORDER: BRAZIL & ARGENTINA”

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