If you need a few days to visit Argentina, in about 17 hours, from the capital, Buenos Aires, to the wild tip of the Iguaçu Falls, which you share with Brazil, you will encounter a great diversity and rich culture.
Of course it is faster and easier to get there by plane, but you will miss the opportunity to explore Argentina’s common identity with Uruguay and Brazil and discover the unique relationship of mutual love and hate between neighboring countries.
The drive from Buenos Aires to Iguaçu Falls requires at least 17 hours of clean driving time before the resting places are taken into account. Temperatures will continue to rise and the trees will get higher the further north you go in the rainforest.
Read on to find out how you can make your trip easier, get an idea of what to expect and even get some ideas about where you’ll be staying until you reach your destination.
How far is Buenos Aires from the Iguassu Falls and how long does it take to get there?
To get from the centre of Buenos Aires to the waterfalls of Iguaçu, you have to travel 1300 km, which takes at least 17 hours to cross four provinces.
If you are travelling with someone who can be behind the wheel in a few hours, you can make a long journey to Posada on the first day, which takes about 12 hours.
You can stay in a hotel, which is much more pleasant than the possibilities offered by the motorway, and spend some time exploring the city.
If you travel alone, you probably need at least three days. If you take breaks, eat and refuel, you’re still on the road 7 hours a day.
Don’t forget, however, that the reason for the trip is not to come as soon as possible.
Get out of the car and take a break on the long journey to the Iguazo Falls, from where you have a beautiful view of the Parana River.
There is so much to do on the road that you’ll want to take the time to do a few days sightseeing and soak up the local culture instead of sitting in the car all the time.
Whether you’re returning to Buenos Aires or going somewhere else, there’s more than enough for two trips along the way.
Best routes by car from Buenos Aires to Iguassu Falls
There are two main roads from Buenos Aires to the Iguaçu Falls. The quickest and most direct route runs directly along the Uruguayan border and takes about 17 hours, while the slowest route leads to Santa Fe and goes up the Paraná river instead.
|1,330 km||5:00 p.m.|
|Parana River Route
(via Rosario and Santa Fe)
|1,680 km||10:00 p.m.|
Motorway (along the borders of Uruguay and Brazil)
Take the direction of Buenos Aires on route 9 in the direction of Campana. Leave the noise of the capital behind you and turn off on Route 12, which leads north towards Zarate.
From there you want to follow the Uruguay River, which also forms the international border between Argentina and Uruguay.
At the intersection of Cheibas, take Highway 14 towards Gualeguaycha, a town known as one of the most festive in the country.
You’ll notice that some arid landscapes are getting greener and greener – this area is called Entre Rios, which means something like between two rivers, and you’ll start to notice small streams and tributaries along the way, as well as the passage of larger parts of the Uruguay River.
After about 24 hours driving on Highway 14 (yes – it takes a while to get to the top), you have to turn off at Posadas, a border town on the river Paraná that separates Argentina from Paraguay.
From there, route 12 runs north along the Paraná river to the meeting point between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay at the Iguaçu Falls.
Cultural route along the Parana river
If a 17 hour journey seems too easy, or if you want to spend more time on the road, stop in interesting cities and discover the Argentine culture, this is the route for you. You will still be on the road for about 5 hours, so plan at least one extra day of travel.
Instead of taking Highway 12, you will want to take Highway 9 to Rosario, Argentina’s second largest city.
Enjoy this picturesque view of the bustling city of Rosario on an excursion to the Iguazo Falls.
From there, a short drive on the motorway will take you to Santa Fe, the dynamic capital of the province.
From Santa Fe you must follow the Paraná river up to the Iguaçu Falls – on both banks go north to Corrientes, and from there follow the Paraguayan border up to Posadas and then follow the same route 12 up to the Iguaçu Falls as the faster route described above.
Best ports of call between Buenos Aires and Iguassu Falls
A 24 hour journey with breaks for gas, food and toilets is a long way and as I said before you really want to stop along the way to interrupt your trip and find time to explore the culture, food and sights of Argentina.
Many other luxury hotels in Argentina are located in the places most visited by tourists – in the wine regions of Mendoza, Patagonia and the foothills of the Andes, but also in Buenos Aires itself. So there aren’t many really great hotel options, but here are the ones that really stand out.
Spa-break in the middle of the disc
Listen to your favourite song while enjoying the beauty of the banks of Highway 14.
If you take the direct route almost halfway through the Iguaçu Falls and arrive about an hour before the junction of Highway 14 and Route 127, this is an ideal place to stop.
The Dinastie Palace Hotel & Spa in Chajari will help you relax and refresh if you plan to stay in the 2. or if you want to spend the whole day relaxing and rested.
Absorption in thermal baths, spas, swimming pools or massages are on the menu, and many other hotels in the town offer special buffets to lure travellers to the stops.
The truth is that the Dinastie Palace won’t be the strangest spa hotel you’ve ever stayed at, but it’s a great option in a great location if you want to hurry to Iguaçu Falls.
Discover nature from the luxurious hotel
Not far from both roads and in the middle of the Esteros del Ibera wetlands lies the luxury hotel Rincón del Socorro.
The original building was built in 1896 in a traditional Spanish style. Today, the spacious rooms make it possible to stay longer.
Enjoy the rustic wooden furniture, organic food served at the restaurant and explore the surrounding area, including a guided night safari.
A holiday among the wonders of nature is what you get at Esteros del Ibera.
Best accommodation in Puerto Iguaçu
In Puerto Iguaçu there are dozens of hotels fighting for tourists from all over the world.
If you want to avoid the large community hotels with casinos and more people and instead relax in the middle of a mini rainforest, you can stay at Secret Garden Iguazu.
Judging by its name, the Hôtel de Charme has a garden with various species of birds, orchids and ferns. You can order breakfast or a simple candlelit dinner. They want to help. You will also receive the free Kaipirinya at sunset.
While everyone else is looking for riders to take them to and from the falls, the hotel can arrange all your transfers.
Guided tour on a trip from Buenos Aires to the Iguassu Falls
As you head north on the road from Buenos Aires to the Iguaçu Falls, you will notice that everything, from the landscape to the weather, is changing rapidly around you. The further you go, the more nature you see when you go into the rainforest.
So that you can stop and enjoy the journey, here are some amazing things to do and see along the way.
- Counts: One of the largest and most extensive zoos in Latin America, known for its great care for animals when you leave Buenos Aires.
- Gualeguaychu: The carnival city, where more than 200,000 people gather every year in January and February to celebrate.
- Afternoon: A place of healing for one, a great spa for the other. Anyway, it’s beautiful and relaxing.
- Santa Fe: A historic city by the river with a relaxed coffee culture that does not attract tourists, which is a plus in our books.
- El Palmar National Park: A unique nature reserve with a variety of bird species and palm trees.
- Compliance: A huge city with many historical sites that tell the important history of the country as a whole.
- La Aleman area: A city where you feel teleported to Germany, in the heart of Argentina.
- Las Marias Foundation: Learn all you need to know about mate, Argentina’s traditional national drink.
- Iberian National Park: large swamps and lakes with footpaths and the possibility to see native otters
- Supply: Popular city located on the Paraná river, with Paraguay on the other side.
- Mini-ruins of San Ignacio: Ruins of a 17th century Catholic mission with a visitor centre on the road to the Iguaçu Falls
- Cruz de Santa Ana: A large metal cross rises above the forest, with an observation platform and a separate butterfly garden.
- Triple faceplate: Right next to the Iguaçu Falls it is easy to reach from Argentina to Paraguay and Brazil via the rivers that serve as a border.
It goes without saying that this comfortable late evening view in the Parque Nacional El Palmar will make you turn the wheel in the right direction.
as sabre L/Shutterstock.com
Best time to leave Buenos Aires for Iguassu Falls
The best time to travel from Buenos Aires to the Iguaçu Falls is in April and May, when the summer heat is over and the weather is much more pleasant when you go into the rainforest.
There is enough rain to make the waterfalls flow, but it is also dry enough to enjoy the exploration, unlike the rainy season that lasts from October to February.
Rest assured that many people will come, as the Iguaçu Falls are considered one of the 7 wonders of the world and attract visitors from all over the world.
Try to bridge the obvious holiday period (e.g. June to August) when North American and European tourists come by car.
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