A Guide to Travelling from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu

cama seat argentina el rapido

Photo credit; (http://thebalife.blogspot.com.ar)

If you come to Argentina (or Brazil) and you don’t visit the Iguazu Falls you’d be missing out in my opinion. Yes it is touristy and yes there will be lots of other people there, but sometimes a place is popular for a reason. After spending 3 days in Iguazu recently I can see exactly why. The place is stunning.

Puerto Iguazu also happens to be one of the most popular stop overs between Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro in what would otherwise be a 40 hour journey by bus. However, with popularity comes much competition when it comes to companies wanting to take you that route and so travellers often have a hard time deciding which is the best mode of transport or best company to travel with on the route to Iguazu. Should they pay more and take the flight? Will the bus be comfortable enough for an 18 hour journey? Is it cheaper to travel with certain bus companies? Will purchasing a bus pass for Argentina save them money on this particular trip? Do they serve food on board the bus?

Having travelled (a few days ago) up to Puerto Iguazu from Buenos Aires I have some tips based on my own experience taking this route that will hopefully help you should you want make this journey too at some point;

Bus is cheaper and surprisingly more comfortable!

It’s probably of no surprise that travelling long distance by bus in South America is cheaper than travelling by plane (they don’t have budget flights here like they do in Europe.) However, what was a surprise for me on this journey was how comfortable the seats were, particularly the ‘cama’ seats (cama means bed in Spanish, although these seats are technically not beds.) It’s worth paying the extra 100 pesos (£10 / $17 / €12.50) for the upgrade from ‘semi-cama’ to ‘cama’ as you will get an extra wide/further reclining chair. There’s also a larger foot rest and you’ll (usually) find food served on board. Without any word of exaggeration, travelling long distance by bus in Argentina has so far been much more comfortable than doing the same in Europe. This was not something I expected, so it was a nice surprise on my Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu journey. The whole experience actually made me wonder why Megabus, a British bus company I wrote about previously in regards to their bed on a bus service, don’t adopt something similar to the South American style of seating. It would be much easier to get in and out of than the current limbo style entry you need to get in and out a Megabus bed!

Which bus company is cheapest?

If you want to check long distance bus times and prices for travel in Argentina I recommend using this site – www.plataforma10.com. It was recommended to me by the receptionist at my Buenos Aires hostel and has so far served me well. I believe you can actually book your tickets via this site but even just as a basic price guide it is good.

Should you buy a bus pass for Argentina?

I decided to buy what is called the ‘South Pass’ in Argentina for travelling around the country. With my particular pass you get 5 journeys in Argentina for $368 or €273 as a youth under 30 years of age (prices are only listed in Euros or US Dollars.) For the full price guide you can view the South Pass website at http://www.argentinabybus.com/en/rates.php.

So does the South Pass save you money?

The South Pass only saves you money if you are travelling long distances across Argentina. For example, if you buy a 5 journey pass like I did as a traveller under 30 (on the youth pass) then when you buy the South Pass you have essentially pre-bought 5 journeys for around 428 ARS (£45 /$72 /€53 ) each.

On my journey from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu the cheapest I could find this journey independently (without the pass) was for 657 ARS (£70 / $112 / €83), so that’s already a saving of 229 ARS (£25 / $40 / €30) on that particular journey. If you make 4 other journeys like this then you will definitely have saved a lot of money on your travels through Argentina and/or some neighbouring countries. This does not include the fact that I got a free upgrade to the ‘cama’ seat using my South Pass (because there was some still available when I made the reservation). This means I actually saved an extra 100 pesos that I would have had to pay if I had booked independently without a pass.

With all that said though the pass is much more suited to those who prefer to plan their travels a bit head. For example, you need to make your reservations on the South Pass website at least 24 hours a head of time to ensure you can get a seat (you can’t just rock up to the bus station on the day.) In order to have a chance of the better ‘cama’ seats I’d also advise booking at least 2 weeks in advance for your journey.

The South Pass is the kind of pass that suits travellers who want to see a lot of Argentina (i.e. cover long distances) and who like planning a head a bit. You need to know where you’re going before you buy the pass to make sure you get the most value for money out of it.

How much does the flight cost from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu?

As I mentioned briefly above, Argentina does not have cheap flights like we do in Europe. The main reason for this is due to a lack of competition. There are only 2 commercial airlines available to you on the Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu route. These are Aerolineas Argentina and LAN. The lowest price I could find (one-way) booked a week or two in advance was 1460 ARS (£156/ $250 / €184) – notably more expensive that travelling the same route by bus, but also notably quicker at just 1 hour 50 minutes flight time. If you have the budget for it then by all means book the flight, but in my personal opinion the buses in Argentina are definitely comfortable enough for long distance travel. The country is huge so they are more adapt at it I think than smaller European countries.

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7 Responses to “A Guide to Travelling from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu”

  1. Mark says:

    Informative article! It’s funny how we assume in Europe and North America that we are more advanced than the rest of the world in everything only to be shown different many times!

  2. Rebecca says:

    wow I just googled Iguazu Falls and it looks mega unmissable! stunning!!! thanks for the informative article

  3. Hannah says:

    The Iguazu falls are breathtaking!I really want to visit Argentina and all of South America..but need about 2 months free time to go!

  4. Paul says:

    I travelled the South American buses in Ecuador and Peru and they were the most comfortable I’ve ever ridden, as well as the best deal. At the time the price was almost $1 an hour –if you were taking a 12-hour trip, the fare was $12. Later on I decided to fly from Mendoza to Buenos Aires and regretted it when I looked at the $200+ price tag.

    • Jane says:

      Hi Paul, it’s great to hear you had similar experiences in Ecuador in Peru. I’m going there soon on my travels around South America so I look forward to experiencing the buses there too. Good to know they’re so cheap too!

  5. Andy says:

    I have heard that Iguazu falls is really nice, however touristy it may be. Great tips for visiting it here, thanks for sharing.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] and thankfully they also know how to do long distance travel by bus very well, as I found out by surprise on my way from Buenos Aires to Iguazu recently. In that same article I also briefly wrote about the South Pass (www.argentinabybus.com) for […]


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