Long-distance buses have long been the friends of backpackers and low-budget travelers. It’s a simple concept: board the bus at night, sleep (hopefully) until morning, and hop off at your new destination. The main advantage of traveling by bus is the cheaper cost. The drawbacks? The time and those horrible, uncomfortable seats. Fortunately, long-distance bus travel is a very common form of Argentina transportation, and most buses are equipped with comfortable seats, similar to first class airplane seats. So if you’ve got time to spare and you’re looking to keep your Argentina trip budget in check, why not take a bus to Iguazu Falls?
It’s true that the distance is long…18 hours long, to be exact. And while the flight from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu is only two hours, the bus isn’t a bad option at all if you have a more flexible schedule. Argentina has a good reputation for their long-distance buses as they’re comfortable, quiet, and provide you with meals. I’ve taken 20-hour bus rides in other countries where they don’t offer you anything to eat or drink: not even a bottle of water.
In Argentina, the long-distance buses are usually double-deckers, with plenty of personal space. Not only is personal space no problem, but the seats are also huge, plush and comfortable, and sometimes you’ll find a pillow and blanket waiting for you atop your seat. You can put all your stuff under your seat or in the overhead compartment. Another nice touch is that depending on the length of your journey and the company, you will often have food and drinks included in the price of your ticket.
Although the ride is quite pleasant, it’s still highly recommended you make sure to get a first class seat, a cama ejecutiva in Spanish. This is an extra large seat that reclines almost all the way.
Since this is an 18-hour drive, you’ll need something to do on your bus to Iguazu Falls other than sleep. Fortunately, most buses are equipped with screens, so you’ll have entertainment throughout the trip. You can also enjoy the landscape as you drive over more than 1200 km in Argentina. Some buses even offer WiFi aboard but don’t feel shy to talk to the person next to you either. Practice that Spanish! If you’re feeling restless, you can walk around freely in the bus. And yes, there is also a toilet on board.
Dinner is served on a typical Argentine schedule, around 9 or 9:30 pm. Food is similar to what you are typically served on flights, with reasonable quality and portions. Beverages are usually water and sodas, and after dinner, you’re offered tea and coffee. On some buses, there is even free wine, and just in case the wine wasn’t enough, the personnel comes around after the lights go off to offer free whiskey or champagne to everyone on board. What budget-conscious traveler could ask for more?
The bus to Iguazu Falls is very smooth. Hopefully, you’ve slept away the rest of your trip and are about to arrive at your final destination. In the morning, breakfast will be ready for you before you arrive, and hopefully, you arrive well rested to enjoy the incredible splendor of Iguazu Falls!
In general, people are very content taking long-distance buses in Argentina and are willing to do it again. If you are looking to save some cash while traveling and have some time to spare, the bus to Iguazu Falls is definitely the right choice for you.
Adapted from an article written for Say Hueque by Marcel Hulleman