For the frugal traveller, visiting the Iguazu Falls is a bit of a head-scratcher in terms of booking hotels. There are only two hotels located within the national parks themselves – the Belmond in Brazil and the Melia in Argentina – and both run for upwards of $350 a night.
Those prices aren’t unreasonable given their unbeatable location on the steps of one of the “New Natural Seven Wonders of the World”, but were unfortunately out of my budget for this trip. Therefore, I had to look further afield for a place to stay in Foz do Iguaçu, the Brazilian city of just over 250,000 inhabitants that’s situated a 15-minute drive away from the falls.
(As a side note, the word "Foz" doesn't have anything to do with the "falls", like I had originally wondered. Instead, it's the Portuguese word for "mouth", as in the mouth of the Iguaçu River.)
Frustratingly, there weren’t any hotels that were bookable on points – to add insult to injury, the Melia property on the Argentine side of the falls used to be a Sheraton as recently as last year. Therefore, I ended up choosing the Wyndham Foz do Iguaçu – also known as the Wyndham Foz Golden Suites – out of little more than name recognition (the Wyndham Hotel Group also operates the Ramada, Travelodge, Days Inn, and many other brands). At a nightly rate of about $73, I wasn’t expecting anything more than a half-decent place to rest my head.
We arrived at Foz do Iguaçu International Airport at 5:30pm, and took the 120 bus in the direction of the city centre. Bus number 120 operates along the road between Foz do Iguaçu and the national park, stopping at the airport in both directions. Google Maps didn’t have any public transport directions for this corner of the world, so we used the Moovit app instead, which let us know the exact stop to get off the bus; from there, our hotel was only a few minutes’ walk away.
The Wyndham building, shaped like a ‘Y’ with three wings fanning out from a central column, dominates the city skyline.
Our check-in was processed swiftly by the English-speaking front desk staff, who advised us that we had been assigned Room 2110 and that breakfast was included each morning.
There was also a small lounging area and a lobby bar on the ground floor.
The hotel has three elevators – two within the building structure itself, and another one running alongside the exterior of the building that provides expansive views of Foz do Iguaçu.
We took the scenic elevator up to the 21st floor, admiring the peaceful skyline of this relatively small Brazilian city.
Upon arriving at our room, we were taken aback by its size. The front door opened up straight into the main space, which served as a living area and a bedroom with a queen bed and a small TV.
The living room features a small dining table setup as well as a makeshift minibar. Crucially, there was a microwave as well, which allowed us to easily heat up the occasional leftovers.
Then there was a hallway that led towards an actual bedroom, which had two twin beds, plus a wardrobe and another TV.
The bathroom was located to the side of the hallway and was pretty bare-bones.
The shower water pressure wasn’t great, and there were recurring interruptions to the hot water (although I don’t blame the hotel for that, since Brazil was experiencing a nationwide truckers’ strike during our visit, which crippled all sorts of essential services across the country).
It didn’t take long for us to realize that the hotel was actually an all-suite property, and that most of its guest rooms have enough occupancy for up to four people. That’s something I rarely see across my travels, and so even with the “Wyndham Golden Foz Suites” sign beaming outside, I simply hadn’t put two and two together.
Naturally, we didn’t end up using the second bedroom at all besides using the wardrobe to hang-dry some of our laundry, but I could definitely see this hotel being very suitable for families travelling together.
Simply by being clean and comfortable, our suite got all the basics right for its price range. What I did find lacking was a little bit of character – the place felt rather sterile and wasn’t somewhere you’d want to spend many of your waking hours – but at this price point, and with some stunning waterfalls right on your doorstep, it’s really not that big of a deal.
The breakfast is served in the hotel’s restaurant until 10am each morning, featuring the usual assortment of hot items, pastries, cold cuts, fruits, and beverages.
I particularly enjoyed the pão de queijo – Brazilian cheese bread and de facto national snack – which has been one of my favourite foods since I first visited Brazil back in 2014.
I would’ve liked to check out the hotel’s other facilities, but we ended up spending most of our time here in Foz do Iguaçu either at the falls themselves or walking around the city. For that reason, while I don’t have any pictures of the hotel’s fitness facilities or outdoor pool, I can tell you that there’s a great Chinese restaurant just around the corner from the Wyndham, and if you want to enjoy some cheap, authentic Brazilian dishes in a quaint artsy setting, by all means check out Empório com Arte Restaurant along the road leading towards the national park.
If you’re visiting Iguazu Falls, you’ll definitely want to consider the Belmond or the Melia, located on the Brazilian and Argentine park grounds respectively. However, while those hotels offer unmatched comfort and convenience, they do command a rather steep price, so budget-conscious travellers would do well to stay at the Wyndham Foz do Iguaçu.
While the hotel is on the whole quite unremarkable in just about every way, it offers exactly what’s expected of its price point, and the fact that most of its rooms are suites with occupancy for four people is a real bonus for those of you visiting the falls with your families. Furthermore, Foz do Iguaçu is a quiet and safe city with a handful of decent places to eat and shop, and the Wyndham's location in the city centre makes for the ideal base from which to explore.