Foz do Iguaçu

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Foz do Iguaçu
The skyline of Foz do Iguaçu
The skyline of Foz do Iguaçu
Nickname(s): Terra das Cataratas (Land of the Waterfalls)
Location of Foz do Iguaçu
Location of Foz do Iguaçu
Coordinates: 25°33′S 54°35′W / 25.550°S 54.583°W / -25.550; -54.583Coordinates: 25°33′S 54°35′W / 25.550°S 54.583°W / -25.550; -54.583
Country Brazil
Region Sul
State Paraná
Founded 10 June 1910
 • Mayor Francisco Lacerda Brasileiro (PSD)
 • City 617.70 km2 (238.5 sq mi)
Elevation 164 m (538 ft)
Population (2013)
 • City 263,508
 • Density 426,59/km2 (1,104.85/sq mi)
 • Urban 98%
Time zone UTC-3 (UTC-3)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-2 (UTC-2)
Area code(s) +55 45
Website Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná

Foz do Iguaçu (Iguazu River Mouth) (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈfɔz dw iɡwɐˈsu]) is the Brazilian city on the border of Iguaçu Falls. The city is the 7th largest in the state of Paraná. The city's population is approximately 265,000 inhabitants. It is located approximately 650 km (400 mi) west of the capital of the state, Curitiba, being the westernmost city in that state.

The inhabitants of the city are known as iguaçuenses. The Iguaçu Falls located on the border of Argentina and Brazil and consisting of approximately 257 individual falls over 2.7 km (1.7 mi) were chosen as one of the "New Natural Seven Wonders of the World."[1]

The city is characterized by tourism and cultural diversity. There are about 80 nationalities, being the most representative from Italy, Portugal, Lebanon, China, Paraguay and Argentina. Foz do Iguaçu is integrated into a tri-national region, bordering the Argentine city of Puerto Iguazú and the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este. The city's economy is based on tourism, with emphasis on trade and services.[2]

According to research conducted by the Brazilian Tourist Institute (Embratur) and the Foundation Institute of Economic Research (FIFE) in 2006, 2007 and 2008, Foz do Iguaçu was considered the 2nd most visited leisure destination by foreign tourists after Rio de Janeiro.[2] In 2010, it received from the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism 10 awards for Best Practices and Competitiveness Index.[2] The Foz do Iguaçu Destination have been noted by various national and international media. The British newspaper The Guardian says it is the best foreign destination for the UK.[2] The U.S. World Network CNN classifies it as one of the 14 most romantic destinations.[2]

Foz do Iguaçu is home of the Itaipu dam, the world's second largest hydroelectric plant in power generation, after the Three Gorges Dam in China. With 20 generator units and 14,000 MW of installed capacity, it provides approximately 15% of the energy consumed in Brazil and 86% of the energy consumed in Paraguay.[3] The city has a low crime rate by brazilian standards.[4]



Foz do Iguaçu National Park.

The climate of Foz do Iguaçu is sub-tropical, with two distinctive seasons; one humid and hot in the summer and another, dry and cold, in the winter. The city's annual average temperature is 23.8 °C (74.8 °F), but can be as high as 40 °C (104 °F) in the summer (highest) or as low as -5 °C (23 °F) in the winter (lowest). The average in the summer is 26.5 °C (79.7 °F)and in the winter 15.4 °C (59.6 °F).

The climate of the city is generally hot or warm throughout the year, due to the relatively low altitude (standing only 173 m, 567 ft (173 m), above sea level).

Generally, the city is sunny during the year, but rain is fairly common during the spring and in the summer. The weather of the city, however, changes very constantly, because the region where the city stands is the zone where frequently three fronts meet. As consequence, it is not uncommon to see temperatures as high as 35 °C (95 °F) and in the summer as low as 8 °C (46 °F) in the city and, frequently, thunderstorms.


Flags of South American countries in the city.

In 1549, a Spanish explorer, Cabeza de Vaca, found the falls while trailing down the river. Very impressed, he named them "Quedas de Santa Maria". Later the name changed to Quedas del Iguazu; this name is a native name from the Guarani Indians who lived there.[6]

Until 1860, it was under the disputed territory between Brazil and Paraguay, but given the latter's defeat in the Paraguayan War, the falls were recognized as part of the Brazilian territory.[6]

The region was almost uninhabited, and there was only a military colony until 1897, with the creation of a postal office in the region. Given the little attention of the political authorities, the region was very predated by foreigners, mainly Argentines.[6]

In 1910, the colony's status was upgraded to the position of "vila" (town or village), named "Vila Iguazu", and, in 1914, to city. At that time, the city was known as Foz do Iguassu.[6]

Aerial view of Iguaçu falls.

In 1916, Alberto Santos-Dumont visited the region and, impressed with the beauties of the region, suggested more attention of the government to the area and asked for the appropriation of the land where currently is the Parque do Iguaçu (Iguaçu Park). Until 1917, this region had an owner, Jezus Val. The state appropriated the land in the next year, and, in 1939, the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu ("Iguaçu National Park") was created.[6]

In 1945, an agreement between the Brazilian Academy of Letters and the Academy of Lisbon changed the city name to Foz do Iguaçu. The city experienced a big economical boom in the 1960s to the late 1980s, first with the construction of the Friendship Bridge, concluded in 1965, and the Itaipu Dam, in operation since in 1984.[6]

Buddhist temple in Foz do Iguaçu.

On October 19, 2005, a proposal was made to adjust the city name to: Foz do Iguassu. The proposal was approved in a first debate and then rejected in a second debate, at the Town Hall (Câmara Municipal), by four votes for and eight against. The bill was initiated by city councillor Djalma Pastorello, of the PSDB.[6]

The purpose of the adjustment to the city name was to return the spelling to the original form, as at the foundation of the city in 1914. The change occurred due language reforms of 1945, which changed the orthography of Brazilian Portuguese. However, existing proper names were not obliged to change. Another reason for the proposed adjustment back to the original was that 146 of the 198 member countries of the United Nations do not have the "ç" character in their alphabets.[6]

The adjustment would therefore rationalise any search for the city in search engines, since Foz do Iguaçu's claim to fame worldwide is due almost entirely to the falls, which are known as the Iguassu Falls. Djalma Pastorello felt that tourism to the city of Foz do Iguaçu would be improved greatly by a clarification of its association with the now-famous Iguassu Falls. However, he estimates that 70% of the city's population were against the name change because the local media anticipated the change and presented it in a distorted way, so that locals were unable to see that the intention was to benefit the population.[6]


Mosque in the city.

The city has a population of approximately 265,000 inhabitants, whilst the Tríplice Fronteira (Tri Frontier) region (Ciudad del Este, Hernandarias, Puerto Iguazú and the rural areas included within those municipalities) has a total of 820,000. The city is very heterogeneous, with many immigrant communities, such as: Arabs, Chinese, Germans, Italians, Paraguayans, Argentines, French, Swedes, Portuguese and Ukrainians.

The city is predominantly Roman Catholic but a relatively large minority of Muslims and Buddhists are represented in the city as well. The city itself has a large mosque and a Buddhist temple.

Fenartec is an annual event held in the city's convention centre commemorating the city's multicultural diversity, usually in May.

Race makeup
White 67,9%
Pardo/Brown or Mixed 26,2%
Black 2,6%
Asian and Arab 2,8%
American Native 0,5%

Source: Paranaense Institute for Economic and Social Development (2014)

Arab influence[edit]

Since 1940, Lebanese and other Arab Muslims have settled in the southwestern city of Foz do Iguaçu, in the "Triple Border" area where Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil converge in a region of loosely controlled borders.[7]

The Lebanese people are 90% of the population from Middle East in Foz do Iguaçu, the others are from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria and Palestine. The muslim religion is professed by 97% of Arabs of the city, and that the community in question has social structure composed of representative bodies, religious spaces, dining spaces and architectural heritage.[8]


Ponte da Amizade ("Friendship Bridge") connecting the city with Ciudad del Este.

Foz do Iguaçu is connected to the east by the BR-277, to Paranaguá, and also to the east by the Friendship Bridge to Ciudad del Este, and to the south to Puerto Iguazú by the Fraternity Bridge. Both the BR-277 and the Friendship Bridge are very busy roads, linking Paraguay to the Paranaguá's seaport.

The city is served by the Foz do Iguaçu/Cataratas International Airport, in which 1,155,615 passengers transited in 2010.

Public transport[edit]

The city does not operate its own municipal transport networks, but instead licenses four private bus companies to operate services on its behalf. The bus fares are set by the municipality for all four companies. In 2003, the city initiated an integrated city fare and created a hub near the city centre.

Now, most of the bus routes pass through this hub and passengers pay a standard fare within the city zone, which enables them to transfer routes, even when these may be operated by another company.

The transport network extends to certain distant areas, such as the city's airport and the Iguazu Park, but not between the city and its neighbor Ciudad del Este, nor with Puerto Iguazú, which are serviced by other companies. These routes are not part of the integrated network, a situation reflected by higher fares.

Avenida Brasil (Brazil Avenue)[edit]

Since Foz do Iguaçu's foundation, Brazil Avenue is the city's main road. While during its early years the street was primarily the military headquarters' location (now they are just in the right beginning of the Avenue), nowadays the street is a very active place where many retail stores are located. It is located at the downtown of the city and it is 5 km (3 mi) long (of which 3 km, 2 mi (3.2 km), is arterial road).[6]

As of 2004, the prefecture of the city decided that a major revitalization of "Avenida Brasil" (Brazil Avenue) was needed. Attracting many consumers from many different areas of the city and even from its neighbours Ciudad del Este and Puerto Iguazú, the avenue, wide enough only to support two cars side-by-side, is frequently used during business days, and even more in important holidays (Christmas, Children's day, Easter, Mother's day), with many cars competing for a parking space.[6]

The revitalization proposals asks for removal of parking space, giving major attention to pedestrians. Also, the avenue would be wide enough only to support one car side-by-side. The project started at the end of 2004, and by 2006 was concluded. The avenue does not have a bus route, by municipal order.[6]


Internal view of CEAEC.

The city has a literacy rate of 95.5%, with most children attending public or private schools. Public education has been a priority of the municipality of the city and the government of the state of Paraná; however, most middle and upper-class families continue to send their children to elite private schools.

The city has approximately 30 private schools and approximately 120 public schools (including daycare and kindergarten schools). In addition, there are 7 universities:

  • Cesufoz;
  • UDC;
  • Uniamérica;
  • Unifoz;
  • Unioeste;
  • Anglo-Americano Faculdades;
  • IFPR.

In January 2010, the Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana (UNILA) was founded.



The city is one of Brazil's most-frequented tourist destinations. Most tourists are Brazilians and Argentines.The city has about 100 hotels and inns. Its main attractions are:

  • Iguaçu Falls, which has a flow capacity equal to three times that of Niagara Falls. Part of the falls are on the Brazilian side. Others are on the Argentine side. "Devil's Throat" ( "Garganta do Diabo" in Portuguese) is the tallest of the falls, which is 97 m (318 ft) high;
  • Parque Nacional do Iguaçu (Iguaçu National Park), in both Brazil and Argentina, where the falls are. It is protected by the IBAMA;
  • Itaipu Dam, the first-largest generator of hydro-electric power in the world, in the Parana river, between Brazil and Paraguay;
  • The Tríplice Fronteira (Triple Frontier) location where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. Each side has its own Marco (landmark);
  • The Omar Ibn Al-Khattab mosque, the largest in Latin America;
  • The Bird Park (Parque das Aves), which features a collection of wild birds, and the "Bosque Guaraní" the city's zoo.

The Itaipu Dam produces about 20% of Brazil's electricity needs, and employs (directly and indirectly) about 5,000 Iguaçuenses.

Many Iguacuenses work in the neighboring city of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, which is a duty-free market. All trade between Brazil and Paraguay uses the Friendship Bridge (called Ponte da Amizade in Brazil). Another bridge, the Fraternity Bridge (Ponte da Fraternidade, or Ponte Tancredo Neves, in Brazil), connects Foz do Iguaçu with its Argentine neighbor, Puerto Iguazú.


Foz do Iguaçu hosted an edition of the Summer X Games in 2013.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Iguazu Falls chosen as one of the natural seven wonders of the world (in English)
  2. ^ a b c d e "Cataratas do Iguaçu - Portal Cataratas do Iguaçu S/A". Retrieved 5 April 2018. 
  3. ^ "ENERGY - ITAIPU BINACIONAL". Retrieved 5 April 2018. 
  4. ^ "Os estados mais e menos perigosos do Brasil - EXAME". Retrieved 5 April 2018. 
  5. ^ "NORMAIS CLIMATOLÓGICAS DO BRASIL 1961-1990" (in Portuguese). Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Iguassu City History". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. 
  7. ^, The Washington Times. "Arab roots grow deep in Brazil's rich melting pot". Retrieved 5 April 2018. 
  8. ^ Arab immigration to Foz do Iguaçu (in Portuguese)
  9. ^ O'Neil, Devon (21 April 2013). "Brazilians bask in golden glory". ESPN. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 

External links[edit]