When I arrived in Puerto Iguazu I organised my Brazilian visa so I could see the Iguazu Falls. I’d been told the paperwork is less extensive here, as tourist only come to this town to visit the falls. The falls are supposedly spectacular from both Argentina and Brazil, but you need to pass through that bureaucratic loop before you can see them in Brazil, if coming from Argentina. The immigration office is literally a small home that’s set in a street not too far from hotels and hostels. Though, correcting myself, it wouldn’t matter where you stood near hotels and hostels in this town you’d be within a golfer’s shot away.

The office opened at 8:30 a.m. that morning. If you didn’t get in to the immigration office right beside that time you’d be expected to return to collect your visa the next day. As I stood at the doors before they’d opened, I was the first in the queue beside two German girls. I believe they were picking their passports up from a previous day. They were smack bang there that morning ready to get their visas and get the hell out of that town – and I was eager to do the same.

When I walked in the process was simple. I was required to hand in my passport with a couple of passport photos and evidence that I was to leave Brazil within the time before my visa was to expire. The visa you get from Puerto Iguazu for Brazil only lasts for thirty days. I believe you could ask for longer (three months), but I didn’t want to push my luck as the only ticket I had to prove that I was leaving Brazil was frail little bus ticket that I’d scored in the hostel from a girl and the ticket was due in out of Brazil within a few days. I suppose this is why the visas are handed out at the border, as people are generally are there for the falls. I handed in my passport and documents in that morning by 8:30 a.m. then got my hands on my visa the same morning at 11:30 a.m. This is a far different case from Buenos Aires, where you’d need to book an appointment in advance, which can take one to two weeks to obtain, to hand your document in to be assessed, then wait at a day or two before you’re clear to enter Brazil.

South America Basics provides travel information for Argentina, Colombia and Brazil. The writing is done through the living experiences of Gaston Cavalleri who is an Australian travel writer.