Itaipu Binacional

Top choice in Foz do Iguaçu

With a capacity of 14 million kilowatts, this binational dam is the world's second-largest hydroelectric power station, and the one that produces the most electricity per year. The impressive structure, at some 8km long and 200m high, is a memorable sight, especially when the river is high and a vast torrent of overflow water cascades down the spillway.

The visitors center is 12km north of Foz. From here, regular tours (visita panorâmica) depart every 20 minutes between 8:30am to 4:45pm. The more detailed option (circuito especial; minimum age 14), which takes you into the power plant itself, leaves eight times daily Sunday to Thursday, and 12 times daily on Friday and Saturday. A variety of other attractions within the complex include a museum, wildlife park and river beaches, and a sunset catamaran tour.

The project was controversial: it plunged Brazil way into debt and necessitated the large-scale destruction of rainforest and the displacement of 10,000 people. But it cleanly supplies 75% of Paraguay’s energy needs, and 17% of Brazil’s.

To get to the Itaipu Dam, catch bus 101 (Vila C Norte-Sohab) or 102 (Vila C Sul-Profilurb), among others (R$3.45, 30 minutes), which leave every 20 to 30 minutes from Foz do Iguaçu's Urban Bus Terminal (TTU).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Foz do Iguaçu attractions

1. Ecomuseu

3.21 MILES

If you are wondering how construction of the Itaipu Dam affected the area’s flora and fauna, check out the Ecomuseu, which also includes a large model of…

2. Flora and Fauna Itaipú Binacional

3.84 MILES

In the creation of the Itaipú Dam, the dam company was obliged to set up a series of eight private reserves that now protect the last remnants of the Alto…

3. Salto del Monday

10.88 MILES

This impressive 80m-high waterfall, located 10km south of Ciudad del Este, suffers from its close proximity to Iguazú Falls on the other side of the…

4. Marco das Três Fronteiras

12.59 MILES

Once little more than an uneventful obelisk, the Parque Nacional do Iguaçu concession folks have now built a small tourist complex around the viewpoint of…

5. Hito Argentino

12.86 MILES

A kilometer west of the center, this is a great viewpoint with a small obelisk painted in Argentine colors at the impressive confluence of the Ríos Paraná…

6. Casa Ecológica de Botellas

15.02 MILES

About 300m off the falls road, this fascinating place is well worth a visit. The owners have taken used packaging materials – plastic bottles, juice…

7. Güirá Oga

15.21 MILES

On the way to the falls, this is an animal hospital and center for rehabilitation of injured wildlife. It also carries out valuable research into the…

8. Parque das Aves

15.66 MILES

This 5-hectare bird park, located 300m from the entrance to Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, is home to 800-plus species of birds, including red ibis, bare…