Many people that are visiting Brazil for only a short time want to go to Iguazu Falls on a day trip from Rio de Janeiro. For those that are interested in doing it, there is good news and bad news.
The good news is that it is technically possible to go on a day trip to Iguazu from Rio. The bad news is that it is both expensive and slightly inconvenient.
The airlines that fly from Rio to Iguazu do not offer flights that allow passengers enough time to travel to and from the falls in one day. As such, if you want to go on a day trip to Iguazu Falls, you will have to buy a one-way ticket on one airline to get there and a one-way ticket on another airline to get back. Prices for one-way flights are expensive, making it more economical to stay at a hotel in Iguazu overnight.
The other drawback is that even if you fly to Iguazu Falls with one airline and back with another, you still won’t have much time at the falls themselves. For example, TAM offers a flight that lands at IGU airport at 12:35pm, and GOL has a flight that departs IGU at 4:40pm. Given the transfer time and the need to arrive at the airport early to check in for your return flight, there isn’t a lot of time to see the falls.
Still, if you are determined to go to Iguazu Falls on a day trip from Rio de Janeiro, it is possible to do. If you don’t mind spending extra money and having a short visit, you can go there for a day and at least be able to say that you saw the famous waterfalls.