Grupo Cataratas announces
the construction of AquaFoz,
Foz do Iguaçu's Aquarium

With an investment of around R $ 100 million, the aquarium will serve as a center for Education, Research and Conservation of the ecosystems of the Paraná and Iguaçu River basins.

Worldwide known as a destination for thousands of national and international visitors every year, the city of Foz de Iguaçu will gain a new tourist attraction that will match its importance: AquaFoz. Grupo Cataratas is the company behind the project and garners, among its successful achievements, Rio de Janeiro’s Marine Aquarium (AquaRio), the largest marine aquarium in South America and one of the three most important tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro.

AquaFoz will be built on a private area, at the entrance to the Iguassu National Park, next to the Visitors Center, on the BR-469 road, and will receive an investment of around R $ 100 million from a 100% private source. Works will start in the second half of this year and are expected to be completed within 24 months. The project was presented this morning to Paraná State’s Government and local authorities in a meeting held at the Palácio Iguaçu, the seat of the Government of Paraná.

Over an area of 23 thousand square meters, AquaFoz will present several tanks with freshwater species and marine ecosystems that add up to a total volume of approximately 3.5 million liters of water. The new aquarium will present the public with the opportunity to enjoy an immersive, educational and pleasurable experience through the two main rivers of Paraná, the Paraná and Iguaçu rivers, and also learn the freshwater fish species from different ecosystems, evolved over these rivers.

The project of the attraction was born with the mission of being an important biodiversity conservation center, supported by the Education, Research and Conservation tripod and brings all the expertise of AquaRio, with the technical support of marine biologists Marcelo Szpilman, AquaRio’s Honorary President, and Rafael Franco, technical manager of the attraction, and with the support of Estudio Cosestudi, an architecture and exhibition design studio with
extensive experience in architectural and exhibition projects for important aquariums around the world, such as: Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium ( Missouri, USA), Lisbon Oceanarium (Portugal), Acquario di Genova (Italy), Tennessee Aquarium (USA) and the future Acquario di Trieste, which is being planned in the city of Trieste (Italy).

For Pablo Morbis, president of the Grupo Cataratas, Foz do Iguaçu gains one more important attraction. “In addition to its significance as a driver of tourism, it was born as a center for the conservation of local biodiversity, promoting studies and research on species that are only found in the region’s hydrographic basins, in addition to educating and making all visitors aware of the need for conservation of the environment.”

Governor Ratinho Junior highlighted that AquaFoz is part of a new cycle of attractions and investments in the city. “Foz do Iguaçu is undergoing a major revolution with the new airport runway, the new bridge “Ponte da Integração” and the duplication of the Rodovia das Cataratas highway. We are creating conditions for Foz to grow yet more and more. “The aquarium is part of that bet and springs from the confidence of the private sector in Paraná”,
he added.

Foz do Iguaçu’s Mayor, Chico Brasileiro, believes that AquaFoz possesses great relevance, as it strengthens tourism in the city and sets itself to be a reference both in Brazil and internationally. “This new investment will generate new jobs and income for Foz do Iguaçu, which is essential, especially at this time when tourism and the economy are regaining pace”. “In addition, it is another option that tourists and residents will have the opportunity to enjoy, as a space for leisure and knowledge about our biodiversity”, he said.

Important Conservation Ally
In the last decades, the Iguassu basin has suffered impacts caused by human action. Its populations of aquatic and semi-aquatic fauna are at risk of extinction, and at least fifteen animal species in this basin are currently impacted by human activities such as deforestation, water pollution, fishing and construction of dams and dikes. AquaFoz’s operations, in this regard, further reinforces its importance as a center for the conservation of regional ecosystems. Acting as a local transforming agent with global impact, AquaFoz will conduct important research on food and reproductive ecology, geographic distribution, conservation and restraints on exotic species. These projects will be sponsored and carried out by AquaFoz, in partnership with research institutes and Brazilian and international universities.

The project will further enrich the tourist offer in one of Brazil’s major tourist destinations, which already has a special and unique relation in the world with the waters – they form the spectacle of the Iguassu Falls, generate power at the Itaipu Dam and bathe the borders between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

About Grupo Cataratas

The Grupo Cataratas is the main sustainable tourism company in Brazil, boasting around five million visitors annually. It started its operations in 1999, in the city of Foz do Iguaçu (PR), to manage the visitation in the Iguaçu National Park, on the Brazilian side of the Falls.

It as well operates the EcoNoronha concession, in the Fernando de Noronha National Marine Park, the Three-Borders Landmark, in Foz do Iguaçu, Paineiras Corcovado (official vans that transport visitors to Alto Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro’s Tijuca National Park), Rio de Janeiro’s Marine Aquarium and Rio’s BioPark, one of the oldest zoos in Brazil. Rio’s BioPark has just undergone an important transformation, becoming a wildlife conservation center and will reopen its gates to the public on March 22. The Group’s shareholders are Advent International, Grupo Soifer, Tucumann, Pattac, Cattalini, FSX and GS Participações.

Elected in the last three years as the most sustainable company in the field of tourism and hospitality in Brazil by the Revista Exame magazine, the Grupo Cataratas’s mission is to generate a positive impact through transformative experiences, resignifying the relationship of people with nature as to generate conservation awareness.

Education, Research and Conservation
Opening in 2023

AquaFoz will further enrich the tourist offer in one of Brazil’s major tourist destinations, which already has a special and unique relation in the world with the waters – they form the spectacle of the Iguaçu Falls, generate power at the Itaipu Dam and bathe the borders between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.


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Foz do Iguaçu’s Aquarium

Privileged location

Foz do Iguaçu’s Aquarium, AquaFoz, will be built on a private area, at the entrance to the Iguaçu National Park, next to the Visitors Center, on BR-469 road, in Foz do Iguaçu, with an investment of R $ 100 million from Grupo Cataratas.

Unique in Brazil

Covering an area of 23 thousand square meters and 3.8 million liters of water, AquaFoz will be a unique aquarium in Brazil, with the exhibition of freshwater species and the marine ecosystem.

Education, conservarion and research

AquaFoz will play a special role in raising visitors’ awareness on the importance of the aquatic ecosystems. The public will have the opportunity to learn unique species, many of which endemic and threatened with extinction.