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Misiones, much more than the Iguazu falls

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River boat under the fallsMisiones - northeastern Argentina Misiones offers 500,000 has of protected land, two international reservoirs and world class lodging and infraestructure for the convenience of those planning to visit the falls. Two thousand varieties of plants, 400 bird species, over 100 different species of mamals and more than 300 falls of water make Misiones a highly desirable destination. Only 1050 kms from Buenos Aires, the range of activities one can enjoy is impressive, from birdwatching to finding animal trails to admiring archids blossoms in the top of the highest trees. Misiones geography splits the territory in two parts. To the west, along the Parana river, it offers a great variety of small fishing and beach places as well as ecological reservoirs (esteros). The main attractions are Posadas (capital city), the Yacyreta-Apipe damn and the famous Iguazu falls. To the east, along the Uruguay river, there is a transition area between the pampas and the rock formations of Brazil. The main points are the Ibera water system, the jesuit missions and 'saltos de Mocona'.

Iguazu Falls - Misiones

A view of the Iguazu falls - Salto San MartinNo words can convey what witnessing these falls represents. Iguazu falls owe their existence to a fault that underlies the Iguazu river (Guarani word for big water) producing a fantastic 70 mts (210 ft) water fall. Boat rides can take the intrepid visitor at very close range of the Devil's throat fall, probably the culmination point of the whole journey. The falls were seen for the first time by conquistadores in the year 1541, specifically, it was Alvear Nunez Cabeza de vaca, who had that priviledge. The Iguazu falls are higher, longer and more spectacular than the Niagara falls in the United States.

Another arm of the fallsThey are also wider than the Victoria falls in Zambesi (Africa). The northern arm of Iguazu river finishes in a 'canyon' known as the devil's throat, where a continuous mist of water produces an almost constant rainbow. In 1983, the last part of the trail was destroyed by the floods. In recent years, local authorities repaired it so that visitors could reach the end. After a short train ride, people can just walk almost over it.

In essence, the falls create half a circle of about 2700 mts. comprised of 275 streams. Besides the 'garganta del diablo' other well known streams are Bozetti, Dos Hermanas, San Martin and Adam and Eve. They are all part of the Iguazu national park, a natural habitat of about 55,000 hectares. The average temperature during winter is 15C and during summer around 26C.

The majestic falls
San Ignacio Jesuitic ruins

The San Ignacio ruinsAt the heart of what used to be the Guarani indian territory, religious orders from Spain (Jesuits) developed the village of San Ignacio with the purpose of converting natives into Christianism. Visitors will see how these religious missions structured social life and how they must have lived. San Ignacio was founded in 1610, named 'mini' which in native's language (guarani) meant smaller as opposed to San Ignacio Guazu (bigger), developed into one of the most critical and important missions in the territory colonized by the Spanish crown. The missions created another 30 setllements besides San Igancio.

Picture of the mission ruins taken in 1915With over 3300 natives living in the mission at the time, everything points to the fact that an enormous effort must have taken place to 'civilize' them. In 1696, the mission moved closer to the Yabebiry river to avoid attacks from 'bandeirantes' from Brazil. At dawn, there is usually a beautiful, serene ceremony of music and lights that recreates what must have been the original atmosphere.

The central part of Misiones is occupied by the 'sierras', a stretch of about 200km that is characterized by the plantation of Yerba Mate as well as tea. The mate is a local plant that thrived in the 'guarani' region (Corrientes, Misiones, Paraguay and south of Brazil). The leaves of the plant are the base for the worldwide known infusion called mate. At present most plantations carry between 3000 and 4500 plants per hectar.

Yerba mate at Gobernador Virasoro

Stay at local ranches

Yapeyu an historic citySelva misioneraAs strange as it may sound, the souhern region of misiones breeds cattle within the confines of local ranches, even though just north the landscape is of a jungle type. Argentine cowboys would too live here. And just like gauchos, another key element of argentina's national identity developed here: the Mate. Hernandarias, Paraguay's Major at the time of the Jesuit settlements, noticed that native troops would cope better with the rigourous tasks imposed, than his own troops. He soon discovered that natives were drinking a beverage that later was heralded as yerba mate (the same name -mate- applies to the container that holds the drink, a small hollow pumpkin). By 1767, the 'mission' province -the one that was developed by the Jesuits and gave birth to the infusion, was over as the Spanish crown erradicated them from the colonies. All their assets turn into the property of the crown which later were sold or exploited. After 1810, what was left was kept by the Federal government and the churches were transformed into Fransiscans.

Map of Misiones, Argentina

Discussing Misiones in our forum

* Trip to Iguazu Falls
* Yerba Mate
* Wanda mines
* Scuba diving Iguazu
* Malaria and Iguazu
* From Iguazu to Brazil - buses
* Bariloche and Iguassu
* Iguazu - Salta transportation
* Buses to Iguazu
* What to do besides Iguazu Falls
* About Iguazu
* Ciudad del Este - Buying electronics
* Iguazu trip

Weather Misiones

* Current weather in Iguazu Falls
* Iguazu historical weather patterns
* Resources on Iguazu

* MISIONES vacation packages


Join us in our forum to discuss Misiones, the esteros and Iguazu Falls

We have shown you some of the most interesting aspects to be explored in Misiones. If you would like to explore more Argentina vacations and in particular to this region we recommend that you fill out our 'no commitment' vacation planner so that we can provide you with a more precise idea on the cost of a trip.  It is possible to combine circuits and tours in this State with circuits in other States as well as neighboring countries, like Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and even Bolivia for prolonged stays. Trips may range from just a few days to many weeks. Upon reception of the reservation form we will be in a better position to let you know detailed scheduling for a trip as well as specific activities that can be arranged in the area, plus all the information regarding how to get your air tickets, payments, travel insurances, transfers from where you are and the cost of the tour or vacation as per your choices. Please do not hesitate to contact us.