This is the region of the great rivers, the vast savannas and marshlands, the humid tropics, the red earth and the magnificent jungle. Embraced by the great Paraná, Iguazú and Uruguay rivers, this region is also known as Mesopotamia – land between rivers- and includes Misiones, Corrientes and Entre Ríos Provinces.
In the north of the country, on the border with Paraguay and Brazil, the large and fast flowing Iguazú River splits the subtropical jungle and gives way to one of the most imposing natural wonders on the planet – The Iguazú Waterfalls.
Described in all languages with superlative vocabulary, in the Guaraní language it just means Big Waters, which is an understatement. Visitors are drawn into a calm state of observation and internal peace and everything seems to occur a little slower in Iguazú.
The bordering national parks overflow with extraordinary subtropical flora and fauna that swathe you in their aromas and colors and invite you to explore their secrets.
Esteros de Iberá, located in the heart of Corrientes Province, is home to one of the greatest biodiversity reserves in Argentina. It is an enormous labyrinth of wetlands, streams and small rivers, lakes and lagoons, canals and floating islands, forming an impenetrable and virgin wilderness area.
This is the habitat of yacaré caimans, swamp deer, howler monkeys, capybaras, turtles, snakes, river otters, maned wolf and infinity of fish and bird species. A paradise to be explored on foot, on horseback or by boat and natives say that those who penetrate the mysterious heart of Iberá never will leave completely, since their memories will always return.
Misiones’ jungle holds an infinite number of aromas and sounds, exotic plants, animals and insects.
Extraordinary flora and fauna inhabits the warm and humid subtropical environment, including puma, ocelot, tapir, peccary, capuchin and howler monkeys and the mighty harpy eagle. The congenial coati and big toucans, as well as flocks of parakeets often may be spotted along the trails and open spaces of nature parks and reserves of the Misiones Province.
It is also one of the last refuges for the furtive yaguareté (jaguar), the undisputed king of Northeast Argentina.
SAN IGNACIO MINÍ RUINS
The Misiones jungle was inhabited by large Guaraní communities until the arrival of Europeans in the late XVI century. Stalked by bandits and slave hunters, they found a degree of safety in the Jesuit missions that began to appear in Paraguay, the south of Brazil and in North Argentina in the early XVII century.
Each mission was self-sufficient. It had an impressive church and a well-organized urban layout. At one point, San Ignacio Miní had more than 5000 inhabitants, abundant agricultural and cattle production and was highly developed in arts and crafts.
When the Jesuits were expelled from American territory by order of the king of Spain, the mission was burned down and abandoned. The jungle invaded the ruins till they were rediscovered in 1897.
San Ignacio Miní is the mute witness of a major economic and socio-cultural event in Argentina´s history.
Argentina is a leading country in the consumption of mate, a herbal infusion that is traditionally drunk in a social setting, such as family gatherings or with friends and sharing mate is ritualistic and has its own set of rules.
Most Argentine mate plantations are located in Corrientes and Misiones Provinces. The evergreen shrub or small tree can be seen all over the region by the side of the roads.
The Gauchos of Corrientes Province work on estancias surrounding Iberá marshlands. They are often direct descendants of the Guaraní people and are proud of their cultural heritage, preserving their customs and harmonic language.
Unlike Gauchos from other regions in Argentina, the Correntino Gaucho does not wear boots, but rides barefoot protected only by leather guards, as most of the time they work in humid and marshy regions.
Observing them rounding up, lassoing, branding and other related activities shows their incredible skills and dominion with their horses.