All good things come to an end and so does our journey through Argentina. The province of Misiones, with its green vegetation and red soil and its politics according to the new times, carries out permanent actions for the conservation of the biodiversity, protecting important territory of cataracts and jungle. They consider these environments essential for the health of the planet and we consider these environments essential for the health of all adventurous backpackers. In this sense, Misiones stands out as a pole of singular attraction for the avid tourism of pure nature, of that particular explosion of life that manifests itself in the diversity of vegetal and animal species, proposing and facilitating the close contact with the wonders that populate the missionary land. So near to Atistóbulo del Valle, the ‘Parque Provencial Salto Encantado’ gives us the perfect last chance to get in touch with exotic nature. We propose to cross several trails with different levels of difficulty, drawn in the middle of the abundant natural vegetation.
The wild trails allow access to views and places of great beauty hidden in the dense undergrowth. We connect the slippery wet trails with the two newly opened deck tours that provide access to spectacular cascades views. These deck tours might diminish the ‘off-the-beaten-track-feeling’ but are allowing us, despite the tired legs, to cross the jungle easily and safely. By all means, mud or deck, the circuits invite us to discover the great diversity of plant and animal species that populate the place. In the middle of the missionary jungle, the park is home to some 36 species of mammals and hosts 214 species of birds. Especially the typical lizards, squirrels and colorful butterflies are the most easy to spot.
And then there is the legend…
The legend about the origin of ‘El Salto Encantado’ (The Enchanted Waterfall) relates the tragedy of love inspired in the heart of the aboriginal Guaraní community that populated the Valley of the Cuñá Pirú inhabited by two enemy tribes. The cacique of one of them, Aguará (Fox), had a beautiful daughter called Yate-í (Sweet). The one of the other tribe was called Yurumí (Anteater), whose son Cabure-í (Little Owl), was an excellent hunter and warrior. Fate wanted those two young people to know each other during a hunt and love was born. Their parents did not admit it and their hatred broke out in a great battle. During the fight Yate-í cried when she saw her father die and her tears, when they touched the ground, were becoming small threads of water. Cabure-í watched her lay down, dropped his arms and ran to her to share her pain. At that moment hundreds of arrows of both sides struck the young lovers and Tupá (God of Nature) caused a stream to fall from the fallen tears of both. With thunder and lightning the earth opened, sheltering the dead lovers in the very place the waters of the stream fell, forming the waterfall. In memory of their children, the tribes never returned to fight.
- For waterfall lovers is this stairway to heaven. Heaven being Iguazú as you can understand. Apart from Salto Encantado (64m fall), there is Salto Picaflor, Salto Alegre (13m), cascada Alegre, Salto Armonia, Salto Piedras Blancas (8m), Salto San Bernardo (30m), … and lots more! Very important: visit Iguazú the last of all because after that, all other waterfalls look just crappy!
- Camping is allowed near the rivers but always check the weather forecast!
- Hotel del Salto is in between the center of the village and Salto Encatado and more or less near to all you need.