Just a short update on how this travelbog is growing are going…
With almost 25.000 hits the statistics recognized 133 different territories. The dense populated big modern countries are easy to get on the world map. But tiny islands lost in the middle of a vast ocean with maybe a population of a couple of hundred persons are harder to reach as well as some devastated countries in war It’s very satisfying to see that also they find the way to our blog.
The top 10: Italy, Belgium, Spain, United States, Argentina, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Colombia
Some others that caught my attention: Zimbabwe, Syria, Nigeria, Mozambique, Brunei, Palestinian Territories, Guam, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Benin, Mayotte, Tanzania, French Polynesia, Ghana, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Bhutan.
Thank you all, the Hermes’Journey goes on…
Categories: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, U.S.A.
Tags: Adventure, Blogger, TOURISM, TRAVEL
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.
With our tickets bought and time on our side we decide to explore a bit more the province of Misiones, a territory named after the Jesuit settlements that flourished in the 17th and 18th centuries. Nothing better than going to the most impressive mission on Argentine soil: San Ignacio Miní. Near to the ruins we find Hostel ‘El Jesuita’. As simple as the search for an original name are the rooms, the service, kitchen,… simple but with the most friendly staff ever. We have the possibility to put our tent in the garden and after a day of rain even under a roof. As for the ruins: at the entrance you’ll find a small museum with some themed rooms illustrating various aspects of Guaraní and mission day-to-day life and the visitor will find also a detailed maquette of the entire site so you’ll get a good idea of the whole structure. On the site itself, plenty panels in different languages lend context to the ruins. Free (the magic word in backpackers world) tours in Spanish start regularly from the small entrance museum. On a dry evening it is well worthed to assist the popular sound and light shows.
As said, in the 17th century, participants of the Society of Jesus came to the region as missionaries. They began to establish a series of Jesuit Reductions of which San Ignacio Miní might be the most known but in a few years they set up 30 mission villages. So another day we lift our thumps, enjoy the landscape during a 16km southwards ride on RN12 and look for the ruins of Santa Ana.
Hidden and consumed by nature, also here, as all Jesuit ruins of the area, Santa Ana is centered on a large square. Over and under grown by roots, stand the crumbling walls of what was once one of the supreme of all Jesuit churches, build by the Italian architect Brazanelli.
We have a great time. As many tourists take a return ticket to Iguazu and miss the beauty of this region, we simply have learned to enjoy also the smaller things in life. We truly enjoy talking with the local people, help those making empanadas and enjoy the reward of an invitation on a spectacular ‘asado’.
- ‘El Jesuita’ is cheap, relax and near to the heart. You want the feeling of being part of the family? This is your house.
- The ruins are rather a nice distraction than a true archaeological wonder but never the less part of the history of this region and for that a must-do.
- Apart of all this, Misiones is also the area where Yerba Mate is cultivated. The surroundings of the village ‘El Dorado’ is home of countless ancient mills and small family factories where mate can be tasted, compared and bought.