A giant tapestry of waterfalls, marshes, swamps, rivers, and islands forms the beating heart of Argentina’s aqueous Wetlands. The provinces of Misiones, Corrientes, and Entre Ríos hold the greatest biodiversity reserve in the country. They create a territory of wild exuberance and the home of some of the most emblematic animals in the country — which you can occasionally observe in photo safaris— such as the yaguareté (America’s biggest feline), the broad-snouted caiman, capybaras (the world’s biggest rodent), the coatí, the marsh deer (the biggest in South America) and the giant toucan.
Misiones, the dancing waters
The 250 water jumps in the Iguazú Waterfalls make 1.5 million liters of water per second roar as they furiously fall throughout a 150 meters drop. Since 2011, it has been considered one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.
In the Iguazú National Park, there is a tourist train that takes visitors up to the scenic platform of Garganta del Diablo (the Devil’s Throat) — there, you can contemplate the everchanging, majestic landscape of the waterfalls which are a Unesco World Heritage site.
Butterflies and multi-colored birds join the ride with their graceful flight and incredible squawking; coatis, monkeys, and curious toucans watch from the maze of wooden vines. If you want a full 360º immersive experience, the best option is a nocturnal sailing tour that takes you to the feet of the tireless waterfalls — it’s even better on nights with a full moon!
- Iguazú National Park: days, hours, available circuits and entrances, as well as ticket prices, vary in each season. Information: www.iguazuargentina.com
- Nautical tour of the waterfalls: includes an exciting approaching ride in a large rubber boat to Salto San Martín, followed by a vertiginous circuit of rapids downriver. Bookings: www.iguazujungle.com
- Night visit to Garganta del Diablo on a full moon night: there are only 3 shifts per day on full moon nights for small groups, reservation-only and subject to weather conditions. Info: www.iguazuturismo.com
Corrientes, the revived waters
In the very heart of the province, the Iberá Wetlands are the second largest wetlands in the world and one of the main reserves of biodiversity in Latin America. A victim of intensive livestock farming, deforestation, and poaching for 70 years, today it’s one of Argentina’s tourist gems.
The Iberá Natural Reserve is 1.3 million hectares of wetlands, grasslands, weeds, and forests of thorn trees and home to 4,000 species of flora and fauna, almost 30% of all registered species in Argentina.
It’s also one of the most successful rewilding cases in the world thanks to the reintroduction of species like the yaguareté, the anteater, the tapir, the green-winged macaw, and the Pampas deer.
At dawn, a calm canoe ride through the hyacinth-filled waters gives you a chance to closely observe the coexistence of broad-snouted caimans, marsh deers, and capybaras. At dusk, a horse ride on the wetland shores provides the spectacle of the cocoi herons’ frenzied flight against an orange horizon backdrop and the clever lurking of the maned wolf, a mythical South American fox regarded as a deity by Indigenous people.
There are 4 entrances to this recovered paradise:
- San Nicolás is one of the more rugged entrances and a 4×4 vehicle is recommended for its dirt and sand roads. There is a camping site, fire pits, and restrooms but there’s no drinking water or grocery store. You can book canoe rides, kayak trips, bike rides, or hikes to observe the fauna and flora. It’s located 163 kilometers away from the city of Corrientes and 30 kilometers away from San Miguel, the nearest town.
- Laguna Iberá is the one closest to the Park and you can access it through Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, on the lagoon shores. There are several accommodation options (luxury lodges, eco glamping, bungalows), gastronomy, and tourism service providers, such as nighttime off-road safaris, water horse rides, typical food tastings, and guided walks through the jungle to observe howler monkeys. Everything is 120 kilometers away from the city of Mercedes and 325 kilometers away from Corrientes city.
- Cambyretá has a camping area with barbeque setups and fire pits. It’s one of the most accessible entrances by regular car and by bicycle thanks to its gravel and solid dirt roads. Supplies and tourist services are available 15 kilometers away in Ituzaingó (and 230 kilometers away in Corrientes city).
- Carambola offers one of the best immersive experiences of local people’s lifestyle, as they work as tourist guides, cook for tourists in soup kitchens and accommodate guests in their private homes. It’s 26 kilometers away from Concepción and 190 kilometers away from the provincial capital Paran.
- Iberá National Park: days, hours, available circuits, and entrances vary in each season. Information: www.parqueibera.gob.ar
- All-inclusive Inns:
- Ecoposada del Estero, located 100 meters away from the lagoon, in Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, it’s a bungalow complex built with ancestral bioclimatic techniques
- Posada Uguay, near Mercedes and the Gauchito Gil Sanctuary, a more rustic and picturesque option surrounded by a large ñandubaysal (an area of reddish grasslands) and with private access to the Fernández lagoon where you can take exclusive boat rides
- La Alondra’i, an old general store that was recycled and transformed into a lodge in Concepción del Yaguareté Corá, near the Carambola Entrance
Entre Ríos, the playful waters
Marked by the Paraná River, the second longest river in South America, Entre Ríos’ gastronomy, sports, and cultural offerings are alive in the warm and calm rivers with their white sand beaches, golf courses, competitive fishing circuits, summer carnivals, European pioneers colonies and even vineyards.
However, Entre Ríos’ is renowned for being the regional capital of well-being tourism thanks to its classic and modern hot springs. There are more than 150 pools distributed across 20 hotels and recreation centers in at least 14 towns.
Curly slides, swimming pools with giant waves, and lagoons ideal for paddle surfing are part of the renewed offerings from Entre Ríos hot springs, which were born as therapeutic centers and are now an ideal destination for a short getaway thanks to its proximity to the City of Buenos Aires.
- Top 5 classic hot springs: Federación, Colón, Gualeguaychú, Villa Elisa, and San José, all have accommodations and services ideal to enjoy with family or friends
- Top 5 luxury spas: Howard Johnson Plaza Resort & Casino Mayorazgo, Costarenas Hotel & Spa, Sol Victoria Hotel Spa & Casino, Velissa Spa, and Iguapé Aparts & Spa offer well-being, leisure, and food options that are perfect for couples