Terrain and Weather
The terrain of the northeast is varied, with many destinations to visit on Argentina tours in the mountains, lush rainforests, lowland plains, and forested valleys in the south; and humid tropical vegetation and weather, with wet summers and warm winters in the north. The Gran Chaco that is comprised of areas of Formosa, Chaco and Santa Fe provinces as well as provinces further west and parts of Paraguay and Bolivia, experiences some of the highest temperatures on the continent. The northeast region's important rivers are the Iguazú, Paraná, Uruguay and Plata. As its name suggests, Entre Rios Province contains many rivers.
The Guaranies, who once lived in the region's subtropical areas, evolved from hunter-gathers to an agriculture-based lifestyle. Wichis and Tobas were also among the original inhabitants of Chaco and Formosa provinces, and the languages are still spoken in some communities here. An important source of food to its indigenous peoples, the Chaco Province derives its name from the Quechuan word for hunting. Timbues, Mocovies, Pilagas, Guaycurues, Kaingang, Charruas and Charras also once inhabited areas within the region.
For generations, mostly European immigrants have flowed into Argentina's northeastern region. The influence can be felt most in the cities. Misiones Province has a distinctly French flavor. Resistencia, the provincial capital of Chaco, was the first stop for many Jews fleeing Europe during the thirties and forties. This sophisticated city of 275,000 people is best known for its hundreds of sculpture pieces spread throughout the city, its renowned university and many museums to visit on Argentina tours. These attractions make it a mecca for cultural tourists who choose to branch out from the region's main sight, Iguazu Falls, when they travel to Argentina. The namesake city of Formosa Province is loaded with public art as well, though not to the same degree. The region contains many charming river towns, large and small, along its waterways including Parana, Sante Fe, Gualeguaychu, Colon and Concordia with interesting architecture and opportunities to participate in water sports.
The northeast region contains six warm-weather national parks to visit on Argentina tours: Rio Pilcomayo, Chaco, Mburucuya, Iguazu, Pre-Delta and El Palmar. Though getting to the region's most popular sight, Iguazu National Park, requires a ninety-minute flight or a sixteen-hour bus ride from the capital, it attracts many international visitors on Argentina tours since it is considered one of the world's most beautiful places. Four of Southern Explorations' Argentina Patagonia tours also visit Iguazu Falls (Iguazu Falls & Patagonia, Patagonia Hiking Exploration, Patagonia Hiking & Iguazu Falls and Patagonia Lakes & Iguazu Falls. In addition, Southern Explorations offers a three-day Iguazu Falls Tour Extension that may be added to any Argentina tour. The tour extension includes a two-night stay in accommodations within the park, guided tours of the falls, entrance fees and some meals.
The northeast region also contains other protected areas. The private 1,850-acre ecological reserve, Yacutinga Lodge, is located an hour east of Iguazu National Park and is home to an abundance of wildlife species with a captive breeding program for capybaras. Rivaling the Pantanal and the Amazon, Corrientes Province's Ibera estuary (Esteros del Ibera) is a 32,000-acre natural reserve for forty mammal species, thirty-five different amphibians, eighty fish species and between 250 and 300 species of birds. Its 24,550-acre lagoon, Laguna Ibera, is internationally protected. In nearby Mercedes, visitors on Argentina tours flock to pay homage to the shrine of gaucho folk hero, Antonio Gill, who before being hung for his Robin Hood ways, predicted illness would be cured of those who prayed for his soul. The region contains several hot springs including those of Presidencia Roque Saenz Pena in Chaco Province. Water sports along the region's many rivers are popular.
During their 150 years in Argentina, the Jesuits built many settlements in the northeast region, albeit less elaborate than those of Cordoba in the center of the country. The northeast settlements are located in Misiones Province which is named for them and adjacent Corrientes Province. The best preserved of Argentina's Jesuit past is the Misiones village of San Ignacio Mini. The nearby home of Argentine writer Horacio Quiroga (1878-1937), whose work reflects the region, is now a museum.
Other Jesuit sites to see on Argentina tours in and around the town of Posadas include Santa Ana and Loreto as well as Trinidad and Jesus across the border in Paraguay.
If you are traveling to the northeast on Argentina tours in February, you’ll be able to take in one of Argentina’s biggest carnival events, the colorful El Carnaval del Pais in the colonial river resort town of Gualeguaychu in Entre Rios Province. While in the area, you may tour a factory where gourds of the calabash tree are cured, dyed and decorated to make cups for Argentina’s national beverage, mate, and visit some of the other picturesque riverside towns. Mid-June's Flag Week is big in the region since it is here in the Santa Fe city of Rosario where the Flag National Monument is located because it is the burial place of General Manuel Belgrano who designed Argentina's flag. June also brings swimmers from around the world to the northeast region to compete in the annual 88-km swim marathon on the Parana River. In mid-November, between the cities of Corrientes and Formosa, the annual week-long Fiesta de Rio takes place consisting of a nighttime religious procession on Rio Paraguay, a unique sight to include on Argentina tours to the area.