Best of Mesopotamia
Gualeguaychú: Home to Argentina’s liveliest Carnaval for a few late-summer weekends, this is the country’s biggest party town. Situated on the Río Uruguay, it’s a popular riverside beach resort year-round.
Parque Nacional El Palmar: This nearly undeveloped palm savanna on the Río Uruguay offers a glimpse of Argentine Mesopotamia before the arrival of the Spaniards. Its unique environment harbors many kinds of mammals and birds.
Esteros del Iberá: The masses throng to thunderous Iguazú, but those in the know prefer the silent, wildlife-rich marshes of central Corrientes Province. This unique environment is at risk, though, from exotic forestry projects and rising water levels caused by the Yacyretá dam.
San Ignacio Miní: History lives in the vivid red ruins of Argentina’s best-preserved Jesuit mission, among many in the upper Paraná. The details were sculpted by Guaraní artisans under the tutelage of South America’s most intriguing missionary order.
Parque Nacional Iguazú: One of the continent’s greatest natural sights, Iguazú Falls makes Niagara look like a leaky faucet. For a unique perspective, avoiding the crowds, schedule your visit for the full moon—it’s more magical under moonlight.
Monumento Nacional a la Bandera: In Rosario (perhaps Argentina’s most underrated city), this huge monument pays tribute to the Argentine flag and its designer, Manuel Belgrano.
Parque Nacional Chaco: If crossing the Chaco to or from Salta, take a detour to sample the flora and fauna of the humid eastern region in this haven of forest and wetlands.
Parque Nacional Río Pilcomayo: In little-visited Formosa Province, this park of shallow, shimmering waters along the Paraguayan border is an overlooked gem.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition