Jesuit Misiones - one of the objectives of the Spanish conquering and colonizing in America was the Evangelization of the numerous indigenous people. With great effort and sacrifice with the aim of Evangelization, the priests of the Jesus Company founded 30 towns; 7 in Brazil, 8 in Paraguay and 15 in Argentina, of which 11 were in the territory of the Province of Misiones. We saw lots of bricks and that is all I feel I need to say on the subject as you are probably bored already and we had 1.5 hours of it!!
Now for the great bit...Iguazu Falls (Igu = big, azu = water, in the native Indian language)
A day-trip was all very well organized for us to see the Falls on the Argentinean side. We started with a 8Km jeep ride through the Yacaratia trail in the sub-tropical jungle. The difference between this sub-tropical jungle and the tropical jungle in Ecuador is that here they experience 2-3 days a year of frost. This consequently results in a canopy of approx 30m in height as opposed to 50m, and less varieties of wildlife. This 55,000 hectare forest was also secondary forest, in that the virgin forest has been cut down and new ones grown. In this National Park, which receives 66,000 visitors per year, there are 2000+ identified plant species, 4000 bird species and countless insects with supposedly 5 jaguars roaming free - we never saw one!
We then took a speed boat for a 6Km navigation through the lower Iguazu river with 2Km on rapids. Fortunately it was a very hot day, and we were driven under a number of the falls - all were soaked but very refreshed! The Iguazu Falls is famous for being the widest in the world with Angel Falls being the tallest and Niagra the widest in the northern hemisphere. In southern Brazil, the Rio Iguazu passes over a basalt plateau which ends just above its confluence with the Parana. Where the lava stopped, at least 5000m3 per sec plunge 70m into the sedimentary terrain below. The 275 falls that cascade over the precipice contribute to the 3Km wide falls. The awesome semicircular Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat) is reached by catwalks. In recent floods these catwalks were all destroyed when the falls experienced increased water levels of 18,000m3 per sec. We were very, very lucky and the new catwalks opened the day we arrived!!
The rest of the day was spent walking trails to see the falls from all angles in a very organized fashion. The following day we traveled over to Brazil and saw them from the other side and with slightly less favourable weather.
Janine also graduated to the grand old age of 30, so having decorated the outdoor eating area we had a drink or two in celebration!