El Litoral Argentina: Highlights

El Litoral Argentina Highlights

Iguazú Falls

Iguazú Falls - Perhaps one of the most common reasons to visit this region or even to visit Argentina all together is undoubtedly to have a gawp at the incredible Iguazú Falls. The original inhabitants of the area were Guaranís who considered the site to be of spiritual importance and named it Iguazú which literally means 'big water'. These breathtaking waterfalls straddle the Argentina/ Brazil border and on the Argentine side they are protected by the Parque Nacional Iguazú. For more information check out our guide to the most popular National Parks in Argentina.

Rosario - Argentina's third biggest city, Rosario, plays an important role in the country's export industry as well as being a thriving arts centre. Not only does it house some of the best museums in Argentina, but its location on the River Paraná makes it perfect for enjoying coastal life and the beautiful sub tropical Delta Islands. For more information check out our page on Argentina's Rosario city.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe - This buzzing university city is the perfect place to enjoy good nightlife, good food and good company. Whilst the city was moved to its current location in the mid-seventeenth century and therefore what it lacks in original architecture is made up for by the laid back, fun atmosphere that is to be found within its streets. The city is located on the Paraná river which gives rise to lots of pretty streams and lakes and also makes it a good place to do watersports as there are lots of excursions on offer in the city. Whilst in Santa Fe a visit to the Granja la Esmeralda is definitely worthwhile as you can see a whole host of flora and fauna and the animals roam around in relatively open spaces rather than being cooped up in cages . The Convent of San Francisco is an interesting building, constructed in 1680 and it also contains a small museum with interesting religious artefacts. Santa Fe has a really good choice of restaurants and places to stay.

Corrientes - This attractive city is the capital of the Corrientes province and houses 364,500 Argentines. Founded in 1588, Corrientes is one of Argentina's oldest cities and it has retained its charm over the years, making it a lovely place to spend a few days, however, the weather can get uncomfortably hot in the summer months. The city borders the Paraná river which means there are plenty of opportunities for watersports and sport fishing. For those less energetic visitors to the city, a gentle stroll along the Avenida Costanera General San Martín or the Plaza 25 de mayo. There are several interesting museums in the city including the Museo de Bellas Artes Doctor Juan Ramón Vidal which displays local artwork and is housed in a beautiful old house. Shopping around the Calle Junín is a nice relaxed way to pick up some souvenirs on a pretty pedestrianised street. Corrientes is also famous for being the homeland of Chámame (see the Dance and Music in Argentina section for more information). This traditional style of music is especially prominent during the Festival de Chamamé which takes place during the second weekend in December. If you happen to be around in February be sure not to miss Corrientes' take on Brazil's carnivals in the Carnavales Corrientes, check out the festivals in Argentina section for more information.

Posada Argentina

Posada - Posadas marks the capital of the Misiones province and is found only a stones throw from the legendary Iguazú falls. Set within the dramatic landscape of the region, Posadas is surrounded by luscious plantations and is especially good place to sample some Argentine maté. Whilst in the town the Museo de Ciencias Naturales e Historia is definitely worth a visit, however, Posadas is most commonly used as a jumping off point en route to San Ignacio Mini.

San Ignacio Mini is the best restored example of the buildings constructed by the Jesuits during their missions around Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. It is said to have been built in 1696 and remained in use until Spain's King Carlos III kicked the Jesuits out in 1768, by which point it was inhabited by 3 million people. The ruins are extremely impressive and contain a church, school and hospital among other things. All the buildings are made from the beautiful red stone characteristic of the region which has retained its vibrant colour despite centuries of wear and tear. This is a true example of the Guaraní Barroque with elaborate ornamentation in the form of detailed carvings of angels, flora and fauna. San Ignacio and other remains of Jesuit missions Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto, Santa María Mayor and Sao Miguel das Missoes (Brazil) were named UNESCO world heritage sites in 1984.

Resistencia Argentina

Resistencia - Capital of the arid plains of the Gran Chaco province, Resistencia is a pretty place to spend a few days and is a great place to enjoy culture and the arts in Argentina. Resistencia is home to over 300 statues which can be found all over the city and which give it the apt name of 'Ciudad de esculturas' (City of sculptures). If you are here during the third week of July you can catch the National and International Wood and Scultpture Competition. Resistencia is also a good place to wonder the pretty tree lined streets and see some nice early twentieth century architecture or enjoy the varied and unusual museums including Fogón de los Arrieros complete with bar, cultural centre and museum.

Parque Nacional Chaco - Opened in 1954, this National Park protects 150 km sq of the oriental Chaco. The park contains several different ecosystems, most notably a large section of semi-deciduous forest plus some rivers and lagoons including Panza de Cabra, a popular watering hole for the animals in the park. Chaco is also home to the world's largest rodent, the Capybara (also known as the Carpincho).