The best option to enjoy and discover our jungle after visiting Iguassu Falls
Two hours from the world famous Iguassu Falls, Yacutinga Lodge and it’s wild life refuge, is located deep in the pristine part of the Misiones jungle, almost entirely surrounded by the upper Iquazu river, – the same river that curves through the Nataional Parks of Argentina and Brazil, and continues to flow southward to form a gigantic horseshoe, that becomes the majestic waterfalls. Listed by the World Tourism Organisation as one of the top 60 ecotourism locations worldwide, Yacutinga protects 570 hectacres of land, one of the richest and most exuberant ecosystems in South America.
This green forest by day and copper forest at sunset, with its water and densely contrasting Misiones red soil, reveals the excellent state of conservation of the reserve, that has hardly felt the impact of agriculture and livestock expansion; mainly due to the use of high standards in sustainable tourism.
With the help of the Wildlife Foundacion of Argentina, Yacutinga has a ‘Biological Station’where the program development is based on sustainable use of nature, that in addition to the sciencific progress, allows a better understanding of nature, and why it is necessary to preserve it. Thus, Yacutinga is positioned as one of the axes of the “Green Doorways of Misiones” and the more authentic ecotourism locations in Argentina.
Its deep forests of native trees, lianas, orchids, and impressive sounds of nature, is the home of several species of plants and animals, such as the Palms and Rosewood. Also conserved, a third of the country’s bird population, that coexist in perfect harmony with colorful toucans and more than 570 species of butterflies. (Among them, one new to science).
At Yacutinga, the immeasurable force of nature touches the tourists that come together from around the world with the expectation of seeing the miracle of life itself. Delight, respect, admiration, and a strong magical feeling that leaves you wordless, is repeated with each experience. It is what everyone wants to hear and to watch, the dance of life that nutures butterflies, toucans, reptiles, monkeys, and tiny insects that swarm a fog by the thick green; between drops, glitter and rainbows, lights and shadows.
This eco-tourist resort, is a display of style and creativity, ensuring that the architecture “nests” among the lush vegetation. It is therefore, only 4 hectacres were used for constructing the lodge area, achieving an exceptional management of surface and land use. Amongst the green, the lodge is a comfortable refuge in complete harmony with the environment. The buildings, with soft, rounded lines, accompanied by natural terrain slopes, blend in perfectly with the environment. Materials collected from the site, such as rocks and fallen trees were included in the design, strenghtening the conservation philosophy of the enterprise.
The main building is immersed in a palm forest which together with other native trees form a particular garden. The thick vines that cover the lodge, continually reminds you that Yacutinga is made from nature. Located here is also the reception, restaurant, a terrace bar, and a lounge area. The rooms are large, and are exquisitely decorated with displays of insects, butterflies, and collections of tools belonging to the tribes that formerly inhabited the region. The big windows, offer a panoramic view of the highly endangered jungle in all of its glory, and creates an atmosphere of relaxation and comtemplation; meanwhile the slight noise of water flowing from the slopes to the pool, where a doexn butterflies fly.
A series of paths lead to the cottages, that are lined by trees that soften the sunlight.
The rooms are a haven of freshness when the sun sets, and in the evenings and cool mornings of winter, the cold could be the perfect excuse to light a romatic fire in the hearth and listen to the sounds of the jungle that come alive when the sun goes down and night falls. In the morning, with the first light of day, it is possible that a woodpecker will be pecking announcing that it is time for breakfast.
In the Jungle
Those who want to live this experience participate in a diversity of activities guided by ecologists and native Guarani people. All of the guides have a high level of training in the interpretation of nature and its processes. Throughout Yacutinga’s 22 kilometers of trails, walks become a true experience of knowledge and enjoyment of one of the most important wildlife sanctuaries in the the world, the Paranaense or Misiones jungle.
Each step there is a living being, from a magical dragonfly to a curious mammal, that at any time come together in the trails, and share their home with visitors, whether it be a rodent or a mischievous monkey Capuchino or Carayá, that uses its loud voice to mark its territory. Here, the nature lover travels deep into the jungle, enjoying the great biodiversity that ancestral trees generate, while observing toucans and guan, trogons and woodpeckers- there are more than 320 registered bird species on the Yacutinga Reserve.
In the Water
Another option is the navagation of kayaks on the upper Iguaxu river or on the San Francisco stream, these are the waters surrounding the Yacutinga Reserve.
Without a doubt, this is a challenge to the senses of the viewer. These running waters are autherntic corridors of life and it is common to find tracks and traces of wildlife along the muddy shores. At first sight, the guides will show you how to read and understand the behavior of the animals, that they seem to understand- much better than people-, this is a delicate and perfect natural balance.
For the more adventurous, it is possible to take a night walk through the forest or go for a stroll through one of the marshes on the reserve, where the humidity offers the best condition for the development of life.
As the sunsets, toucans return to their nests to shelter their young, and within minutes the night falls like a dark blanket and the jungle sounds multiply. Meanwhile, the visitor can hear that other forms of life are beginning to wake-up in this green universe and sounds that never sleep.
It is hard to believe that once the second largest jungle in South America, with its superior natural beauty, today suffers from threat of extinction.
Due to the agricultural frontier expansion and forest exploitation, in only 50 years more than 60 percent of the original forest has been replaced by crops and farms; the native trees, pines and eucalyptus, providing fast growing timber that was later cleared. Added to this is the change in the dynamics of rivers caused by the installation of dams, sedimentation, illegal hunting and occupation of land, social inequalities and lack of awareness among the population. All these factors are increasing the fragmentation of the forest and its consequent limitation on the ability to not properly disperse seeds, as well as compromising the the genetics of native fauna.
Clearly the result may be irreversible, harming the quality of water, the chemistry of the streams and rivers accelerating the disappearance of plant and animal species, which benefits us in many ways, but mainly provides us with nutrients. Much of the jungle is still undiscovered or investigated, and according to experts, biologists, at this rate in less than 20 years the jungle will only be able to be declared as protected air. This means the Iguazú National Park, the Misiones Parks, the Yacutinga Reserve and a few other minor reserves will no longer exist.
In this context, Yacutinga is one of the only guardians of the last remaining remanents of this ecosystem know as the Interior Atlantic Forest.
The invitation then, is to come to the site to learn, understand, care for and perserve the nature and its inhabitants; and thus build bridges of love and commitment. And even if what has been lost cannot be recovered, the challenge is to preserve what remains, the source that guarantees our existence on earth.
Yacutinga Lodge, Reserva Privada de vida silvestre – Misiones – Argentina