Arriving back on Argentine soil in Posadas, we were met by the lovely L who was to be our couchsurfing host. This was my first couchsurfing experience and I was a little apprehensive but it really wasn’t necessary, it turned out great! Josephina had done it before and really put my nerves at rest.
*If you’re feeling a bit lost just read the previous post EN ROUTE TO IGUAZU – PARAGUAY
We were greeted at the bus station with a big sign with our names on it and after i.ntroductions we were off on yet another bus to L’s house where we met his sister and daughter. It was really a lovely experience and definitely not one that would have been possible in a hostel atmosphere. They cooked us some traditional food from the region and we spent the evening chatting on the roof and comparing lives. Even discovered that there are a few women’s rugby teams in the city!
The next day was Sunday so everything was closed but we still had a little wonder around the main square and cathedral. Afterwards we went to a wonderful little gallery and then off to the costanera (the coast) to admire the view. From this side we could see Encarnación, Paraguay where we had been the day before. There was also a giant Guarani warrior monument that was erected recently to symbolically protect the city. It faces inwards towards the city and its imposing stature is really impressive. Definitely not a sight to be missed on a visit to Posadas.
Then after goodbyes we headed back to the bus station for another bus to the Jesuit ruins of Santa Ana and San Ignacio Mini! As we approached the bus station a few hagglers approached us asking where we were going and before we knew it we were being ushered onto a bus without even having stepped a single food into the station. Cue the freezing air conditioning (which all buses in Argentina have) which for once I was thankful for as it was pretty hot outside. We were dropped off on the side of the road and after we finally found somewhere to eat and had explained that no we didn’t want any meat, and that salad would be fine to a bemused waiter, we were off on a little walk to the first Argentine ruins.
The sun was really beating it down and as I hadn’t brought any type of head protection I improvised with what I had and this was the charming result; Josephina and I picture perfect!
We had tourist written all over ourselves as some local children kindly pointed out, but safety first. The sun here is A LOT stronger than in Europe!
Santa Ana was amazing! It was so different to its orderly Paraguayan counterparts that it was kind of a relief. The man at the desk let us leave our bags with him so we could explore more freely and explore we did. Santa Ana is all overgrown and covered in bushes and looks much more like ruins should look like with nature growing around the remnants of the Jesuit mission buildings. Finding a little bit of respite under the shade of the tree, we explored everywhere and came across our first wild iguana! It was so exciting and I even managed to capture it on film wriggling through the grass!
Santa Ana was by far my favourite mission as it was so secluded and still so natural, it hasn’t been made into a giant tourist attraction yet. There were animals everyone and I honestly could have spent hours there.
Our explorations were short-lived though as we had a schedule to keep to in order to see San Ignacio Mini and catch our bus in the early evening.
So we trundled back down the main road hoping to catch a bus on its way to San Ignacio. San Ignacio Mini is the Jesuit mission ruins which can be found in the small town of San Ignacio. No luck with the buses but we did manage a little hitchhike and before we knew it we were walking up the hill to the last of the Jesuit ruins on our itinerary.
The San Ignacio Mini ruins were the most touristy ruins we had encountered with busloads of people arriving and leaving the site. However, they were also the most informative as you have to pass through a little museum detailing the history of the missions and the Guarani people before you can access the ruins.
We explored the ruins and enjoyed the calmness, as despite all the buses, there weren’t that many other tourists. There were also guided tours, but in true Argentine form nobody would tell us when they actually started so we just wandered around ourselves and made friends with the stray dogs.
Then down the hill we went, crossed the main road to the bus station and our 5 hour bus journey awaited us. Next stop, Puerto Iguazu!