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San Ignacio Mission ruins

Make your way to the lost world of the Mission of San Ignacio and familiarise yourself the ruins of this Jesuit outpost in Argentina’s far north.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* Come face to face with a painful past that many like to sweep under the rug

* Meander around the magnificent mines of Wanda

* Set your eyes on a stunning collection of semi-precious stones

The highlight of this truth telling tour is by far the ruined mission of San Ignacio Mini, which together with three other missions and one across the border in Brazil make up a Unesco World Heritage Site. It was originally built solely as a refuge by the Guarani people and for the Guarani people to protect them from slave traders. Dating back to around 400 years ago when slave masters would kidnap them and sell them to Portuguese colonial plantations (a harrowing tale told in the Oscar-winning movie: The Mission).

The facade of the temple was made entirely with pink sandstone in 1610 and later rebuilt by a group of scientists with an American Baroque design. It had to be restored back to its former glory due to the fact it was buried in the jungle for almost two centuries. Monuments Foundation donated $50,000 to achieve that goal and bit by bit, all the walls of this monument shone like they used to do.

Wander around this haunting complex and learn all about its history, which came to an end in 1817 when the very natives it was built to protect destroyed it a few decades after the Jesuits had abandoned it.

The tour then winds its way along to Minas de Wanda, which finds itself 25 miles away from Puerto Iguazu. At Wanda mines, learn all about this dazzling natural resource, which was discovered back in 1976. Check out the sparkling array of semi-precious stones such as agate, amethyst, aragonite, citrine, rhodochrosite and topaz. Wanda was actually the name of a Polish princess who adored gems which is where the name came from. Above all, what makes Wanda caves stand out is the fact that its open sky!

Last but not least, there will be a special stop to learn about the area’s main crop of this area: yerba mate. Visit a yerba mate dry mill where leaves are dried and broken up so that they can become Argentina’s favourite infusion. Make your way to the lost world of the Mission of San Ignacio and familiarise yourself the ruins of this Jesuit outpost in Argentina’s far north. The highlight of this truth telling tour is by far the ruined mission of San Ignacio Mini, which together with three other missions and one across the border in Brazil make up a Unesco World Heritage Site. Meeting/pick-up point: hotel Lobby. Duration: 10 to 11 hours. Start/opening time: 8am. End/closing time: At 7pm. Languages: English and Spanish.