Woodland, woodland and more woodland. And in the centre, a sophisticated oasis to enjoy nature in full comfort in a glamping with, ten exclusive rooms and an infinity swimming pool that blends into the horizon with the Paraná River. At eight kilometers from the city of Puerto Iguazú and a few meters from the Paraná River, a new option for sustainable tourism arises in connection with the Iguazú Falls, the main attraction of Misiones.
This is a different proposal, designed for those who enjoy contact with nature, listening to birds sing and the calmness of watching an ancient river that cuts the rainforest between Argentina and Paraguay in half. It also offers a new attraction point for those who visit the majestic Falls. The glamping is located on the banks of the Paraná River, a few meters from the border with Puerto Peninsula Provincial Park and in front of Iguazú National Park. Eighteen thousand hectares of rainforest surround the f 22 hectares of the new hotel, with its own hiking trails, zip lines and rappel activities for the most daring.
Each cabin accommodates two people with full comfort. Thanks to their polypropylene insulation, they resist heat and cold. A huge bed dominates the censer of the scene. When you open the door, the rainforest is right at your fingertips. It almost caresses the individual balcony reserved to enjoy the best sunset views.
Everything is designed to encourage disconnection from the daily hustle and bustle. The ten cabins are hidden along paths marked by animal footprints that roam the area. And they are identified with their names. Lighting is automated to preserve the darkness of the rainforest without getting lost in the green nooks and crannies.
Gastronomy, another key point of the offer. The food is gourmet style, but with flavours that are very characteristic of Misiones’ cuisine. From the mbeju to river fish, empanadas of palmetto hearts and tortas fritas, all served with tea from Misiones or fruit juice. The local element is present in the food purchased from local producers or the Guaraní who sell their handicrafts in the area.
The sight to behold, thoughtfulness, wander without haste, are the distinctive characteristics of this new tourist offer. In addition to the swimming pool overlooking the Paraná River, there will be a deck to enjoy a snack or a drink with a unique view of the rainforest landscape.
Glamping is a new way of tourism. And it arrived in Misiones to stay. In Puerto Iguazú, the pioneer is Patricia Durán. This tourism entrepreneur is characterized by innovation. Her first venture was the lodges, and then she innovated again with El Pueblito, a colonial-style hotel. Everything is connected with timing and the destination. The business group that she leads employs more than 300 people directly. More than 40 will work in the glamping resort alone.
“Glamping offers, beyond the experience of being in the middle of the Misiones’ rainforest, the possibility of wandering along streams, cascades and waterfalls. You can collect native fruits of the Misiones’ rainforest and also be part of the cuisine, a cooking experience with our chefs. In addition, something that we love, is bird watching, for those who are willing to get up a little earlier to see all the fauna and flora at dawn. And why not at night, those wonderful nights full of fireflies, contemplating the universe, and since there are no lights, absolutely nothing, and in total stillness, enjoy looking at the stars that enlighten us from the above. Campfires are also organized, as well as different types of meditation classes, with the aim to find yourself, your inner being, in particular”, Durán explains in an interview with Economis.
The businesswoman assures that the new proposal has a sense of sustainability and connection with nature. “I love things that are not yet available in the area, because to be the arrow tip in a destination, one has to start, despite the fact that sometimes there are fears. When we started with the lodge, there were no lodges, and our dream was that our destination would be sought after by foreigners, by Argentinians, due to our rainforest, and our local culture. Then we built the first theme hotel, which embodies the spirit of our people. Later, the botanical house, an experience house, a typical house from Misiones that welcomes all the tourists who come to visit it, exhibiting works of art by our great artists, some who passed away but left us a piece of their history”, she explains.
What was the reception of this proposal of rainforest glamping in Iguazú?
Glamping will soon be open for tourists. We really have a lot of inquiries, people ask when it will open and although we did not set a date, we believe that by the end of April it will be ready for all tourists who come to visit us. But the first ones we are going to invite are the people from Misiones, because thanks to them we began to work in the pandemic, they were the first tourists to believe in us and return to enjoy tourism in our destination.
And how is the activity now, we used to talk about recovery and now growth, what is the reality of the sector?
We can say that the activity has recovered. In January and February, we thought that we were delayed, but we are now having “last minute” tourists, that is, yesterday we had nothing and tomorrow we are full. What is happening with technology is incredible, that everyone out there may decide to travel, take a flight and has a reservation in no time. There is a large number of tourists that come from the operator, another thing is the tourist who likes to book by himself, but most of those who are arriving at our destination are last minute ones.
Do you see any change in the tourist, in tourist consumption after the pandemic?
I love your question, because we always talk about the water that falls, it is not the water that falls but the depth and breadth of the destination, behind it there is a rainforest, there are animals, there are lives. And everyone wants to get to know it. Tourists want to know where the food comes from, who brought it, who harvested it, who is cooking it, what it tastes like, what blend was made. Tourists became more curious than ever. And that fascinates us, because that is what tourism really means, when you meet another person from our destination and learn what you were unaware of. And what happened after the pandemic is something fantastic, much deeper, especially with regard to culture and nature.
We no longer talk about visiting a hotel, but about living an experience…
That is exactly what all tourists are looking for.
And is that what you have to bet on? Does Misiones have to go that way?
As we know, our entire province is beautiful, that seems to me to be our challenge: that all new ventures have to go that way. I do not conceive Misiones with a hotel with 500 rooms and all-inclusive.
Durán does not stop investing. She has several projects in progress. One of them will soon open its doors, in about two months, as a new attraction for a city that is constantly on the move. It will be called El Mercadito de la Selva. “It’s a market that I really encourage everyone to visit when it’s ready. I was very inspired by markets worldwide, where you can get different local products in one place. For example, here in Misiones, we are going to have all the options available from our local producers so you can take whatever you want with you. When you arrive and try a typical regional meal you end up saying ‘I want to take this cheese with me, it seems so delicious, where does it come from? I want it. So, you can take fish, a jam or a handicraft.”
“I love sustainability. I do not think about results, I think about my dream, which is what leads me to do these things and those who dream make their purpose in life that can be replicated in society, and tourism, with the multiplier effect that it always has, will do very well. Our company is 35 years old, and we are really a work team where we are all enthusiastic about what we do”, stated Durán.
T.N.: Mbeju is a starch cake sometimes made with fariña or cassava flour typical of Paraguay.
T.N.: Empanadas are a Spanish or Latin-American pastry turnover filled with savory ingredients that are either baked or fried.
T.N.: A torta frita is a crispy round fried dough, sometimes tossed in sugar, and served with mate for an afternoon snack.
Traductor: Daira Dos Santos
Revisor: Norma Andrada
Tecnicatura Universitaria en Traducción e Interpretación en Inglés
UCAMI – Universidad Católica de las Misiones