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El Soberbio

(Altitude: 184 m / 598 ft, Population: 3732, Phone Code: 03755)

Iguazú may be one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, but it has a cousin lying deep in the jungles of Misiones Province, rivaling it for uniqueness. Tucked in the Reserva de Biósfera Yabotí are Saltos del Moconá on the Río Uruguay. They are the only transversal cascades in the world. Getting to this corner of Misiones is an adventure well worth undertaking.

Paved Ruta Nacional 14 runs across the central highlands of Misiones Province. Tea and yerba mate plantations blanket the land. At San Vicente (110 km / 67 mi), Ruta Provincial 13 heads south to El Soberbio on the banks of Río Uruguay (60 km / 36 mi). Farms give way to cultivations that satisfy the other great addiction of Argentines: tobacco.

As the provincial highway enters El Soberbio, it becomes Avenida Rivadavia. Many blond-haired, blue-eyed people walk the streets, seeking shade beneath the tarps strung in front of shops. The Lutheran church lends a clue to the ancestry of El Soberbio's populace. The grandparents of many locals came to the region from Germany during and just after World War II (the village's official founding dates to 1946). The local dialect is another characteristic that sets El Soberbio apart from the rest of Argentina. Here many speak portunhol, a mix of Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. Indeed, many Brazilians take the frequent balsas across the river to shop here. Friday and Saturday mornings are especially busy with the Feria Franca farmers market down near grassy Plaza San Martín.

El Soberbio is in the heart of agricultural lands and Paranaense jungle. Besides tobacco, the natural insect repellent citronella is an important crop, hence the town's nickname National Capital of Essences. In mid-May the town hosts the Fiesta Nacional de Esencias.

Avenida Rivadavia ends at Avenida Costanera, a shaded lane along the riverfront. At the right end is the port from where passenger-auto balsas cross the Río Uruguay to Porto Soberbo, Brazil. To the left, the costanera is lined with several pubs and homes with fantastic views.

The weather in El Soberbio is warm year round. The coolest and driest months are March and April, though rains occur most of the year. Some days the heat and humidity build until they crack into torrential thunderstorms; streets become raging rivers. To cool off in this tropical climate, many locals slip off to the nearby balnearios. At the entrance of town, a road goes to Balneario La Planchada and Balneario El Plata (9 a.m.-dusk, $0.50), two swimming holes located along the creek, Arroyo Soberbio.

The biggest reason people come to this steamy rural border post is to visit Saltos del Moconá, said to be the world's only longitudinal waterfalls. These impressive three-kilometer-long (1.8-mile) cascades are protected by Parque Provincial Moconá, in the middle of Reserva de Biósfera Yabotí. The falls are accessible by raft or by land.

Services


Businesses are on Avenida Rivadavia and San Martín. The Provincial Tourism Office post is next to the Lutheran Church, but it is often closed (Rivadavia 691, Tel.: 44-1001). Other services in town are police (Rivadavia 268, Tel.: 49-5090), Gendarmería Nacional (Rivadavia 781, Tel.: 49-5298), Banco Macro (500-block San Martín; ATM), post office (Rivadavia 278), several phone centers, a few Internet cafés with unreliable connections, a hospital (Chivilacoy s/n, Tel.: 49-5090) and pharmacies.

Tour Operators

  • Tourism Aventura (Moreno 433, Tel.: 1531-9480, E-mail: aventurasmocona@hotmail.com) – 4x4 jeep trips; German and Portuguese spoken.

The following offer boating excursions up Río Uruguay to Saltos del Moconá (4 hours, $41; includes transport and guide). All will put groups together. As soon as you arrive in town, visit each to see who has a tour ready for the next day (especially in the low season). Weather conditions can affect departures and high river levels diminish chances of seeing the falls. Boats leave from Puerto Paraíso.

  • Yabotí Turismo (Avenida Costanera s/n, Tel.: 49-5266 / 1565-2853, E-mail: mocona4x4@yahoo.com.ar, URL: www.yabotiturismo.com.ar / www.yabotiturismo.tur.ar) – boat trip, minimum 3 persons; fishing, rafting, 4x4 and other excursions
  • Alto Uruguay Turismo (Avenida Rivadavia 620, Tel.: 49-5198 / 49-5349, E-mail: altouruguayturismo@yahoo.com.ar, URL: www.altouruguayturismo.com.ar) – boat trip, minimum 5 persons; also trips to indigenous villages ($21) and 4x4 expeditions
  • Saltos del Moconá (San Martín, across from the Catholic church, Tel.: 49-5010, E-mail: info@saltosdelmoconaevt.com.ar, URL: www. saltosdelmoconaevt.com.ar)

Hotels

  • Hospedaje Colono (Avenida Corrientes and Mitre, near bus terminal) – $7 per person
  • Hotel Familiar Messer (Rivadavia 536, Tel.: 49-5191, E-mail: casamesser@hotmail.com) – with fan $11 per person, with air conditioning $14 per person; parking
  • Hotel Los Abuelos (Moreno 576, Tel.: 49-5365, E-mail: arielfabro@hotmail.com.ar, URL: www.losabueloshotel.com.ar) – low season: fan $14 per person, air conditioning $17 per person; high season: fan $17 per person, air conditioning $20 per person; includes breakfast, parking

About a half-dozen campgrounds operate in El Soberbio. On average they charge $2.25 per person per day, plus a one-time $2.25 tent charge. Those open all year are:

  • San Jorge (Ruta Provincial 13, Km 2, Tel.: 49-5238)
  • Agro Camping Heimat Landt (Ruta Provincial 13, Km 18, Tel.: 1565-1491) – also has cabañas
  • Don Mario (Avenida Corrientes 277, Tel.: 49-5010 / 49-5184) – also has cabañas

Restaurants

  • Peixeria Nelson e Neca (200-block San Martín)
  • Restaurant Portal del Moconá (San Martín 495, Tel.: 1544-3152)
  • Restaurant Don Enrique (Rivadavia and San Martín)

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Other places nearby El Soberbio : Posadas, Montecarlo, San Ignacio and Oberá.







By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

08 Dec 2010

Things to do in El Soberbio

Reserva De Biósfera Yabotí And Saltos Del Moconá

At El Soberbio\'s Plaza San Martín, the intersection of Avenida Rivadavia with Avenida San Martín is marked by a tall pole topped with an Argentine flag. Turning left onto San Martín Avenue is the ...
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El Soberbio , Argentina
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