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Santa Ana De Los Guácaras

(Altitude: 33 m / 108 ft, Population: 2,942, Phone Code: 03783)

On hot afternoons, the picturesque colonial village of Santa Ana de los Guácaras seems deserted. The steady buzz of cicadas fills the air and dogs lie in the dirt streets. It was founded in 1660 as a Franciscan mission for the Guácara indigenous nation.

The small, whitewashed church, a typical provincial church of the colonial period (Monday-Friday 3-8 p.m., weekends all day) is on Plaza Santa Ana. The church's roof beams are hand-hewed. There is a statue of Saint Ann, brought from Spain, on the altar screen. On either side are statues carved by the Guácaras: Jesús Nazareno, carved from a single timbó trunk, and the Virgen Dolorosa. On the opposite side of the plaza is the Casa de la Cultura, where the tourism office has a small museum (free) and sells crafts made by local artisans (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-1 p.m., 3-8 p.m., weekends 9 a.m.-7 p.m., holidays 9 a.m.-noon, 4-7 p.m. Tel.: 49-7005, URL: www.santaanadelosguacaras.com).

Near the highway is Santa Ana’s second public square, Plaza General Belgrano, a large expanse of trees and meadow. On one side is the Museo del Tren Económico (free, Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-1 p.m., 3-8 p.m., weekends and holidays 9 a.m.-noon, 3-8 p.m.). From 1890 to 1960, its 270 kilometers (168 mi) of narrow-gauge tracks connected Corrientes' capital with small towns like Santa Ana and Mburucuyá. The museum preserves two locomotives and miscellaneous cars.

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