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Mburucuyá

Midway between Corrientes capital and Mercedes, Ruta Provincial 13 turns off Ruta Nacional 123. The highway heads north to M’burucuyá, a 17th century village that is the cradle of chamamé music. Near the town is one of Argentina’s younger national parks, Parque Nacional M´burucuyá, with an ecosystem much like the Esteros del Iberá.

The village has two public squares; buses arrive at Plaza Mitre, a shady park surrounded by restaurants and near several hotels. Three streets away is Plaza 25 de Mayo, around which are the national park office and the municipality. On one corner is Iglesia San Antonio, a modest church with a Christ statue carved of tuyutí wood by Guaraní artisans. Since receiving a relic of Saint Anthony of Padua’s skin, the temple has become a major pilgrimage site. This patron saint is commemorated June 4-13 with processions and chamamé music.

M’burucuyá is where chamamé began, or so the locals proudly claim. The house of Eustaquio Miño, a pioneer of this musical form, is on Cabral, several blocks east of Plaza Mitre. The Museo de Chamamé has information on the genre’s development, photos and accordions of the most famous musicians (Moreno, between Astrada and Cabral). The annual Authentic Chamamé Festival, held every February, takes place at Laguna Limpia on the north edge of town. Laguna Limpia is also a balneario (swimming hole) with camping.

M´burucuyá is a popular Argentine vacation destination during December-February holidays. The main attraction is Parque Nacional M´burucuyá, named for the passionflower (in Guaraní, called m´burucuyá). This 17,000-hectare (42,008-ac) park has a broad range of ecosystems—rivers, lagoons, wetlands, palm groves and woodlands—that provide refuge for almost 300 species of bird, including the strange-tailed Tyrant and Black-and-white monjita. Parque Nacional M´burucuyá is also an important reserve for the maned wolf, crab-eating fox, and southern spectacled caiman.

The park is composed of two ranches donated by Danish botanist Dr. Troels M. Pedersen. The first is Estancia Santa María, on the banks of Arroyo Portillo. In this area live crab-eating fox, maned wolf, grey brocket deer and capybara (carpincho, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris). Further into the park is Estancia Santa Teresa, where the casco histórico (historic center), ranger station and camping (bathhouses, grills; no electricity or provisions shops; free).

There are two hiking trails at Santa Teresa: Sendero Che Roga loops through young palm groves and wetlands, home to yacaré and black howler monkeys (Distance: 2.6 km / 1.6 mi, Difficulty: easy, Duration: 1.5 hr), and Sendero Yatay leads through mature yatay palm forests to Estero Santa Lucía where terns and storks frequent. With a bit of luck, hikers can see marsh deer and long-tailed otter (Distance: 3.60 mi / 3.6 mi round trip, Difficulty: easy, Duration: 2.5 hr).

The best time of the year to come to Parque Nacional M´burucuyá is August-October when temperatures are cooler. Use closed foot wear (no sandals), as this is viper country. Keep at least 200 meters (660 ft) from any animal.

(Altitude: 232 m / 761 ft, Population 1,170, Phone Code: 03782)

Services

The village has no central tourism office. The national park office has pamphlets on the park and town. It also posts hotel and restaurant information in its window (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Belgrano 997, Tel: 54-3782-49-8907 / 54-3782-1540-5008, E-mail: mburucuya@apn.gov.ar). The Museo de Chamamé has pamphlets and maps of the city. Other village services are police (Alberdi and San Martín), Banco de Corrientes (San Martín and Astrada; ATM), post office (Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 4:30-7:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-noon. Belgrano and Cabral), Internet, hospital (San Antonio 450, Tel: 49-8087) and pharmacies.

Tours

Guías de M´burucuyá is the local gides association. It offers tours to the national park and around the village (Tel: 54-3782-1547-5151 / 54-3782-1547-5662 / 54-3782-498-127, E-mail: gabyecoturismo@yahoo.com.ar / enteturismomburucuya@hotmail.com). Sample prices are, per person: Parque M’burucuyá (from $9, 4 hours), city tour (from $6, 1.5 hr) and horseback riding ($9, 1 hour; $14, 2 hours).

Hotels

Camping Laguna Limpia (Silva and Viejo Sendero)—cold water bathhouse, grills, table, electricity, security; free

Hotel Plaza (San Martín 711)—$9 per person

Residencial Verón (Rivadavia 662, Tel: 54-3782-498-006)—$14 per person

Hospedaje Magdalena (Belgrano, near Aguirre, Tel: 54-3783-1520-9935)—1 or 2 persons $34

Restaurants

Hamburguesería y Pizzaría He-Go (San Martín, between Lavalle and Cabral, Tel: 54-3782-49-8337)

Anastasia Resto Bar (Rivadavia and Lavalle, Tel: 54-3782-49-8201)

Club Unión (Belgrano and San Martín, Tel: 54-3782-498-084)

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Other places nearby Mburucuyá: Esteros Del Iberá, Santa Fe, Santa Ana De Los Guácaras, Paraná, Itatí, Corrientes, Rosario and San Cosme.







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 Jul 2010

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