Argentina has a clear identity: tango, Malbec, polo, glaciers. And then comes Misiones.

“Misiones, the country’s second-smallest province, is Argentina’s big anomaly,” writes journalist Maria Shollenbarger in HTSI Magazine, one of the supplements of the Financial Times. 

The Iguazú falls just 15 minutes away from Awasi’s property. Photo: MIGUEL CESAR

Most visitors to Misiones are attracted by the world-famous Iguazu Falls. Saving the most iconic to last, Shollenbarger travelled with Christopher Wilmott-Sitwell of UK travel company cazenove+loyd who “had a different proportion: drive across the province, south to north, experiencing it in human terms.”   

The idea was to give context to this part of Argentina, to understand how the region’s history, culture and identity developed.

Exploring the area around Iguazu with your Awasi private guide

“…after hours of traversing rolling jungle-covered hills, I’m delivered to Iguazu, and Awasi,” writes Shollenbarger. “The quality of the guides the lodge had dispatched to accompany me on my drive north [from the Missionary Settlements to Awasi] was impressive, and the reputation of this micro-chain of lodges had proceded it in all the best ways.”

As we prioritise the level of service at Awasi, our guides and entire team are the beating heart of what makes the Awasi Experience. You may like to take a look at We are Not Back.

Each villa at Awasi Iguazu has a private plunge pool – Photo by Susette Kok

Indulgent allocations of personal space

“…despite perilously high expectation,” continues Shollenbarger, “Awasi Iguazu hit every last mark. This is not as much to do with the pitch-perfect design of the lodge itself – though perfect, to my mind, is it, marrying the rusticity of rough limed wood with the refinement of plunge pools, ceramic-clad bathrooms, beautiful farmed botanicals, huge netted king beds and indulgent allocations of personal space – as it does with Awasi’s experiential focus.” 

Indeed, Shollenbarger hits the nail on the head: experiences have always been at the heart of the Awasi concept. From the outset, our lodges have given a dedicated guide and private vehicle to each room, thus ensuring the experience is personalised and moulded to the interests of each individual guest.

We offer Awasi guests the option of visiting the Jesuit Missionary Ruins as a full-day excursion from the lodge, but in the case of Shollenbarger they visited en route as they explored the entire province.

A 3-hour drive from Awasi Iguazu, these UNESCO World Heritage Sites are worth the drive if you are interested in culture or archeology.

Intrigued to explore both sides of the region – the falls and beyond – Maria Shollenbarger notes how the Awasi guides “have established relationships in the various surrounding parks and reserves, some of them private, so as to provide their guests with exclusive excursions into the extraordinary Interior Alto Parana Atlantic Forest that defines northern Misiones, home to thousands of endemic animals, birds, insects and flora found nowhere else.”

Our chef and kitchen team use local and endemic ingredients such as the pitanga berry

Extraordinary and unexpected

“After each excursion was the promise of excellent food at the lodge, a craft cocktail at the bar, a massage in your villa or a fascinating chat with any one of the dynamic young guides,” says Shollenbarger.

“But I discovered that solitude is the best conduit to what’s irreproducible about Awasi, and about Misiones too: standing on the patio alone in the last of the daylight, the forest almost overwhelms with what was unseen heard and what was unheard imagined – toucan and ocelot, coati and capuchin monkeys, perhaps even an elusive jaguar; the immensity of life here in tutus corner of Argentina, like the richness of its history, extraordinary and unexpected.”

These are just a few lines from the extensive article titled “Secret Misiones”.

Awasi Iguazu is a 14-villa Relais & Chateaux lodge in Northern Argentina, just 15 minutes from the Iguazu Falls. As outlines by Shollenbarger, we offer many excursions in and around the region, highlighting the biodiversity and rich culture of the area.

“In an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. And in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.” – Pico Iyer