July 29, 2012
JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images
The Iguazu River, which cascades spectacularly over basalt cliffs, divides Misiones, Argentina's northeasternmost province, from Brazil.
Colin Barraclough for the Boston Globe
In remote Misiones, human settlement is scant, limited to a few lonely pioneers who eke out a living by planting tea, bananas, and tobacco.
About a million people live in Misiones, one the smallest of Argentina's 23 provinces.
Misiones gets its name from the many missions, such as San Ignacio Mina, established by the Jesuits during colonial times.
Originally home to Guarani tribes, Misiones is now the turf of gauchos, or Argentine cowboys.
Settlers cleared much of the province's original forest, but 4,250 square miles are still preserved in a string of wildlife reserves.
Lianas fall from the canopy and epiphytes and philodendrons coat every exposed trunk and branch in what's left of the old-growth jungle.
It's common to see blond-haired, blue-eyed villagers throughout Misiones, thanks to a 20th century migration of Poles, Germans, and Ukrainians.
This particular South American rattlesnake is kept as a pet by a Misiones farmer, Juan Podkowa.
At Misiones' Don Enrique Lodge, each cabin opens to a private, waterside veranda.
Tacuapa Lodge's battered Isuzu takes visitors crashing through dense brush and across rivers and arroyos.
Guide Fidel Ramirez used a machete to clear the path.
Ramirez scanned the dense boughs of tropical cedar, earpod, and rosewood trees in search of birds.
The black-throated trogon is one of the Misiones jungle's shyest birds.
This black-throated trogon was summoned from the forest's densest recesses by Fidel Ramirez.
The black-breasted plovercrest is a spectacular hummingbird topped with a purple crown.
In the jungle, the band-tailed manakin is often heard but rarely seen.
A white woodpecker.