The Wanda Mines, located less than 40 miles (60 kilometers) from Puerto Iguazu in the rain forest along the Paraná River, are home to some of the best agate, amethyst, quartz, and topaz found in Argentina. The small-scale mines don’t use heavy explosives and are an excellent place to learn more about the geological processes that form gemstones. The Basics
This productive gem mine is a popular day trip from Puerto Iguazu. Visitors can tour the mine to learn how the gemstones are formed and extracted and purchase specimens in a sizable gem shop at the end of the tour. For those who want to make a day of it, it’s possible to combine a visit to the Wanda Mines with a guided tour of the ruins of San Ignacio Mission to learn more about Argentina’s Jesuit history. Since the guided tours provided at the mine are typically in Spanish only, non-Spanish speakers might want to consider joining an English tour from Puerto Iguazu instead of visiting independently. Things to Know Before You Go
- The Wanda Mines are a popular option for families and geology enthusiasts.
- Wanda Mines and San Ignacio Mission combo day trips typically last about 10 hours.
- A tour of the mine itself lasts one to two hours.
- Hungry visitors will find an inexpensive restaurant at the mine site.
How to Get There
The Wanda Mines are located on National Route 12 in the Misiones Province, 40 miles (62 kilometers) from Puerto Iguazu. While the easiest way to get there is as part of an organized tour with round-trip transportation, you can also drive south toward Posadas from Iguazu National Park to the town of Wanda.
When to Get There
The mines are open for tours daily throughout the year, with slightly longer hours on weekends (Friday to Sunday). If you’re planning to tour the San Ignacio Mission as well, plan to visit on a day with minimal threat of rain.
The Polish History of Wanda
The colony of Wanda was founded by Polish settlers in 1936, and the mine gets its name from Princess Wanda of Poland, daughter of Krakus, the founder of Krakow. She purportedly had a fondness for gemstones.