The ‘Ruta de la Yerba Mate’ (Yerba Route) is a tourist path along Corrientes and Misiones, in Argentina. It was developed for people to see and learn about everything connected with one of the most ancient and genuine Argentine traditions: Yerba Mate. This path is regarded as unparallelled and the principal food-related route in the MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market).
The vast itinerary of the Yerba Mate Route covers a general picture of its history and origins, and access to industrial and artisan facilities to witness the manufacturing process, mate plantations, harvesting, milling, packaging, and so on. The trail also comprises tasting and gastronomy activities with top menus based on yerba mate.
The path is split into eight circuits that organise places and attractions for visitors easily. The suggested itineraries can be seen on the RYM website. Nevertheless, you can of course plan your own journey! The region offers several other possibilities too, like horseback riding, trekking, excursions to amazing landscapes and historical / cultural spots.
Unquestionably, the key steps on the Yerba Mate Route are the estates in which the top brands of yerba are cultivated and produced. Though not every yerba brand has its own plantation, many of them do and offer tasting experiences and guided tours to show the production process. Among them, we really recommend Establecimiento Las Marías, the biggest Yerba Mate producer worldwide, with thousands of acres of plantations and green areas in a well kept natural environment. Las Marías has a free walking tour and more comprehensive tours for more eager visitors. In those, you can learn about the whole production process from the plant to the packaging process, and do a vast range of activities along the day. You can also delight in one of the top culinary proposals in Corrientes, the “Club Taragüi”.
The city of the Apostles is one of key stops in the Route. There, visitors see “La Casa del Mate” (House of Mate) and the J. Szychowski Museum, to discover how yerba has evolved throughout history.
The regions of Misiones and Corrientes also have several of the most meaningful tourist spots in Argentina. Thus, along the Yerba Route you are also invited to enjoy incredible sites such as the Iguazú Falls (one of the new Seven Natural Wonders!), the Jesuit ruins of Sta. María la Mayor (recognised World Heritage Site by UNESCO), the Moconá waterfalls and, obviously, the breathtaking Ibera Wetlands, which comprise 12,000 km and a vast variety of flora and fauna.
On the Route you will see great restaurants, bars, cafés which offer traditional food but also exotic creations inspired by yerba. The Galería del Matedraws attention, with over 300 kinds of yerba alongside several tastings. Moreover, you can buy handicrafts and souvenirs. The ice cream parlour El Indiecitois a popular spot too, with its celebrated yerba mate ice cream and over 50 homemade flavours. We also recommend Tarde o Tempranocafé, which offers a Yerba Mate frappé. And for more elaborated meals, Bamboo restaurant, near Iguazú, offers a varied menu.
The Route comprises a total of 1,200 km, with over 200 businesses connected with yerba. On rutadelayerbamate.org.ar, you have all the needed information, such as the eight main circuits, to organise your travel. We always recommend wearing a comfortable outfit for the hot weather, and to contact every place beforehand to check availability and working hours. The Turismo Misiones web can help a lot too.
The Yerba Mate Route does not just let you appreciate everything connected with yerba – it gives the chance to know the local culture of Corrientes and Misiones, where there are a lot of natural and recreational places which offer activities such as hiking, horseback riding, safaris, walks, nautical and flying tours. In all of these you will be able to admire the great geography alongside its miraculous flora and fauna. A memorable experience.