Parque Nacional El Palmar

Iguazú Falls & the Northeast

On the west bank of the Río Uruguay, midway between Colón and Concordia, 8500-sq-km Parque Nacional El Palmar preserves the last extensive stands of yatay palm on the Argentine littoral. In the 19th century the native yatay covered large parts of Entre Ríos, Uruguay and southern Brazil, but the intensification of agriculture, ranching and forestry throughout the region destroyed much of the palm savanna.

Reaching a maximum height of about 18m, with a trunk diameter of 40cm, the larger specimens clustered throughout the park create a striking and soothing subtropical landscape that lends itself to photography. The grasslands and the gallery forests along the watercourses shelter much wildlife.

Park admission (valid for 48 hours) is collected at the entrance from 7am to 10pm, but those spending the night in the park will be given a card that permits after hours access if you want to come and go.

Facilities are 12km from the highway entrance down a good dirt road. Here, the visitor center has displays on natural history; you can organize canoeing, cycling and horseback-riding trips. Roads lead off the main access road to three viewpoints. Arroyo Los Loros, a short distance north of the campground, is a good place to observe wildlife. South of the visitor center is Arroyo El Palmar, a pleasant stream accessed at two viewpoints, La Glorieta and El Palmar. These have short marked trails; the latter has a birdwatching hide. There are three other short trails near the visitor center, and another hide by the river. Visitors are free to explore the trails on their own; guided walks are available by prior arrangement. There is river access for swimming and boating from the campground.

The only way to sleep inside the park is in a tent in the dedicated zone. Ubajay has a variety of basic, cheap lodgings.There's a restaurant in the park next to the visitor center as well as a small shop selling sandwiches and basic supplies.

El Palmar is on RN 14, a major national highway, with frequent north–south bus services. Most buses will drop you at the park entrance, 12km from the visitors center, but double-check with the driver as it's technically prohibited. You could walk or hitchhike from here or else get off 6km north at Ubajay, from where a remise will cost you around AR$300 to the visitors center.

The easiest way to get here is by tour from Colón. You can also charter a remise from Colón: a return trip plus two hours at the park, covering all the trails, costs AR$850 (up to four people). Remises Palmares is recommended.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Iguazú Falls & the Northeast attractions

1. Visitor Center

0.06 MILES

The Visitor Center has displays on natural history, including a small reptile house, and offers video screenings throughout the day.