Santa Ana


At Santa Ana, which was founded in 1633 but moved here in 1660, dense forest has been partially removed to reveal a settlement that had over 7000 Guaraní inhabitants at its peak. The enormous 140-sq-meter plaza attests to its importance. The muscular church’s thick walls and surrounding photogenic strangler figs lend a dramatic effect to what must have been a magnificent building, though none of its decorative embellishments remain. The cemetery, used into the latter half of the 20th century, is now neglected.

On the left side as you enter the main plaza you'll spot the ruins of a small chapel. Behind the church, a channel and reservoir remain from what was a sophisticated irrigation system.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Misiones attractions

1. Nuestra Señora de Loreto

5.45 MILES

Loreto, founded in 1632, has few visible remains but is atmospheric. There are plans for further excavation and restoration, but for now the jungle is…

2. Casa de Horacio Quiroga

8.71 MILES

Uruguayan writer Horacio Quiroga was a get-back-to-nature type who found his muse in the rough-and-ready Misiones backwoods lifestyle. He built his simple…

3. San Ignacio Miní

9.94 MILES

These mission ruins are the most complete in Argentina: atmospheric and impressive for the quantity of carved ornamentation still visible and for the…

4. Former House of Stroessner

17.72 MILES

The former house of dictator Alfredo Stroessner is now a private university just behind the bus terminal.

5. Escalinata San Pedro

18.32 MILES

A Gaudí-esque ornamental stairway in a residential neighbourhood at the far end of Av Costanera.

6. Sambadromo Carnaval

18.59 MILES

The Sambadromo (Carnival parade ground) is along Av Costanera, which is Encarnación's main strip for nightlife. Outside of Carnival season it is used for…

7. Andresito Statue

18.98 MILES

Pride of place on the Posadas costanera goes to this huge stainless-steel sculpture of Guaraní provincial strongman Andrés Guacarurí (Guazurary), looking…

8. Costanera

19.07 MILES

In the afternoon, the costanera comes alive with joggers, cyclists, dog walkers, mate sippers, hot-dog vendors and young couples staring at Paraguay…