The overnight bus from Iguazu to Santa Fe costs a whopping 444 peso (75 euro), but there are plenty of interesting sights in Misiones to make the initial hours pass quickly before it gets dark. We follow the Paraguayan border for 5 hours, crossing more than a dozen river tributaries, an omnipresent forest and passing countless estancias, smoke lazily rising from their chimneys. The soil is blood red in this part of the world and in parts the landscape isn’t quite sure if it should be tropical jungle or subtropical forest. Limping dogs – lame from chasing passing vehicles – are part of the furniture in Misiones, as are the countless timber yards, decaying road side petrol stations and the thin, frail tin structures that pass as bus stops. Misiones is also home to small communities with big ambitions that have wonderful names like El Dorado and Puerto Rico.
At Posadas, an agricultural centre that feels like another country other than Argentina, we change buses on to the overnight service to Santa Fe. It might be pricey but the ticket includes a seat that reclines into an airline business-class style bed, a hot meal, a couple of glasses of wine and, to finish, for maybe the only time in my life, a glass of champagne on an overnight bus. The combination of the above acts like a cocktail of sleeping tablets and I’ve no sooner started to nod off to sleep when it is already 7am and we have arrived in the pitch dark in Santa Fe.