Yaboti Biosphere Reserve in Misiones Province

A biosphere reserve is a protected area designated by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to promote sustainable development, conservation of biodiversity, and research. Biosphere reserves are designed to reconcile the conservation of ecosystems and species with the sustainable use of natural resources by humans.



The main key features of biosphere reserves include:

Conservation Areas: Biosphere reserves typically include core areas where ecosystems, habitats, and species are strictly protected. These core areas often serve as reference areas for scientific research and monitoring.

Buffer Zones: Surrounding the core areas are buffer zones where limited human activity is permitted. Buffer zones act as transition areas where sustainable development practices are encouraged, balancing the needs of local communities with conservation goals.

Transition Areas: Biosphere reserves also incorporate transition areas where human settlements, agriculture, and other human activities are more prevalent. In these zones, efforts are made to promote sustainable land use practices, cultural preservation, and community involvement in conservation efforts.

Research and Education: Biosphere reserves serve as living laboratories for scientific research, environmental monitoring, and education. They provide opportunities for studying ecological processes, biodiversity, and the impacts of human activities on natural ecosystems.

Sustainable Development: A fundamental goal of biosphere reserves is to promote sustainable development practices that support the well-being of both human communities and the environment. This involves fostering partnerships between governments, local communities, scientists, and other stakeholders to implement conservation and development initiatives.



The Yabotí Biosphere Reserve is a protected natural area that encompasses parts of the Guaraní and San Pedro departments, in the province of Misiones, in the Mesopotamia region of Argentina. It was established over an area of approximately 221,155 hectares—or 235,959 hectares according to some sources—located around 26°37′S 53°40′W. From a phytogeographical perspective, the region corresponds to the Paraná jungle.

Within the reserve, there are several protected natural areas, including the Esmeralda Provincial Park, which forms its core area, the Moconá Provincial Park, the Guaraní Forest Reserve, the Caá Yarí Provincial Park, and the Papel Misionero Cultural Natural Reserve. The Pepirí Guazú and Uruguay rivers form the eastern and southern boundaries of the reserve. The lower basin of the Yabotí Guazú stream and other smaller watercourses are part of the protected area.

The reserve area integrates zones with different degrees of protection, both legally and effectively. The parks and nature reserves that compose it are not homogeneous in terms of their implementation, and there is also a large number of private properties where environmental supervision and control are scarce or nonexistent. However, since its creation, the possibilities for implementing preservation actions for the entire region as a whole have increased.

In 1995, it was designated as a biosphere reserve in UNESCO’s MAB program.



Check the map below and see the location of the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve and the other main references in the province of Misiones, including the Iguazu Falls.





The large surface area of the reserve, the variety of environments, and the different uses assigned to the different zones give rise to varied typologies in vegetation coverage. There are deeply degraded sectors due to intensive logging and other sectors that, due to their difficult access and relatively rugged terrain, preserve the native forest in all its diversity. Medium or large-sized species identified include specimens of black laurel (Nectandra saligna), white guatambú (Balfourodendron riedelianum), yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis), guayubira (Patagonula americana), marmelero (Ruprechtia laxiflora), guabirá (Campomanesia xanthocarpa), María preta (Diatenopteryx sorbifolia), cancharana (Cabralea oblongifoliola), cerella (Eugenia involucrata), white anchico (Albizzia hassleri), white parrot (Bastardiopsis densiflora), and cacheta (Didymopanax morototoni).

Smaller species include varieties of tree fern or chachí bravo (Cyathea atrovirens), parí paroba (Piper geniculatum), wild nettle (Urera baccifera), canelón (Rapanea lorentziana), tacuarembó (Chusquea ramosissima), and San Juan vine (Pyrostegia venusta), among others.

The fauna of the reserve has not been fully surveyed and is estimated based on observations made in the various protected natural areas that comprise it. In any case, it is assumed that the reserve is habitat for most of the species recorded in the province.

Among the most significant species due to their rarity or vulnerability are jaguars (Panthera onca), tapirs (Tapirus terrestris), ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), pumas (Puma concolor), red brocket deer (Mazama americana), dwarf brocket deer (Mazama nana), and two species of peccaries (Tayassu pecari) and (Pecari tajacu), among others.

In different areas, sightings of howler monkeys (Alouatta caraya), red howler monkeys (Alouatta guariba), capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), and maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus), gray or maned foxes (Dusicyon gymnocercus), and very rarely the bush dog (Speothos venaticus) are frequent.

The reserve is especially significant for its ornithological importance. Almost 300 species of birds have been identified, and of these, 19 species are under some degree of threat worldwide. Sightings of harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja), solitary tinamous (Tinamus solitarius), black-fronted piping guans (Pipile jacutinga), pine seedeaters (Leptasthenura setaria), striped owl (Strix hylophila), spotted woodcreeper (Xiphorhynchus picus), spotted tody-flycatcher (Pogonotriccus eximius), white-rumped swallow (Polioptila lactea), bay-chested warbling finch (Amaurospiza moesta), swallow-tailed cotinga (Phibalura flavirostris), white-browed tit-spinetail (Leptasthenura xenothorax), gray-hooded attila (Attila rufus), black-capped piprites (Phylloscartes paulista), ornate hawk-eagle (Spizaetus ornatus), blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna), red-and-green macaw (Ara chloropterus), black hawk-eagle (Spizaetus tyrannus), black-and-white hawk-eagle (Spizastur melanoleucus), and long-trained nightjar (Macropsalis forcipata) have occurred.

Songbirds are widely represented. The presence of specimens of blue manakin (Chiroxiphia caudata), green-backed becard (Pachyramphus viridis), cinereous becard (Pachyramphus polychopterus), brown-crested flycatcher (Myiarchus swainsoni), and dusky-capped flycatcher (Myiarchus ferox), ochre-faced tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus plumbeiceps), and buff-fronted foliage-gleaner (Syndactyla rufosuperciliata), among many others, has been recorded.




One of the most spectacular natural attractions in the reserve is the Moconá Falls, also known as the “Yucumã Falls.” These breathtaking waterfalls span nearly 3 kilometers along the Uruguay River and are a must-see for visitors seeking awe-inspiring natural beauty.

See more about Mocona Falls here



In the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve and its surroundings, you will find a variety of tourist accommodation options ranging from eco-lodges to inns and rustic cabins. Although the reserve itself may not have internal accommodations, nearby areas often offer options for visitors wishing to explore the area.

Here are some common tourist accommodation options near the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve:

Eco-Lodges: These are establishments designed to minimize their environmental impact and offer a closer-to-nature experience. They are typically located in remote areas and provide basic yet comfortable amenities.

Inns and Rural Hotels: In communities near the reserve, you can find inns and rural hotels that provide comfortable accommodation and local hospitality. These places often offer an authentic and warm experience.

Cabins and Country Houses: Many times, accommodation options include cabins or country houses that allow visitors to have their own space and enjoy the tranquility of the natural surroundings.

Campsites and Camping Areas: For those who prefer a closer-to-nature experience, some areas near the reserve offer campsites and camping areas where visitors can camp under the stars and enjoy outdoor living.

It’s important to research and book in advance, especially during peak demand periods, as accommodation options may be limited at certain times of the year. Additionally, when planning your stay, be sure to check the location and amenities offered by each accommodation option to ensure they meet your needs and preferences during your visit to the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve.

Ramiro Rodriguez

Ramiro Rodriguez

25 years working in the travel industry, as Sales & Marketing Manager at RipioTurismo. Marketing Manager at Nuevas Ideas Travel Consulting Group. Writer and travel lover.

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