In June of this year while visiting Iguazu Falls in Misiones Province in Northern Argentina, I decided to do a side-trip to a recommended site in the region. This ended up being a very informative and enjoyable day trip which I am now finally posting about.
The Wanda crystal mineral mines are situated about 50 km’s South of Puerto Iguazú on the Paraná River and is easily reachable by bus from Puerto Iguazú. There is a bit of a walk involved (about 3 km’s) once the coach drops you off next to the road but there are also taxi’s available to take you to the mines from the drop-off point, should you prefer that option
The town of Wanda and the surrounding area received immigrants from Poland in the 1930’s and the town and the mines were given the name of Wanda who was a Polish princess who according to legend was very fond of gemstones.
Visitors can get quite a rare insight into how crystals and minerals are formed and also how they are mined, which is quite a delicate process. According to the guide that showed visitors around, the miners work individually in separate mine-shafts (because they are in competition with each other) and they try to locate air bubbles (geodes) that were formed centuries ago during volcanic activity. Hot lava cooled down and during the cooling process the various types of crystals formed inside the geodes. The miners’ objective is to excavate the geodes intact and to avoid breaking or damaging them, because they retain the highest value that way.
The crystals and gemstones found at Wanda mines include amethysts, quarts, agates, topazes, jaspers and rock crystals. There are two mines next to each other and the pictures in the gallery below are more or less in the order that they were taken. All in all I highly recommend this excursion if you are in the area. The only downside is that word has it that unfortunately the gift shop has some fake items mixed in with the authentic items, so it might be best playing it safe and not buying anything of high value from the gift shop. Nevertheless, the mines themselves are fascinating and well worth a visit.
Date visited: 17 June 2019.
Date published: 13 November 2019