To find yerba mate - also known as “green gold” - head straight to Northeastern Argentina. There, in the far-up provinces of Misiones and Corrientes, you’ll find yerba mate plantations where your favorite herb is harvested.
Below, you’ll find the top yerba mate plantations with descriptions of what you can expect to find at each one. Use our guide to create your own version of the Yerba Mate Route and see the finest yerba mate plantations around.
About the Yerba Mate Route
Misiones and Corrientes are hotspots for growing yerba mate. They have just the right temperature and conditions for the yerba mate plant - called Paraguayan holly or Ilex paraguariensis - to thrive.
Given that Argentina is a major producer and consumer of yerba mate, the nonprofit ARYM (Asociación Ruta de la Yerba Mate) has created a Yerba Mate Route. This consists of a long list of yerba mate producers you can visit. In recent years, it’s also grown to include lodging, restaurants and tourist attractions along the Route.
While the official Yerba Mate Route suggests several different itineraries for each Argentine region, we’ve focused solely on yerba mate plantations and come up with a list of the best ones you can visit.
Note: All the information listed below is up-to-date as of October 2019. Please contact the yerba mate plantations directly for the most current information.
Can’t-Miss Yerba Mate Plantations
Three yerba mate plantations stand out for their long tradition and popular yerba mate brands. You can’t miss these three on your yerba mate quest.
The world-class yerba mate Amanda is harvested at La Cachuera, the oldest known yerba mate plantation. They offer pre-arranged tours of the grounds, plus a special Historic Museum dedicated to their founder Juan Szychowski. Amanda is one of those big-name yerba mate plantations that you can’t miss on your green gold tour.
Kraus is another big-name in organic yerba mate production. Their plantation was founded by Austrian Francisco Kraus in San Ignacio, Misiones. Kraus yerba mate is organic and fair trade, which means that the yerba is air-dried, the lands are sustainably farmed and the workers receive a percentage of the earnings. Kraus goes beyond the traditional model of a yerba mate plantation. Here you can see their lovely landscape and learn more about the Kraus story.
Las Marías is the leading producer of yerba mate in the world. Their grounds are stunning and open to the public every day of the week, including a look of the gardens, the country house and a tasting of their products. Their products include Taragüi, Union Suave, La Merced, and Mañanita.
They also offer four different paid tours, including a walking tour (1 hour), extended tour (2 hours), a bike tour (1 hour) and a personalized visit. These tours all give a glimpse into the Las Marías process, parks, nursery, laboratory and packaging plant. It’s also common to see wildlife like capybaras, toucans, rheas, and monkeys.
Las Marías has plenty of options for getting to know the complete yerba mate process. It’s also one of the oldest establishments and the grounds are lush with beauty.
Natura is another popular yerba mate brand on the official Yerba Mate Route. Natura is a brand that prides itself on high-quality products. They have a wide range of yerba mate varieties that you can get to know by visiting their location.
Aguantadora is a historic yerba mate brand located in Montecarlo, Misiones. As part of the official Yerba Mate Route, they offer visits at their plantation. Aguantadora is a unique spot because it’s actually a cooperative of producers called the Cooperativa Agrícola Mixta de Monte Carlo Limitada. Started by German immigrants, this cooperative has 748 members that are primarily small producers.
Andresito is another yerba mate cooperative with 92 producers called the Cooperativa Yerbatera Andresito. Based in Misiones, this yerba mate cooperative is fairly young compared to some of the older plantations. Together, the cooperative has a modern processing plant with three modern dryers, a storage warehouse, a grinder, and a packager. They produce several varieties of yerba mate.
Flor de Jardín is a cooperative plantation in Misiones. They offer tours of their grounds for both kids and adults. This cooperative also produces other goods other than yerba mate. They’re considered a family-friendly spot on the Yerba Mate Route.
Isondú is an interesting plantation on this list because of its unusual process. Isondú is a brand produced in Oberá, Misiones. It uses a special way of drying yerba mate, called the “Barbacuá process,” which was originally created by the Guaraní people. A unique plantation worth a visit.
The company behind Mate Rojo, Molinos La Misión, was created by Ukrainian immigrant Don Juan Eladio Stepaniuk. At their family-orientation plantation in Oberá, Misiones, you can visit their processing facilities, which have a dryer, grinder, and packager. Molinos La Mision is an official stop on the Yerba Mate Route.
Located in Santo Pipó, Piporé is a cooperative created by immigrants. It was one of the first 10 yerba mate plantations in Argentina and the second exporter in the world. They offer on-site visits of their processing plant, including the history of the brand and their traditional 80-year-old grinder, as well as a yerba mate store with all their varieties.
Playadito is one of the few big-name yerba mate producers based in Corrientes. They are also a cooperative, called the Cooperativa Liebig, with 130 members. They’re open to the public, so you can see their historic room and industrial process, and also taste their products.
Roapipó is an organic yerba mate brand produced by the Fundación Alberto Roth (FAR). It’s made by a special procedure called the “Roth system” that avoids burning old trees. Instead, they cut any materials for firewood and leave other plants to grow nearby. Stop by for a visit to see the original house of Alberto Roth, which has become a “living museum” of his life. You can also get to know how organic yerba mate is processed, enjoy regional cuisine and walk around the ecological grounds. You can even stay in one of the cabins or the Roth home!
Romance is a yerba mate brand based in San José, Misiones. Officially on the Yerba Mate Route, Romance encompasses the full yerba mate process from the fields to processing and packaging. Romance was the vision of Don Miguel Gerula, who immigrated to Argentina in 1900.
Yerbater@ is an official stop on the Yerba Mate Route. Their plantation was founded in 1983, making it one of the younger companies. They offer visits of the processing steps for their brand As de Bastos, including drying, grinding and packaging, as well as a tasting of their products.
If you’re interested in visiting real-life yerba mate plantations, check out these top spots for getting to know more about the yerba mate process. Whether you go to a big name like Las Marías or a family-run cooperative like Flor de Jardín, you’ll get an insider look into the world of making green gold. Create your own Yerba Mate Route with our top picks above!