San Ignacio MiníBy leaving Salta, we were also leaving the Andes behind. Through endless soy bean fields, cow paddocks, the Argentine Pampa. Our next stop was San Ignacio Miní, a former Jesuit mission. In the early 17th century, Spanish priests built the settlement, or 'reducción', to evangelise the indigenous Guaraní population. Nearly 150.000 guaraníes were living in 30 missions, christianised but free and safe from Portuguese slave hunters. In 1767, the Jesuits were expelled by royal edict – leaving their missions behind or in the hands of other orders. Most guaraníes left the missions in the following years and returned to the countryside, letting the settlements go to rack and ruin. Today, San Ignacio Miní is among the best preserved parts of this history.