You will not be in country long before you are offered a unique Argentine drink called a Mate. Yerba mate comes from a tree, "Ilex Paraguariensis", cultivated in South America. The yerba is the leaves; dried and crushed to make a tea-like herb. Designated yerba by grades, a premium yerba is one that contains no "palo", or the stem of the tree, which lessens the quality of the blend. You may add sugar or honey to sweeten the yerba as the Argentineans do, or drink it plain. It's a wonderful and healthy coffee substitute, and a good way to stimulate conversation. The Mate is a great social drink that you are certain to enjoy on the river while fly fishing.


To drink mate the traditional way you will need a special straw called a Bombilla. These filter the leaves out of your mate drink. Bombillas are typically bronze-based and plated with other durable metals. Those made of solid Gold, Stainless Steel, or other durable metals can last many decades of daily use.

The Mate is placed into a gourd cup, some of which are decorative such as the one shown to the right, hot water is added, and the tea-like drink is sipped through the Bombilla.