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Esteros del Ibera

April 18, 2013

An easy 100km drive (well 60km were a bit rough and unpaved) from Mercedes is the small settlement of Colonia Carlos Pelligrini. This is the main access point for the wetlands of the Rerva Provincial Esteros Del Ibera.

Tour Boats

The Esteros del Ibera is a wetlands reserve of around 13000 sq. km. It is teeming with wildlife most notably Capybara and Caimans.

Capybara in the Water

At the gateway to the village there is a visitor centre for the reserve – although there isn’t much to see. There is a short walking trail in the woods here where there is a chance of seeing Howler monkeys but unfortunately there were none around when we were there.

Close up Capybara

On arrival we made for the municipal campground which was completely full as it was Semana Santa (or Easter weekend). It didn’t really matter to us that it was full because a height restriction on the entrance would have prevented us going in anyway. It didn’t stop us camping outside the gate and using their facilities for free though !

Red Bird in Ibera

Tours of the Laguna Ibera and its surrounds leave from the campsite and we booked one for that afternoon.

Deer in Esteros

The tour lasts just over 2 hours and skirts the edge of the Laguna and its embalsados (floating islands of vegetation). We saw Capybara, Deer, Caimans and a variety of birdlife. Unfortunately our boatman was more interested in chatting with one of the Argentinian guys on the tour about anything other than wildlife in Ibera and didn’t seem to do as good a job as other boat men. Sometimes you just don’t get the luck !

Caiman in Esteros

After a very hot night in the camper we kept heading North on what turned out to be a very bad road. There were a few sections we were very glad of high clearance and 4-wheel drive.  Fortunately the bad road only lasted 50kms.

The road is not ideal

At one stage we had to stop to let a caiman cross the road ahead of us, much to our amusement.

Caiman Close up

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