Reservo Provincial Esteres Del Iberia

Trip Start Oct 03, 2006
Trip End Oct 02, 2007

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Friday, November 24, 2006

Since leaving Puerto Iguazo my travels have taken me all over the place in order to get access to the Provincial Esteros del Iberia Reserve (A wetland reserve). Which was no easy feat! As yet there is not a direct route to the reserve and access to the park is achieved by reaching a town called Mercedes where one has then to sign up for a tour, or as I later discovered it is possible to travel independently to Carlos Pelligrini. (Although locals are not keen to make this a know fact!)

I discovered it was an adventure just getting to Mercedes. On the map it looked possible to travel along the coast, south from Iguazu. In reality I had to travel back in towards the mainland travelling to a city called Posadas From Posados I travelled South to Paso de Los Libres then (North) to Mercedes where all the effort to reach the National Reserve were thankfully worth while.(In high insight to have done this tour from Corrientes, where I had previously visited would have been the easiest option).

In Posados there was an awesome thunderstorm which lasted the duration of my time here. Needless to say I didn't get much opportunity to get to grips with the place. I ducked and dived into coffee shops and Internet cafes to pass the time and avoid getting wet. It rained day and night. During the night as I lay in bed the lightning lit my room and you could hear the torrential rain pounding outside. I have come to the realisation that the weather really does account for ones current mood. I felt even my accommodation was gloomy and was glad to leave. I did however, enjoy a fantastic steak and mushroom dinner at La Querencia, where a bottle of house wine helped lighten the mood, ending on pancakes with dulce con leche (A toffee sauce, which they really do put on everything!)

Paso de Los Libres
Although virtually passing Mercedes to get from Posadas to Paso de los Libres, yet again, there wasn't a direct route. So my time in P.D.L.L was simple to catch a connecting bus to Mercedes. I checked into the hotel across from the bus terminal which was nice and clean, bright and airy (A big contrast from my previous accommodation). The next morning I got the first bus to Mercedes.

I arrived in Mercedes to be escorted to an International hostel by a young boy, once checked in I booked a two night tour to the Provincial Esteros del Iberia reserve. The following morning a battered old bus arrived to transport us (four hours) to the reserve By the look of the bus it had bounced down the road a few times! Not long into the journey the local next to me started to pray, I thought this was a bit excessive as the bus driver wasn't that bad (although he was steering with one hand and drinking his mate with the other!). I glanced around the bus to observe all the other locals praying too! To my relief I realised it was because we were passing a church! So I sat back and enjoyed the bumpy ride.

As the bus bounced it's way nearer to Carlos Pelligrini (my destination) I got a glimpse of some of the wildlife I would soon be encountering. With the birds flying past, the colors were spectacular, bright reds, greens and yellows. Tailored into my tour was a two hour boat ride where our guide punted the majority of the way, as we passed caiman with their eyes above the water I was also lucky to catch a caiman sunbathing.

Our guide pointed out birds, and was very informative about the plants and animals surrounding us. He moored the boat allowing us to get out in the middle of the wet lands to get a great view of the sunset, which was a very fitting way to end my first day at the reserve. The following morning we were taken on a walk where there were butterflies monkeys and a type of rodent which lives for a total of five years. During the walk in the woods I observed that between every tourist there where a swarm of mosquitos just waiting to snack (armed with my 50% deet I got through relatively unscathed).

As the sun set the bugs come out! During the night gigantic toads (I mistook at first for a kitten, they were that BIG!) would stay in the shadows to feast of the many bugs, of which, many I had never encountered before. On my second night I noticed a gap under our bedroom door. I also noticed a bug crawl under the door into my bedroom and the noise it made was very strange. With the noise of all the bugs that had found shelter in our room it felt like I was sleeping in the middle of the jungle! Amoungst all the noises I heard a really strange noise that was preventing me from sleeping as I was wondered what kind of bug made that kind of rasping sound and a more disturbing thought that was really preventing me for sleeping, "was it hungry"? Eventually to my relief I realised it was only my room mate snoring!

Our accommodation and meals were included as part of the package. Despite our early rises we were served three course dinners at 10.30pm (with starters consisting of slices of pizza- which were meals by themselves!) Bizare!

It was a fantastic trip and one I recommend, by the looks of the development taking place in and around Carlos Pelligrini I doubt it will be long before this place is over run with tourists! So get in there quick!
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