Esteros del Ibera in the north east of Argentina is a vast wetland notable for its incredible wildlife and landscape. The marshlands are home to cayman, capybaras, piranha, monkeys, snakes and thousands of different types of birds. Esteros is extremely isolated and getting there was a long and tedious journey—an overnight bus to a small town, followed by a 3-hour drive on a dirt road in a 4×4 to a tiny village called Carlos Pelegrini in the national park, which had no street lights or even proper roads.
It was made completely worth it by the expanse of nature that we had almost completely to ourselves. We were so surprised by the fact that Esteros has such a potential for tourism yet hardly anyone knows it even exists. Luckily for us this meant we saw very few other people. We stayed in a little posada (guest house) who also took us on two boat tours and a walking tour. On the boat tours we saw an abundance of birds: great egrets, great pampa-finch, storks, falcons, red-crested cardinals, southern screamers, and lots more we couldn’t identify! We also saw cayman everywhere, generally lying half in and half out of the water waiting for their lunch to find them. Capybaras were the funniest sight. They are technically the largest rodent and about the size of a Labrador. They also bark like dogs and can be quite grumpy! They graze on the marshlands or hang out sitting in the water. On the walking tour we saw a family of howler monkeys—they are blonde with black faces. When the males reach full maturity at 7-years-old they turn fully black haired.
On our last night there was a huge thunder storm and it rained heavily for about 15 hours. We were worried that the road out of the village would be flooded and we might be stuck for an extra night or two—which often does happen. Miguel, our lovely 4×4 driver, arrived to pick us up and drove us back to the nearest town (120 km away), at parts with no visibility out of the window at all due to the sheets of rain. He reassured us by saying: ‘todo bien’ (everything’s fine)! As we pulled into the bus terminal a bus saw us and asked where we were going, luckily it was heading to our next destination: Corrientes.