Esteros del Iberá

December 6th, 2006 by budgetmonkeyanna

Capybara at Esteros del Iber�Wow! This place blew us both away. Super relaxing, full of life, incredibly nice people…it was wonderful. Just on the ride over there on a long dirt road (3.5 hours) we saw at least 20 different species of bird including a Jabiru – the largest stork in the Americas, very rare to see here supposedly. We also saw tons of capybaras (called carpincho in Argentina). It was heaven for me of course. All the rodent type animals here are guinea pig like it’s really funny. There’s the Vizcacha (looks like a cross between a chinchilla and a carpincho) that lives in underground tunnel systems and has a sympatric relationship with the burrowing owl. the owl eats the other rodents that try to steal the vizcachas food and the vizcacha keeps the burrow system clean. We also saw burrowing owls but not very close up. Then there’s the capybara of course, super cute, babies everywhere. On the boat trip through the lagunas and the floating marshlands we got to get out and walk around on the floating land masses. When you jumped up and down the land would ripple mirroring the water beneath it. We came within a foot of a large male capybara wallowing in the mud! They are very tolerant of people now that hunting is not allowed. We also saw tons of cayman (small alligators). They were all sitting with their mouths open regulating their temperatures. The first caiman that we saw happened to be one of the older ones (they live up to 80 years in the wild) and he was huge! I started trying to write up a list of all the animals we saw but I stopped when I hit 30, it was too much to keep track of. So many birds too. Giant toads (the size of small salad plates) roamed the streets at night. The people also let their horses loose in the streets watched over by young girls. One of the horses had a foal with her who would prance around and try to play with the stallions. At one point he got so excited running around that he lost his balance and fell on his side. He quickly got back up and hid behind his mother for a short period of time. It was really cute. Oh and they have real cavies! Marsh cavies. They’re genuine wild guinea pigs and they come out to eat the grasses in the morning and afternoon. If you sit fairly still they’ll come out even with you really close to them. We ate every meal except breakfast at one of the three or so restaurants in town – Don Marcos. Everything there was homemade, even the ravioli (which happened to be overcooked however). For breakfast our hotel baked scones in the morning and served it with butter and home-made marmalade. This seems to be a staple throughout the Northern regions. We took two tours here, the boat tour and a night 4×4 tour. The boat tour was run by Emilio an employee of our hotel (Ypa Sapukai). Really great. He knew tons about the animals and where to find them. The tour lasted at least 3 hours (when most of them only last 1-2 hours) and he didn’t just bullshit the information either. When he didn’t know something he just told me so, I really appreciated that. He also served us maté on the boat. It was so quiet and so peaceful, we never wanted to leave. After the boat tour we took a quick siesta and then headed out to see the local troup of howler monkeys. Luckily we arrived 10 minutes before the park closed and were able to go in. We found a small troup of monkeys, mostly juveniles, playing in the trees. They made the weirdest noises, kind of pig-like sounds. That evening after eating at Don Marcos during some torrential rains that came down we decided to go on the night tour anyways, adn it was worth it. We did not see the elusive maned wolf (which is neither wolf nor fox, but a separate canid), but we did see a pair of foxes, a single fox, an armadillo and the vizcacha (that only come out at night). The vizcacha came right up to the car. They like to collect random objects and all well known for stealing articles of clothing and shoes and such. (kind of reminds me of a chinchilla I know who at least used to have a fetish for credit cards). The next morning we headed back to Mercedes with two Danish guys who live in B.A. and were kind enough to give us a ride back to town in their car. On the way back we encountered a mother Rhea and her brood. The mother quickly ducked into the grass on the side of the road, but the babies were all confused and continued to run alongside the car for quite some time until they realized that stopping would be much more effective. Even the little ones can run really fast, let me tell you. We were laughing so hard, it was straight out of a cartoon. Their little legs looked like they were spinning in circles. : )

Well the blog is almost caught up with us and soon you will hear of the new drama (an incredibly adorable one, that has an incredibly impressive set of lungs on her)…

1 Response to “Esteros del Iberá”

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    01 Jun 26, 2011 1:29 pm Monica Oliveira On a scale from 0 10, what do you think now of Niagara Falls?I told you it was an amazing place. I hope Thiago took a ptriuce of Ryan in AWE! LOLMami & sogra

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