Nature and wildlife: Esteros del Ibera
This stunning wetland is a Mecca for birds and animals of all types including the iconic caiman and the capybara
At approximately 15,000 square kilometers, the Esteros del Ibera (Ibera wetlands) is the second largest freshwater wetland on the planet (next to the Pantanal in neighbouring Brazil), and Argentina’s largest protected area. Made up of a series of lakes, lagoons and marshland, the Esteros del Ibera wetlands are home for over 350 different bird species and some of South America’s most iconic wildlife such as the capybara and the caiman.
The strange thing about a wildlife area as important and as large as the Ibera wetlands is that you rarely hear anything about them. Second only to Brazil’s Pantanal area, and nowhere near as crowded, this wildlife sanctuary is a real treat for birders and nature enthusiasts alike.
Originally formed through the collection of rainwater, the wetlands are a fairly impenetrable wilderness and so many of the more elusive of its inhabitants are rarely seen, but there are quite a few wildlife inhabitants that encapsulate what the area is about.
Furthermore, over the years the wetlands became largely overlooked by the Argentines, in part due to its location right in the heart of the Corrientes province and away from the limelight. With high profile investment in the region, the wetlands are at last coming to be recognized and known. Today, the wetlands are still relatively under visited by tourists to Argentina, but this is a blessing in disguise and with projects on the go such as reintroducing jaguar and giant anteaters, with time, they may be back to their former glory.