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Esteros del Ibera

One of the natural wonders of the world, this wet land is a feast of wildlife and activities...

Esteros del Ibera - Caiman
Esteros del Ibera - Caiman

As the world’s second largest body of fresh water (second only to the Pantanal in Brazil), the Esteros Del Ibera are a hugely important feature not only for Argentina but also for the world in general. Located approximately 700 kms to the north of Buenos Aires, the Esteros comprises approximately a quarter of the Corrientes Province and was appointed in 2002 as Argentina’s 10th RAMSAR site. Today, even with the ever-expanding tourism trade to Argentina, the wetlands are virtually untouched and are one of the places in South America to head to for wildlife and birding activities.

The basin itself, formed through tectonic plate movements, is filled not by a river or underwater flow, but by natural rainwater that collects in the area. The reason, however, for its huge importance, is that it is a filter for one of the largest underground lakes in the world and, quite probably, one of the most important reservoirs of water for the future of the planet, the Guarini Aquifer.

Water aside, this area, for tourism, is one of the most interesting and unspoilt in Argentina offering the chance to get out onto into the wetlands to really get a feel for this vast and untouched space. The wildlife is definitely the reason to come to this area and it is in abundance. The capybara is an animal synonymous with South America and they are here (for want of an apex predator) in their droves. On top of this the wetlands are, understandably, a birders’ paradise with approximately 320 different bird species on offer ranging from vultures and large raptors to smaller and less well know species.

The main benefit of the region is also its main drawback…that is it in the middle of nowhere! With journey times from the nearest airport taking around 3 hours, it is no wonder that it is still fairly undeveloped, and long may it remain so. Definitely in the top three of our favourite areas in Argentina, it is comparable with the infamous Okavango Delta in Botswana in its beauty.

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    At a glance…The Esteros del Ibera

  • Size: 13,000 sq kms
  • Location: North Eastern Argentina
  • Recommended time: 3 to 5 nights
  • Time to visit: September to April
  • Go here for: wildlife
  • Further reading...

  • › Nature and wildlife
  • › Argentina birdlife
  • › Esteros del Ibera Wildlife