Iberà Wetlands. It`s possible that you never hear about this place, but if you`re a nature lover definitely it`s a must-see when you prepare for your visit to Argentina. Why? well, Ibera Wetlands (or Esteros del Ibera in Spanish), is the second-largest freshwater wetland in the world (the first is the Pantanal of Brazil), and hosts a great diversity of flora and fauna that attract the attention of thousands of visitors every year who enjoy this natural paradise.
This area is home to more than 300 species of birds, 85 of mammals, 45 amphibians, and 35 reptiles, as well as a great diversity of subtropical landscapes. This is why the protection of the area is extremely important, which also implies that every traveler must visit the place with the responsibility and respect that this natural environment deserves.
In that area, you can find a variety of landscapes such as lagoons and floating islands (reservoirs), swamps and marsh, forests, and savannah. When you visit this area, you will discover a wide variety of jungle landscapes and wildlife, along with animals such as marsh deer, capybara, and caiman. Amazing isn't it? And after Iberà, you can continue to Iguazu Falls for example and combine two incredible unique places in Argentina.
One of the best places to stay during your visit to Ibera Wetlands is Rincon del Socorro. We met Cecile Stuart today, to talk about Rincon del Socorro and Iberà Wetlands.
- Hello Cecile, how are you? Nice to meet you today in this incredible place. It`s really a paradise for nature lovers. What can Rincon del Socorro offer for visitors interested in visiting the area?
- Hi Ramiro, thank you for visiting us today. Well, Rewilding offers the possibility of becoming part of their projects of ecosystem restoration by discovering and experiencing the Iberá through any of the three accommodations available. We have 3 properties in the Iberá Wetlands: Rincon del Socorro (Full Board + Activities), Posada Uguay (Full Board + Activities) & Estancia Ibera (rental houses) Iberá is the second largest wetland of South America, with an extension of 12.000 km2 that guards both great biodiversity and a rich cultural heritage. The region emerges as a combination of different landscapes: in the lowest areas, the rain deposits its water in the wetlands and ponds that gave it its name; while the higher areas are characterized by small remnants of Paranaense jungles, palmar groves, and never-ending grasslands briefly interrupted by small bundles of trees.
Rincon del Socorro has 9 rooms and the service it offers is with full board and activities included. The restaurant is open to the public for lunch, dinner, and tea. Culinary offerings stem from a combination of typical recipes from Corrientes along with Argentinean and international dishes, which are created using our organic vegetables from the orchard. In the roofed barbecue shack, guests can enjoy delicious typical asados.
- Which are the natural values? What is the fauna we can enjoy in Rincon del Socorro?
- The Iberá Wetlands are home to more than 4.000 animals and plant species. It is an excellent location for bird watching, and visitors have the possibility of observing a wide array of native species like the yellow cardinal (Gubernatrix cristata) and the strange-tailed tyrant (Alectrurus risora), among others.
The life of the local gauchos differs from what’s considered the “traditional ways”; they have adapted their lifestyle to constant contact with water.
- Ok, talk to me about the hosteria. Which services are available?
- Rincón del Socorro is a private reserve located within the Ibera National Park, surrounded by the Provincial Ibera Reserve. The main house was built in 1896 by the founders of the ranch, and until this day keeps its classic Spanish style completed by large verandas that cool the rooms in the heated days. These and the other houses around were refurbished, each with their private bathroom and decorated in a home feeling with beautiful photographs of the local wildlife. These houses are spread through the garden, just meters from the main house, where the foxes, rheas, capybara, and other animals enjoy their own Each room counts with an assortment of books to look through and hand-made wooden furniture that perfectly fits all corners of the accommodations. In this way, everything gets together seamlessly to conform a place filled with warmth in which visitors want to stay and definitely come back.
There is no air conditioner throughout the Reserve as we have a sustainability policy. The rooms remain cool thanks to the quality of the buildings, with cross ventilation and ceiling fans. There is no TV available in the rooms in order to make it easier to enjoy the magnificent spectacle happening outside. The voltage of all electrical outlets is 220V, and Wi-Fi, while available, is limited.
- And, what about activities? We know you have many...
- Yes... The stay takes place between outings to the fields that can be on foot, horse, bicycle, vehicle or boat; all different but complementary ways of experiencing the magnificent sightseeing and learning more about the local fauna. On foot, one will have the possibility of concentrating in looking for tracks and learning more about the diverse species, it is a good way to detect the presence of recently reintroduced animals. Alternatively, in outings on a horse one will have a different point of view that will allow for enjoyment of the landscape heightened by the contact with the animal, which will easily sort through streams and pastures, and will also favor the sighting of deer, among other creatures. The boat will in turn allow the visitor to get close to the alligators, pampas deer, and hundreds of birds without scaring them; and the nocturnal vehicle safaris will make possible magnificent encounters with very active wildlife that takes advantage of the cool nights in order to go hunting.
At the lodge, one will have the possibility of enjoying the different areas of the house by relaxing by the pool, being captivated by the books in the library, or participating in the talks and videos that will allow the visitor to gain deeper knowledge in the projects carried out by Rewilding Argentina. The ample gardens are constantly visited by the local fauna and can be easily walked in order to reach a nearby small wetland where one can observe and appreciate the native animals. In addition, the vegetable garden provides another beautiful attraction through its sustainable growth and its productions of vegetables that reach everyday meals.
- We would like to know a bit more about history. We know Mr. Tompkins was the beginner, correct?
- Absolutely Ramiro. Rincon del Socorro is where the Ibera Park project started off, this was the first property that Douglas & Kristine Tompkins bought and envisioned the project of restoration and re-wilding. In 2001, Douglas Tompkins, a philanthropist, and conservationist acquired the farm Rincón del Socorro to create a 74,131- acre natural reserve that would be handled by his foundation, The Conservation Land Trust (CLT – now Rewilding Argentina). Acquiring Rincón del Socorro and other fields in Iberá had a simple but ambitious aim: to create the greatest natural park in Argentina, return the locally extinct fauna and foster an economy based on ecotourism.
Tompkins and his team restored and expanded the old buildings of the farm, removed the cattle from the fields, eliminated hundreds of miles of fences, and initiated the biggest process of the reintroduction of locally extinct fauna (REWILDING) in the Americas. Giant anteaters, pampas deer, and peccaries have already been released. Part of this process concluded with the donation of lands for the creation of the Iberá National Park which, together with the provincial reserve, constitutes the great Park Iberá. Rewilding Experience started from The Conservation Land Trust, a social company that reinvests its profits to help conservation and ecological restoration projects, which the Rewilding Argentina Foundation carries out following the legacy of Douglas and Kristine Tompkins.
This organization is dedicated to the creation of protected areas and completed ecosystems to ensure the perpetuity of their ecological and evolutionary processes with the stronger long-term protection guarantee possible. It also supports programs that aim to ensure wildlife protection, the reintroduction of locally extinct species, land restoration, and local development, usually involving ecotourism, sustainable farming, and environmental education. CLT worked on the restoration of ecosystems of all of the acquired lands since 1999, bringing back extinct species looking out this way to have a completed ecosystem that seeks to include a man with their own local culture revaluing their ancestral traditions.
The landscape was slowly restored throughout the years, removing the traces left by livestock farming activities and prioritizing indigenous plants, and thus allowing the native wildlife to find its natural place once more. Gradually, the giant anteater started coming back and its population began to grow, and the situation was the same in the case of the pampas deer, the collared peccary, and the tapir. In the future, this list is expected to also include the jaguar, which is hoped to start roaming the lands soon, meeting with the more frequent characters that can be easily seen today like the alligator, the capybara, the marsh deer, the black howler monkey, and hundreds of bird species; and whether it be by its tracks or by its sound, the aguará guazú, which will somehow appear and say “welcome!”.
Rewilding Experience understands that tourism is vital to the sustainability of the protected areas where we have visitors that come and discover them generating jobs and local development to the near community. Rewilding offers the possibility of visiting the different landscapes of Iberá through experiences in close contact with nature made all the more spectacular by being in connection with the environment. Staying at one of the properties is a way for guests to become part of the fauna restoration projects that Rewilding Argentina has started and continues to execute to this day with great success; all the while experiencing the local culture and remaining in close contact with nature.
- Oh, well... that`s very interesting Cecile. And, how many nights do you need to spend in Iberà to enjoy this wonderful place?
- We suggest a minimum of 3 nights, the journey is long and you want to make sure to have at least 2 full days if you can dedicate 3 or more full days you will be able to get immersed in nature and relax. Of course, you can stay more, but 3 nights is the basic stay.
- Great, 3 nights is perfect I think. Thank you Cecile for your time. Definitely, I will suggest Rincon del Socorro for any nature lovers who visit Argentina.
- You`re welcome Ramiro. We will be waiting for them.
No doubt, Rincon del Socorro is an amazing place to stay and enjoy the incredible Ibera Wetlands. For more information, you can visit our new website www.iberawetlands.com We have many options there, to visit Iberà only, or combined with other destinations in Argentina and Brazil.
Of course, you can contact me. My email is email@example.com We`re ready to receive your requirements for any visit to Argentina.
photos: Thanks to Rincon del Socorro