Esteros del Ibera: Argentina’s Wetlands

Spanning over 5,200 square miles, the Ibera Wetlands (Esteros del Ibera) is the second largest wetland ecosystem in the world; only Brazil’s Pantanal is larger.

This vast, seasonally flooded plain is a vital habitat for approximately 350 bird species, including jabiru storks, greater rheas, vermillion flycatchers, and yellow-billed cardinals.

Visitors are also drawn by the chance to observe giant river otters, two species of caimans, capybaras, howler monkeys, yellow anacondas, giant anteaters, and maned wolves. Elusive jaguars also inhabit the wetland.

Caiman with only its eyes visable, submerged in a river, surrounded by reeds in Argentina's Esteros de Ibera

Wildlife Safaris by Boat

Wildlife safaris are conducted by boat in the wet season and by jeep in the dry months (June through September). Canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and biking are also possible.

Roughly one-quarter of the region is covered by clear-water lagoons, feeding the surrounding marshes through a network of natural channels.

Floating islands of matted vegetation, called embalsados, provide additional habitat. Esteros del Ibera’swetlands are dotted with comfortable hosterias (ranch houses) and luxury lodges.

When we think of our visits to this region, we remember riding with gauchos, spotting rare wildlife, sunsets on the lagoons, and sipping mate by the riverside.

Best Time to Visit Esteros del Ibera

This is a region that feels both wild and relaxing; it’s perfect as the peaceful ending to an otherwise ambitious travel plan.

The best time to visit Esteros del Ibera is at the end of the dry season (July to September), when animals congregate around ever-shrinking water sources.

Dry season high temperatures range between 75°F and 85°F. During the November to April wet season, the temperatures are roughly 10ºF warmer.

Getting There

Esteros del Ibera is located roughly 450 miles north of Buenos Aires, in the central northern part of the Corrientes Province.

Nonstop flights from Buenos Aires to the city of Corrientes, northwest of the wetlands, take around 90 minutes. Charter flights are also available to the town of Mercedes in the south.

Many of the best lodges are situated around the town of Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, roughly 75 miles northwest of Mercedes.

Marsh deer in Esteros de Ibera, Argentina, grazing in a green field

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“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

William Shakespeare


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