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Colin and Sue’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 16 Dec 2006

Location: Misiones and Ibera, Argentina

MapWhere to go next?

We have to be in the Argentine Lake District, 3000 km away, by 23 December to join our Patagonian tour but couldn´t decide where to go en-route - Argentina is a huge country with too many options. To buy some time we went from Iguazu to the small town of San Ignacio where we visited the ruins of one of the largest Jesuit missions in Argentina.

Next morning we decided to visit an internet cafe and do some research before catching a bus to Posadas and then onwards to wherever. However the internet link was broken and the only other place in town was closed. Looking across the road we saw a bus to Posadas coming so caught it. Before this, Posadas had just been a place to change buses but reading through the guidebooks on the bus we found details of a travel agency there that arranged tours to the Esteros del Ibera. This is a wetland area similar to the Pantanal in Brazil - we had previously considered going there but decided it was too difficult to get to. Arriving in Posadas we went straight to the agency, which had just shut for the day, but the owner opened up for us and we fixed up a transfer for the following day and two nights at a lodge. It was obviously meant to be - that sort of thing normally leads to disasters but not this time.

The Posada de la Laguna was right on the main lake with kayaks that you could take out - great for watching the sunset. We went out on two boat trips to view the wildlife around the lake and on its many floating islands - we saw marsh deer, caiman and loads of very cute capybaras (Sue´s favourite). We also saw lots of different birds - over 300 different species are found here and lots of them are very colourful. We also saw the howler monkeys that live in the woods nearby.

Footnote: Iguazu and Posadas are in the Misiones province, which is one of the biggest producers of the yerba herb used in the Argentine national obsession, Mate - it´s a bitter herbal tea drunk from a special cup through a metal pipe and is normally shared with other people. Everyone, from schoolchildren to grannies, drinks it all the time carrying around huge flasks of hot water to refresh it - shops and garages sell hot water in case you run out. It´s allegedly less addictive than coffee but we´re not convinced.