Excursion To The Ibera Wetlands
That evening, We were told by one of the guides that he would take us to the wetlands the next day. We would leave at 9am and not return until 5:30pm. I was looking forward to the boat ride and seeing the wildlife. We got off on time and discovered that the American, John and his friend, Marcella were going with us. As with the other guides, we stopped along the way whenever any animal was spotted. We saw a fox hidden in the brush along the road and several marsh deer grazing in the distance. It took an hour and a half to get to Laguna Ibera and the Information Center. About 30 minutes before the Information Center we stopped and someone took the food that we were carrying. The guide said that was where we would have lunch. We looked around and it was just grassland and a path leading up a hill. We thought it was a strange place to eat.
Finally, we arrived at the Visitor Information Center.There we saw a documentary about the reserve and future plans for its development. Afterwards, we took some photos and then went for a walk in the jungle which housed a group of 18 monkeys. We got a peek at the monkeys but they were so high up in the trees that we couldn’t really get any photos. We continued our walk but didn’t see anything else unusual except a mother deer and her baby.
It was around 12 and the guide said we would return to where the food was picked up. We drove up the hill and parked the 4-wheel drive and then got out and walked. It was a lovely setting – the boats at the edge of the wetlands, a group of capybaras, lots of flowers and trees. As we rounded the corner, we came upon a huge fireplace and covered area with tables and benches. A cook was making a delicious lunch – there were appetizers, beer, wine lemonade, grilled fish for me and grilled beef and sausage for the others, homemade bread, potatoes, carrots, fruit and a flan for dessert. Everything was perfect!
The sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day. The chef threw out bread crumbs and we were excited to see the birds come so close and even hop on the tables. It was a photographer’s paradise. While we were bird watching, a little fox was making his way up the path toward the aroma of grilled food. He circled around and peeked at us through the bushes and within a few minutes he was looking at us. I got some great shots as he just stood there taking it all in.
We finished eating and began our boating exploration. We wove our way among the tall grasses which lined the water ways. The guide was very knowledgeable and always on the look out for birds and animals. We saw different kinds of Heron, Egrets, Kingfishers, Caymans (alligators), capybaras on the floating islands, a pair of Black Hawks, Giant Wood Rails, Wood Storks, Jabiru, Tyrants, Black Tyrant, Flycatcher. Cormorants, Ibis. There are more than 350 species of birdlife in the Ibera Wetlands.
It was a great trip. The Lagoon is huge and we had to check in with the Park Ranger Station on the other side so we skimmed across and back again. That was the only time I was freezing cold. I had my jacket and hood so put it over my head to stay warm. We then slowed down to meander through the islands and photograph the wild life we spotted. It was really interesting and a lot of fun! We saw other boats but they were crowed with lots of tourists and we had a boat with only 5 people – plenty of room to stand and take pictures. It is a huge area so we could skim about ad enjoy the quiet tranquility. All too soon, we had to return and drive back to the lodge.
For me, this was the best part of the trip. Just wish we could have gone several times instead of just once. A sunset or sunrise would have been a wonderful experience.