Capybara, Argentina by Marc Venema ShutterstockGet up close with capybara at Esteros del Iberá © Marc Venema, Shutterstock

The remarkable Esteros del Iberá (‘swamps of Iberá’) is one of South America’s greatest must-sees. On vast, slow-moving lakes float huge islands of vegetation, home to capybara, marsh deer, caiman, an astounding number of birds, and many more animals such as armadillos. All are easily encountered close-up at leisure from boats and kayaks, on foot or on horseback.

This unique, remote marshland world of floating isles is home to a incredible number of rare animals.

Yet the area, being remote and time-consuming to get to, is relatively little visited – certainly when compared with the other great natural watery wonder of the region, the falls of Iguazú (whose name like ‘Iberá’, takes its initial ‘i’ from the Guaraní word for ‘water’). There’s only one settlement in the Iberá Wetlands: the small village of Carlos Pellegrini, three hours by dirt road from Mercedes, a fine base for a few days of quiet outdoors wildlife-spotting.

There’s only one settlement in the Iberá Wetlands: the small village of Carlos Pellegrini, three hours by dirt road from Mercedes, a fine base for a few days of quiet outdoors wildlife spotting.

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