Friday, February 24, 2012

Carlos Pellegrini, Argentina 18-20 Feb 2012

From Puerto Iguazu to Carlos Pellegrini, I need to change 3 buses. First 9 hours to Corrientes, then 3 hours to Mercedes and lastly 2.5 hours to Carlos Pellegrini. What is so interesting at Carlos Pellegrini? It is the main base to visit Reserva Esteros del Iberá. It is home to abundance birds and animal life and one of the finest in South America.

At Mercedes, the only bus to Carlos Pellegrini leave at 12:30pm, the bus ticket was cheap. Only AP30 for 2.5 hours ride. There must be a catch! When the bus arrived at the terminal then it make sense. It was a non aircon bus, with hard seat, no luggage storage area and full of dust with a huge spare wheel inside the bus. No seat number allocated so first come first serve basis. People started to get in the bus to book a place, I did the same as well. It was another hot day. Gosh! We will be in trouble soon. Slowly the bus started to load up, with boxes of food and plastic bag of breads and people. There were more passengers then seats. Some were sitting on stool and some on the spare wheel. I felt like I am back to Bolivia again. The road was bumpy and dusty, plus the hot weather it was unbearable.

We arrived at this beautiful Lake Ibera, passing the lake on a broken bridge, we arrived at Carlos Pellegrini. The driver first stop at the Tourist Information Center, he then started to drop everyone off their respective Hotel or Lodge. I didn´t have anything booked, I thought I could get some info from the bus terminal. Then maybe I thought, maybe there is no terminal here. The village looks really empty! I gave him one of the Hostel I wrote down, he said ok I will pass. :-) That is nice to have a door to door service.

So I was dropped at the hostel, luckly because there was no road name or anyone on the street, didn´t know where I am. This place is like a small village in my home town, the road are sandy, house are surrounded with huge land, horses, cows, sheeps, chickens and dogs wandering freely on the streets. There is really nothing here. The hostel that I picked didn´t offer cooking facility and it cost AP100, I couldn´t affort. The lady direct me to other hostel which is 5 blocks down the road. Under this freaking hot sun and white sandy ground, I felt like walking on the desert. The first hostel doesn´t allow cooking, the second one allow but it was full, finally at the third one, I got a private room with fan and able to cook. I got myself a cold shower immediately! Phew! That was really needed.

The best thing to do here to see the wildlife is to take on a boat trip which will bring us to the dense floating islands. There is over 350 spicies of birds in this reserva including coloful Kingfisher, hummingbirds, eagles, egrets, herons, ducks and many more. I booked myself to the early morning boat trip. It was costly as it was Public Holiday in Argentina. We will leave 7am in the morning for a 2 hours trip around the lake.

In the evening, the sunset on Lake Ibera was gorgeous. The entire lake became orange and birds was abundance. I really wish I have my glasses now! :-( I will missed lots of birds with my 70% vision.

In the night, the heat was unbearable, the bed was still warm from the day. The ceiling fan hardly make any wind, I sprayed myself with Off and open the windows, there was no wind instead welcome more mosquitoes (the window has no mosquitoe net) I didn´t sleep much as I was bitten all night.

Got up at 6:30am, no sign of my breakfast. Ate some of my stash of biscutte for breakfast. We were 7 in the boat, the guide speak Spanish so whatever name that he said I don´t know what it is but I saw lots of birds, caiman, capybara and a mash deer. It was really fruitful, it´s worth all the money spent. I know someone would love this place. :-)

Back to the hostel, I asked the owner for an aircon room but there was no availability. I told him I am checking out. I moved to the first hostel where it has fan but windows with mosquitoe net. The room is huge and bright. The lady owner change her mind and allow me to cook. That was nice of her. Maybe she pitty me that I didn´t sleep the whole night and saw me with my big plastic bag of food. :-)

I wanted to buy the book of Flora and Birds of Ibera in a souvenir shop 5 blocks away. This book is great with photos and names of flowers, birds, animals, butterflies, plant and frogs that live in Lake Ibera. Unfortunately it was close, I realised I was the only idiot walking on the street, everyone I guess is either in their room or the pool. :-( A family I met in the previous hostel invited me for a Asado lunch, of cause I couldn´t miss it. I joined them.

On the last day, I went early to the park  for some trekking. There were only 2 trails, one is a 1 hour trail and another is 30 minutes. I saw grey fox, howler monkeys, capybara and lots of birds. I wish I could go for another boat ride but I didn´t have enough money as there were no bank in the town. There is no internet, no supermarket, nor a bus terminal, only plenty of birds! If you are not a bird lovers, you should skip this place. :-)

I have booked the bus to leave the next day, the only bus that leave to Mercedes is at 4am, it will pick me up from the hostel. Cool! :-)

Hospedaje Ibera with breakfast - AP80
Hospedaje Los Amigos with breakfast - AP70

Bus Mercedes to Carlos Pellegrini - AP30

Boat excursion - AP100

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