Wetland wildlife & tradition at Iberá

Visiting the tropical Iberá Wetlands in Corrientes is a must. But even more is staying at Estancia San Juan Poriahú and enjoying its activities and homemade meals.

Almost a year ago we introduced this traditional estancia located northeast of Corrientes province, on the banks of the Iberá Wetlands and close to the San Ignacio Jesuit ruins.

Still dedicated to stockbreeding, San Juan Poriahú provides accommodation, full board and outdoor activities for anyone willing to immerse into this mysterious ecosystem. 13.000 hectares, including its own fauna reserve, surrounded by an ancient and exuberant grove and the characteristic humidity of the wetlands.

Although the estancia is one of the oldest in the region (it was founded by the Jesuits in the 17th century), it keeps its colonial charm and has been preserved and adapted to receive tourists from everywhere.

The ancient farmhouse is warm in the winter and refreshing in the summer, thanks to its thick adobe walls, palm roof (typical of this region) and outside gallery. Also, it has nine wide and simple twin rooms with private or shared bathroom, all of them very homey and comfortable, decorated with antique furniture and country details.

A huge park and the swimming pool invite you to relax on summer afternoons, while contemplating the natural surroundings.

Homemade delicious meals are served daily in the shared dining room. You will try regional dishes and the traditional asado.

During your stay you will take part of some outdoor activities to get to know the wetlands. You can’t miss the boat ride! Jump onto a canoe conducted by a guide and navigate this aquatic environment girdled by colorful vegetation and an incredible array of wildlife all around. You may spot roseate spoonbills, maguari storks, whistling herons, yacarés (caymans), marsh deers, aguará guazú (maned wolves), river otters and the cute capibaras or carpinchos.

Other daily options include horseback riding joined by the resident gauchos, photographic safari, guided hikes for bird and fauna watching, night tour for yacaré watching, off-road 4×4 ride within the ranch and rural activities such as cattle branding. Keep in mind that the activities are subject to weather conditions.

The estancia fully operates year round, except on Holy Week holidays and July. You may visit the Esteros whenever you like. Due to its tropical weather, theres no dry season. For birdwatchers, the best time to visit is on August or September.

Dont forget that the stay at San Juan Poriahú includes full board with drinks and excursions. Please contact us for more information and rates.


When Wildlife is in Danger

When wildlife is in danger and luckily someone is around to do something about it, the incident becomes an anecdote that certainly deserves to be told.

Last month, one of our groups from Germany traveling through the National Road 40 saw a guanaco trapped on a wire fence. We invited Claudio Allende, Kallpa’s Tour Leader assigned to this group (and one of the heroes of the day!) to write about the episode and share it with all of you:

Claudio Allende
Claudio Allende

Guanaco Ricky’s second birthday                          by Claudio M. Allende 

Lands in Patagonia are surrounded by thousands of kilometers of wire fence. This is how man decided to civilize and settle on these beautiful grounds, still wild and adventurous.

Crossing through the Route 40 towards El Chaltén, one of the largest and fairest roads by the side of the Andes, we saw a guanaco trapped on a wire fence. Many guanaco carcasses hung from the wire showed us his probable fate. But today, his destiny was about to change.

The guanaco tangled on a wire fence

While Sergio -the driver- drove through a constant fight against the wind, 14 German travelers enjoyed the Patagonian natural beauties: mountains and hills, guanacos, rheas, foxes, sheeps and gauchos, all holding hands under the Patagonian skies.

That is how we found the poor guanaco with his legs tangled on a fence. When I asked if we should stop and try to help him, Sergio slammed on the breaks, we looked at each other and it was clear that we would do everything possible to liberate the animal.  

Sergio and Claudio helping the guanaco
Sergio and Claudio helping the guanaco

“Please don’t anyone get off, stay on the bus so we don’t scare him more than he already is” were my words to our travelers and we walked towards the poor guanaco, that nervously watched us getting closer and closer. An adult specimen-such like this one- might weigh up to 90 kilos. The mix of fright when he saw us, believing us to be a menace and the desperation for not being able to escape gave the animal an incredible strength. Every movement of his head and every kick could hurt Sergio or me, and also endanger the travelers.

Almost done!
Almost done!

But at the moment you don’t think about any of that: we saw a few wounds that he had on his groin and how the wire was hurting his long legs. Without any doubt, we begun to separate the wires and try to release one of the legs. Once he had one free, the scared animal started kicking. I hung from his neck trying to cover his eyes, to disorient him so he could soothe a bit while Sergio fought with the last leg. We had just two wires left. With all our strength combined, finally we set him free. “Our” guanaco ran away immediately. The wounds weren’t that deep and surely he would survive. As a token of his appreciation, we got a few kicks and bruises…but also the satisfaction of giving this animal a new life.  

Ricky trying to escape
Ricky trying to escape

The travelers rejoiced: we heard the cries of joy in the bus and when we returned, a big and loud applause. We celebrated toasting with water and baptized “our” guanaco on his second birthday. Somewhere in Patagonia, now we have a guanaco son named Ricky and I hope to see him again sometime.

Ricky finally free!

Ricky finally free!

The pictures are courtesy of one of the travelers.