Argentina’s wetlands bring you close to wildlife and birds, staying at Irupe Lodge.

Holidays to this remote part of northeast Argentina feature abundant animals, plus 13,000 km² of marsh with over 60 lakes of incredible wetland to enjoy.

The Ibera Lake and wetlands are among the last natural paradises on earth.

See giant otters, anacondas and hundreds of birds, including the strange-tailed tyrant, a draw for many birdwatchers.

Get face to face with caimans, capybaras and howler monkeys – read our blog about a trip here.

More on Ibera wetlands tour

Irupé Lodge perfectly fits into the natural bank of Lake Iberá.  As we drive in, we pass estancias and so see gauchos on horse back.

The rooms offer wide spaces, privacy and peace and lovely views out to the lake. Animals will literally be on your doorstep.

These vast expanses of waters feed the river Corrientes to the south, then the Parana, finally arriving at Buenos Aires.

We can add in tours to the nearby and mighty Iguazu Falls, visit nearby Jesuit ruins and horse riding, too.



Trip Highlights

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  • Remote wildlife paradise, 13,000 km² of marsh with more than 60 lakes of incredible wetland to enjoy.

  • Lovely lodge and great food, you can spot wildlife while enjoying a sundowner.

  • Close to nearby Iguazu Falls and Jesuit ruins.

  • Get face to face with caimans, capybaras and howler monkeys, as well as looking for giant otters, anacondas and hundreds of birds.

I've never seen so many caiman and capybara in one place, and the bird variety is incredible. The lodge is really comfortable, lovely food and we watched a cracking storm at night.

It's very remote, but well worth the drive in. So much to see en route.

T. Shearman, Irupe

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Full Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer Posadas to Irupe by 4×4, lodge (D)

Transfer Posadas or Mercedes to Colonia Carlos Pellegrini Irupé Lodge by 4-wheel drive.

You can fly to Posadas and then transfer in (2-4 hours), or bus to Mercedes (9 hours from Buenos Aires) and transfer in (1.5 hours) to the lodge.

We recommend that you buy lunch or bring it with you as it is not included on the first day.

Whichever route you choose, there is plenty of wildlife to see.

You may see more wildlife on the transfer in from Posadas, as well as gauchos and their cattle.

Cayman, capybaras, spoonbills and snakes are all very easy to spot on these deserted dirt roads. If it’s been raining, you may see even more wildlife, as animals such as foxes come to the road to dry off.

After an exciting drive in, we arrive at Irupe Lodge.

Relax into your new surroundings, listening to the noises of the insects, frogs and other animals that make Irupe their home. There are bats to see, and with luck, the resident – and enormous – toad will be on display at the entrance to the dining area.

Dinner and night Irupe Lodge.

Day 2: AM: Monkey jungle trek. PM: Boat sunset safari, lodge (B,L,D)

Today we start to explore the lake and its surroundings.

We head over to the other side of the lake, connected by a road and bridge, to explore an area of forest that howler monkeys like to frequent.

First, it’s a visit to the park museum and introductory info DVD about the biodiversity of the wetlands.

Then, with our guide, we head to a monkey jungle and our hike (easy hike) along the pampas trail.

Keep your eyes and ears out for animals, from toucans to howlers and more. Your guide will point out some of the trees and their uses.

We return to the lodge for lunch and to relax, as the heat increases.

As the sun starts to lose its midday strength, we take our first boat safari into different wetland areas to observe wildlife and the Ibera’s birds face-to-face.

This is a special experience as we explore the ever-changing wetland landscape. The islands that dot the lake are always moving, always changing, always showing new faces to its visitors.

We’ll see capybara, caiman, deer and a green and verdant landscape in complete harmony with the water. The sky will seem an open heaven above you, and the colours will slowly burn to oranges and reds as we enjoy the sunset over Lake Iberá, with perhaps a flapping heron’s wings the only noises we hear.

Dinner and night Irupe Lodge.

Day 3: AM: Boat safari in wetland. PM: relax or excursion (B,L,D)

Today we set off on another boat safari, this time investigating the channels south of the wetlands where the largest caimans breed

There are some very big animals in these waters, including anacondas and families of capybaras.

On the way back to the lodge, we’ll visit the heron colonies that are in the area then enjoy lunch at the lodge.

In the afternoon, there is time to relax, enjoy the pool, or if you’re feeling active, canoeing or hiking (canoeing and hike not included, payable at lodge directly)

Dinner and night Irupe Lodge.

Day 4: Transfer Irupe – Posadas by 4×4, ends (B)

Today we transfer by 4×4 to Posadas/Mercedes, keeping an eye out for animals en route.

You can extend your stay, head to Iguazu, Jesuit ruins – contact us for more options and pricing.

Note: Order of the activities and the excursions may change due to weather conditions/interests etc. On arrival, the exact itinerary will be set with the guests.


Prices From $1,013 / £859 per person

Enquire about booking

What's Included?

Room with breakfast, full board, non-alcoholic drinks, all mentioned transfers, activities, partly local guides, English-speaking guides excursions day 2 and 3, Spanish-speaking drivers

What's Not Included?

Lunch on arrival and departure day, alcoholic drinks, tips, optional excursions, flights (we can look for these for you), insurance, local taxes


Accommodation

Irupé Lodge perfectly fits into the natural bank of Lake Iberá.  As we drive in, we pass estancias and so see gauchos on horse back, a lifestyle a million miles from modern cities.

The rooms offer wide spaces, privacy and peace and lovely views out to the lake. Animals will literally be on your doorstep.

Irupe Lodge offers 8 rooms and a family suite. All the rooms provide a unique view to the Iberá Lake.

 

4 x Superior rooms: Panoramic windows, integrated living-room, private bathroom with bathtub, individual balcony with view to the Lake Ibera. The superior rooms are located in separate cabins and hidden in the natural dense vegetation of our park. Comfort and especially privacy are the basis to make guests feel like at home.

4 x Standard rooms: Panoramic windows facing towards Lake Ibera, with private bathroom. The standard rooms are located in the main building and have direct access to a large living area, library and open-air veranda – all of it with an impressive view to the lake.

The family suite in the main building is the perfect solution for families with up to three children. One bedroom with balcony and an enormous bedroom-living room combination, plus private bathroom. The ideal place to make you and your children feel at home.

The swimming pool is 15m from the lakeshore. You will be able to watch numerous birds also enjoying water, fruits and flowers from the pool.

A 20m wooden bridge connects the main house with the lake, where the capybara families play around and the alligators sunbathe. This is the place where – by day or night – the boat safaris start.

The lodge offers free wifi (signal is very come-and-go, and depends on weather) and at extra cost, laundry and telephone.

There are no ATMs near the lodge at all, so clients must bring cash to pay for drinks/extra trips etc.

Tour Staff

Tour guides and drivers are locals from Argentina, who live and work in this fantastic country. The lodge tries to provide as much employment to local people as possible.

They help to show you the hidden corners and their favourite parts of the lake.


Meals

Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please enquire for more.

Breakfast is usually a buffet style affair with eggs cooked to order, too – expect juices, cereals, fruits etc.

Lunch and dinner will be 2-3 course affairs, with the local chef using local ingredients to create excellent dishes.

Activity Level

The trip is very gentle and open to all ages and fitnesses.

There are boat rides onto the lake that require minimal movement as we glide close to caiman and birds.

Short walks are also possible and the terrain is flat. It can get muddy after rains. Trails last 1-2 hours maximum with pauses to see wildlife.

 

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Argentina

Argentina is a land of contrast.

Nothing states this better than the fact it features the highest point in the South America, Aconcagua, and the lowest, Salinas Chicas, 40m below sea level.

Its vastness – it is the eighth largest country in the world – and diversity are just part of the appeal. A fantastic culture of fine wine and dining sits alongside its adventurous and beautiful landscapes.

The local’s cheery disposition and fantastic word plays add to the enjoyment of being in this fascinating country.

The name Argentina derives from argentinos, the Ancient Greek diminutive (tinos) form for silver (argentos), which is what early Spanish explorers sought when they first reached the region in the sixteenth century.

There are distinct regions of Argentina, from the Andean culture of the North West to the rancho lifestyle of the plains of Patagonia to the eternally seductive Buenos Aires.

Geography of Argentina

Argentina’s neighbours are Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay to the north, Uruguay to the north east and Chile to the west. In the east Argentina has a long South Atlantic Ocean coastline.

The central region of Argentina is the rich plain known as La Pampa.

There is jungle in the extreme northeast while the southern half of Argentina is dominated by the flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia.

The western border with Chile is along the rugged Andes mountains, including Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside the Himalayas. Close to Aconcagua lies Mendoza, an area famed for its fine wine production.

The western Cuyo regions at the base of the Andes are mostly rocky desert.

Most Antarctic cruises embark and disembark in Ushuaia, at the tip of South America, allowing access to the South Pole, South Georgia and also the Falkland Islands.

Weather in Argentina

Climate

Argentina’s seasons are the reverse to the northern hemisphere, with summer running from October to March, and winter from May to September.

Buenos Aires and the Pampas in the north are temperate; cold in the winter, 5-15°C, and hot and humid in the summer, 17-27°C, the warmest and most humid being December to February. Spring and Autumn are lovely times to visit Buenos Aires.

The best time to visit Iguazu Falls is from January to March – the rainy season, this is when water flow of the waterfall is greatest, but the waterfall is amazing at any time of year. The hottest months in Iguazu Falls are October through April with lows of 20°C and highs of 32°C. Winter sees this fall to highs of 22°C and occasional lows of 12°C, with cooler nights. Being tropical and humid, there is always the chance of rain in Iguazu.

Bariloche is nestled in Argentina’s Lake District and is built next to the cold water Lake Nahuel Huapi. During the summer, daylight extends from 6am to 10pm and temperatures fluctuate from 5-20°C, the warm days making for ideal conditions for exploration. In the winter, snow abounds for skiers and daylight is from 9am to 7pm, city temps varying from just above to just below freezing, with much cooler temperatures in the mountains.

The rain-shadow effect in Bariloche means weather conditions are relatively dry and stable. Summer rainfall in the town of Bariloche is low (average 5 days precipitation a month).

 

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.

 

Overview

Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world, and has a myriad of climates from humid tropics to bracingly cold Patagonia.

When planning for these changeable climatic conditions you will encounter across Argentina, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system.

The sun is very strong throughout the country, so good sun cream, a hat and sunglasses are vital. Summer in the north of the country means t-shirts and shorts.

It can also get very cold at night time especially in the mountains. Jumpers, fleeces and warms hats – which you can buy there – are also essential.

Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.

Below is a more detailed guide.

 

Detailed kit list

  • Medium weight parka or a down jacket.
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers. The jacket needs to be water proof and roomy. Side-zip pants are recommended.
  • 2-3 long-sleeve shirts – no cotton
  • 2-3 short-sleeve T-shirts – no cotton
  • 2 pair of hiking trousers- cotton or synthetic material (no jeans)
  • 1 fleece or sweat trousers (for cold evenings)
  • 2 pair hiking shorts
  • Long thermals – synthetic or wool – light to medium weight top & bottoms.
  • 2-3 mid-weight (wool or synthetic) socks.
  • 2-3 liner socks if needed
  • Athletic-type socks, several pairs, city use
  • Hiking boots that are waterproof and well broken-in.
  • Running/tennis shoes or sandals are very comfortable when you are in cities
  • 1 lightweight wool sweater or windproof fleece
  • 1 wool or synthetic warm hat.
  • 1 light sun hat with a wide brim.
  • 1 pair of medium-weight wool or synthetic gloves
  • Broad-brimmed sunhat, essential.
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Scarf for cold.
  • Bandanna – to protect neck from strong sun.
  • Daypack (at least 30 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Water bottle (2 litres approx.) & purification tablets.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Insect repellent (just in case)
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Penknife.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Plastic bags – ‘Zip-loc’ & tough bin liners.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!).
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other to help pass the time.
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.

 

Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport.
  • U.S. dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Any inoculation certificates.
  • Personal & medical insurance certificates.
  • Presents e.g. Postcards from home.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smart clothes for night life, especially in big cities.

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.

 

What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.

 

Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.

 

I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.


Bariloche, Argentina

Bariloche is the jewel in Argentina’s Lake District Crown.

Beautiful mountains, forests and lakes make this area perfect for anyone who likes the outdoors.

You can kayak, bike and hike around the stunning scenery of Nahuel Huapi National park.

Or perhaps hike to amazing viewpoints with panoramas over a geographically stunning area of great beauty.

Bariloche also offers the Cruce Andino Lake Crossing into Chile. The best time to visit the area is October-April.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is Argentina’s elegant capital city.

It is a city of culture, art and music and gateway to the rest of the country, well worth a few days of exploring.

Must sees are the Casa Rosada Government Palace, the Cathedral, La Boca district with its colourful houses and tradition of tango and football.

Also not to be missed are the flea market and streets of the bohemian neighbourhood of San Telmo and the Recoleta cemetery where Evita’s tomb is to be found.

After a guided tour by bike or on foot, take the time to sit at one of the many excellent coffee shops and watch the sophisticated Porteños go about their business.

The city has a plethora of good restaurants and is a haven for meat eaters, with plenty of veggie options too.

The night life is buzzing and the district of Palermo will have a meal and bar to suit all pockets and tastes.

El Calafate, Argentina

El Calafate is situated on the southern shore of Lago Argentino, and is your starting point for discovering Argentine Patagonia.

Most trekkers will come through El Calafate en route to Chalten and Fitzroy National Park.

Nearby attractions to El Calafate itself include the Perito Moreno Glacier – one of the few glaciers which is still advancing. There are a series of walkways mean that you can get up close to the 75 m high and 5Km wide glacial wall.

Other glaciers which can be visited are the Upsala glacier and the town has its own Glaciarium – ice museum.

The town offers a wide range of accommodation options and restaurants as well as outdoor shops.

El Chalten, Argentina

El Chalten is the trailhead for the trekking trails into the Glaciares National Park – Fitzroy!

Day treks include the Torre Trail (to Lake Torre), trek to Laguna Los Tres at the base of Mount Fitzroy, and the Loma de Pliegue Tumbado Trek.

The town is also the departure point for expeditions to the Southern Ice Field.

Other options in the area include horseback riding, kayak, mountain bike and glacier treks.

This small settlement has a variety of accommodation options.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

The mighty roar of the water poring over the cliff edges is the soundtrack to this incredible spectacle of nature.

Iguazu Falls is made up of some 275 individual cascades which line the rim of a crescent-shaped cliff about 2.5 miles long.

From here, the waters plummet up to 82m/269ft into the gorge below, in one of the most dramatic settings in Argentina, with the thunderous roaring of Iguazu heard from miles away.

Walk the paths among the different falls and for those with a head for heights take the walkway that leads you into the heart of the Devil’s throat, the biggest, deepest, most impressive fall.

There is the opportunity to take a boat ride at the foot of the falls or to just walk and admire the lush tropical vegetation and wildlife, as well as the scenery.

It is well worth visiting both the Argentine and Brasilian sides of the Falls to really experience and appreciate the true power of these waterfalls.

North West Argentina

North west Argentina is one of those places that is still off the beaten track but when you get there you wonder why.

The main gateway is the city of Salta – famous for its pasties, known locally as empanadas.

Places to visit are Cafayate – famous for its wines and the “Quebrada de Las Cochas” with its incredible rock formations.

North of Salta don’t miss Humahuaca with its multicoloured hills,  Tilcara with its Pukara (pre-Columbian fortress) and the Salinas Grandes salt flat.

Peninsula Valdes, Argentina

The Valdez Peninsula on the northern coast of Argentine Patagonia is a paradise for nature lovers.

The Southern Right whale can be spotted from June to December, killer whales from September to April and Magellanic Penguins from September to March.

Sea lions, dolphins, seals as well as guanacos, rheas and armadillos can be found all year round.

There are lots of shells, fossils and natural history on full display in the rocky cliffs.

The gateway airport is at Trelew and the ideal base for exploration is Puerto Madryn.

Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, is Argentina’s southernmost city and is perched on the Beagle Channel.

What was once a remote penal colony is now a bustling port and the gateway to Antarctica.

Ushuaia is historically interesting, Charles Darwin wrote much about it, and it is home to some interesting museums of naval history.

Visitors can take a sailing tour on the wildlife rich Beagle channel, visit a Penguin colony during the season, trek into the mountains behind the city and kayak in the Tierra del Fuego national park.

Cruises set off from here for Antarctica or Punta Arenas in Chile – via Cape Horn.

 

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