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Argentina Wildlife: Tropical wetlands and Patagonia

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The vast and varied territory of Argentina is home to a huge variety of observable wildlife. This holiday introduces you to the exotic birds and mammals of the remote northern wetlands and sub-tropical rainforest and the whales, penguins and sea-elephants of the wilderness steppes of Patagonia further south. 

From Buenos Aires move on to a lodge in the serene Iberá wetlands, where during boat excursions on the lagoons  you may spot giant storks, capybara and anteaters. Travel on to Iguazú, where you stay in a friendly lodge deep in the the rainforest is populated by birds such as toucans and parakeets and mammals including coati, opossums and deer. Close by are the monumental Iguazú Falls, visited by an abundance of birds. 

It’s a dramatic change of scene when you arrive in Patagonia, a wilderness of windswept grasslands, craggy cliffs and Atlantic beaches, where penguins congregate in their thousands to breed. In season, whales can be spotted spouting and frolicking, and the remote seaweed-collecting eco-village Bahia Bustamente adds a cultural element to your wildlife viewing. 

These locations, especially the Iberá wetlands and Bahia Bustamente, are truly remote, in areas of little infrastructure; but here you have the advantage of being able to stay in unique accommodation where you are well looked after by committed and knowledgeable management  with a passion for their environment and an imaginative wide-ranging menu of individualised excursions and activities: you may well be the only visitors for miles around. 

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in the Recoleta district.

Day 2

Guided city tour.

Day 3

Fly to Posadas in the northwest and continue to the Iberá wetlands.

Days 4-5

Guided expeditions from the lodge.

Day 6

By road to Puerto Iguazú and hotel close to the Iguazú Falls.

Day 7

At leisure to explore Iguazú Falls.

Day 8

By road to nearby rainforest lodge.

Day 9

Guided excursions from the lodge.

Day 10

Fly from Iguazú airport to Trelew in Patagonia; by road to Puerto Madryn.

Day 11

Guided excursion to Peninsula Valdés (with whale-watching by boat Aug-Dec).

Day 12

By road to Bahía Bustamente.

Days 13-14

Excursions from the lodge.

Day 15

Transfer to Comodoro Rivadavia airport and fly to Buenos Aires, overnight for final night.

Day 16

Transfer to airport for your international flight home.

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What our experts say

Perhaps less well-known for its wildlife than its larger neighbour, Brazil, Argentina is nonetheless a wonderfully varied destination when it comes to flora and fauna. This trip is great for wildlife-lovers looking for something a bit different: I love that you can be spotting capybara and anteaters in the Iberá wetlands one day and then whale-watching in the Valdés Peninsula just a few days later.

Hannah

Hannah Waterhouse

Travel Consultants

Places visited on this holiday

Argentina Wildlife: Tropical wetlands and Patagonia

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Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Along with Rio, this is a city worth crossing the Atlantic for in its own right. Dynamic, stylish and nostalgic, it’s the continent’s most European city, but does not lack South American verve. Its contrasting neighbourhoods reveal colonial plazas, shady avenues, quirky antique fairs, street art, world famous theatres and football stadiums and spruced-up metropolitan port districts. Studded with extensive parks, cutting-edge boutique hotels, designer boutiques and a myriad of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, it’s a restless place, challenging to find your way around but well worth the effort. It’s the beating heart of Argentina, the hub for visits throughout the country.
When's the best time to visit Buenos Aires?

Buenos Aires is at its hottest Jan-Mar (very humid with tropical showers, occasionally over 40C during the day). It can be cold and cloudy Jul-Aug, so weather conditions are best for a visit in spring and autumn. Dec-Feb and Jul are local holiday times: Porteños head for the beach.

What's the official language in Buenos Aires?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Buenos Aires?

Argentine Peso.

Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. Please note that in 2016 many of the ATMs were not functioning properly; we are recommending that for the moment you take a good supply of US dollars cash. There are many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling frequently poor. 

What's the time difference between Buenos Aires and the UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Buenos Aires?

Beach time in Mar del Plata (392 km by road, 5hrs); Colonia or Montevideo in Uruguay across the River Plate: travel by ferry, bus or plane; a stay on a working estancia in the pampa south and west of the city; Iguazú Falls (2hrs approx by air).

How long is the flight to Buenos Aires from the UK?

Average flight time is 14hrs 20mins on a direct flight from London. There are also flights requiring a change of plane in Europe or the USA.

What are the festivals and cultural and sports events in Buenos Aires?

Tango Festival: Aug. The world's – top tango festival, nine days  of concerts, shows, free classes, exhibitions, open-air milongas (Avenida Corrientes is closed for a massive display) and other tango-related festivities.

Opera season: Mar-Dec. Take in a concert or opera at the refurbished Teatro Colón which attracts internationally esteemed artists. 

Argentine Polo Open: Mid Nov-mid Dec. Polo is a passion for many Argentines. This is the year’s main attraction, taking place in Palermo’s 16,000 seater stadium.

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Ibera wetlands
Iberia Wetlands
Once the haunt of hunters targeting the cornucopia of wildlife this remote region of marshy wetlands, lagoons, floating islands and streams is now protected as  a nature reserve. Wildlife has resurged, with caiman, otters, swamp deer, capybaras, wolves, howler monkeys and over 400 species of bird thrive there. The remoteness of the region in northern Argentina restricted tourism in the past, but now the area is opening up to visitors in a low key way, with friendly lodges where the accent is on relaxation and water-borne or horseback exploration.
When's the best time to visit Ibera Wetlands?
From a climate point of view, most rain falls Oct-Apr. Temperatures range from 30°C in Jan down to 20°C in Jul. Wildlife can be viewed throughout the year but is more subdued in winter. Birdwatching is at its best Apr-Oct.
What's the official language of Ibera Wetlands?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Ibera Wetlands?

Argentine Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in larger towns and cities using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. Acquire pesos before you head out into the reserve.

What's the time difference between Ibera Wetlands and UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Ibera Wetlands?

A visit to the capital Buenos Aires; the Iguazú Falls (471 km) with a scenic nature drive to Pelligrini from Puerto Iguazú (8-10hrs on partially paved road).

How do I get to Ibera Wetlands?

Fly from Buenos Aires to Posadas (1hr, followed by a drive of 5hrs) or to Mercedes in Corrientes (plus a 2-3 hour drive). There are also private charter flights to some of the lodges.

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Iguazu Falls
Iguazu falls

Straddling the border between southern Brazil and northeast Argentina, The Iguazú Falls (spelt  Iguaçú in Brazil) are usually rated number one of the big three waterfalls, the others being Niagara and Victoria. They are often considered to be Latin America’s most awe-inspiring natural sight and a must-see for anyone visiting the highlights of the continent.

The 275 separate cascades form a curtain of foaming water which crashes through tangled sub-tropical jungle over a vast granite amphitheatre, protected by national park status. Both countries offer scenic walkways with breath-taking scenery around every corner and easily observed wildlife. From the Brazilian side you’ll get a panoramic view of the 3km cliff edge, on the Argentine side there is a series of walkways leading you above, below and even behind the water.

When's the best time to go to Iguazu Falls?

Iguazú Falls is a year-round destination, but water levels and weather conditions vary with the rainy (Dec-Feb) and dry (Jun-Jul) seasons. The water supply to the falls also varies according to the local control of the dams upstream. It can be busy with tourists in local holiday seasons, for example in Feb and at Easter.

What's the official language in Iguazu Falls?

Brazilian Portuguese; Argentinean Spanish.

How do i get to Iguazu Falls?

There are direct flights connecting Iguazú Falls to Buenos Aires (2 hours), Rio de Janeiro (2 hours), Lima, São Paulo, and Salta in northern Argentina.

What's the official currency at Iguazu Falls?

Brazilian Real.

Brazil: notes can be withdrawn from ATMs in Foz do Iguazú Banco do Brasil, Bradesco and HSBC accept UK credit or debit cards. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. ATMs close at 10pm.

Argentina: there are a couple of ATMs in Puerto Iguazú where the banks are only open in the mornings.

What's the time difference between GMT and Iguazu falls?

GMT -3 hours. There is daylight saving from October to the end of February (approx) when clocks are put forward one hour.

What countries combine well with Iguazu Falls?

Argentina: Buenos Aires - there are direct daily 2 hour flights from Puerto Iguazú; Salta in the northwest Andes: daily flights take 1 hour 50mins.
Brazil: Rio de Janeiro - There are daily flights from Foz do Iguaçú; Southern Brazil: there are flights from Foz do Iguaçu to Curitiba with connections; The Pantanal or the Amazon: there are daily flights to Campo Grande or Manaus with connections in São Paulo.
Peru: there are daily flights from Foz do Iguaçú to Lima, 4.5 hours.

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Valdes Peninsula and Puerto Madryn
Valdés Peninsula and Puerto Madryn
Bleak and inhospitable to humans, the tawny, barren steppes and crumbly cliffs of the Valdés Peninsula on the Atlantic coast of northern Patagonia host one of the world’s greatest wildlife and marine reserves. Braving the gales on the treeless plains are ñandus (ostriches), guanacos, Patagonian hares and armadillos, while on the beaches and out at sea southern right and killer whales, elephant seals, sea-lions and huge penguin colonies loiter and breed. There’s a huge variety of seabirds too. Puerto Pirámides is a basic place to stay on the peninsula but a short drive away Puerto Madryn is a pleasant if breezy seaside resort.

In 1865, Argentina welcomed settlers from Wales, and to this day the Welsh heritage is still an important feature of this region. where the geography is reminiscent of the Cambrian Mountains in the Principality. Villages around Trelew and Gaiman are dotted with Welsh tea rooms, and sightings of red headed Argentinians speaking in Welsh are not uncommon. Many visitors flock to this part of Patagonia to witness the vestiges of this unique Welsh culture.

 


When's the best time to go to Valdez Peninsula?
Wildlife is present throughout the year (sea-lions, elephant seals, dolphins, seabirds). Southern right whales visit Jun-Dec, breeding Sep-Nov. Penguins congregate on the beaches Sept-Mar. Rain falls Mar-Jul when the temperature dips to 16°C from a high of up to 30°C in summer.
What's the official language of Tierra del Fuego?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Valdez Peninsula?

Argentine Peso. There are a couple of banks with ATMs accepting foreign cards. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows.

What's the time difference between Valdez Peninsula and UK?

GMT -3 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, but this is announced ad hoc on a year-on-year basis.

What places combine well with Valdez Peninsula?

El Calafate in the Los Glaciares National Park to visit Perito Moreno Glacier, (1hr 20mins flight).

How do I get to Valdez Peninsula?

Flights from Buenos Aires to Trelew take take 1.5 hours; from El Calafate 1 hour 20mins.

What are the festivals and cultural and sporting events in Valdez Peninsula?
The Eisteddfod de Chubut: late Oct in Trelew, base for visits to the penguins at Punta Tombo, held annually for over 130 years in the centre of the Welsh colonist community.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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