Uruguay

Trip Start Aug 28, 2006
1
53
122
Trip End Sep 16, 2007


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Where I stayed
Reserva Provincial Esteros

Flag of Uruguay  ,
Saturday, March 10, 2007

We're in Punta del Diablo, Uruguay at the moment.  I love this place, it's a crazy, low key, little beach town.  This is our third and last stop in Uruguay before we travel onto Brazil.  My previous blog ended with the carnival at Gualeguaychu, Argentina.  After this we stayed at Reserva Provincial Esteros del Iberia for a few days to celebrate my mum's birthday and take in some of the local wild life.  Then our most northerly stop at the tip of Argentina was Iguazu falls, the widest water falls in the world.  From there we traveled to Uruguay.  Our first stop being Colonia, an old smugglers port, then the capital city Montevideo and now Punta del Diablo.

Esteros del Ibera covers 13,000sqkm, it is the second largest wetlands in South America after Brazil's Pantanal. We had to drive for 3 hours through flat, dry savannah from Posadas to reach our lodge.  We explored the wetlands by motor boat, canoe, hiking and horse back and were told there are a total of 350 species of bird that visit the wetlands throughout the year.  We didn't see them all, but notably we did see black vultures, southern screamers, a wattle Jucus family that we took under our wing, rufescent tiger herons, ringed kingfishers, and more.  We saw marsh deer, a lot of capybaras - which are over sized guinea pigs with webbed feet, caiman crocodiles, hundreds of dragon fly and mosquitoes, the later of which we felt their presence.  We went on a night trip by boat, the moon was out and a very beautiful thunder storm was lighting up the horizon.  The eyes of the caimens were reflected in the drivers search light; we were being watched!!  We stumbled across a nest of baby crocodiles, out of the 50 babies in the nest, probably only 2 will make it to adulthood.  By the following day it had been raining all night and the dirt track roads out were flooded, it took us 8 hours to get back to Posadas and a further 3 to get to Puerto Iguazu, our next stop. 

Iguazu Falls are set in a back drop of sub-tropical rain forest, the power, size and sheer noise of the falls were spectacular.  We walked around the well developed walk ways, one of which takes you to the top of the falls so that you can look down into the mist below.  We took a zodiac ride up to the waterfall, close enough to get wet and not be able to see anything!!   In the evening we went back and saw the waterfalls by the light of the full moon.  Here we said good bye to my parents who traveled from here down to Peninsula Valdes and we traveled onto Uruguay.

We caught a catamaran from Buenos Aires crossing the famous Rio de la Plata, the water that separates the rival footballs teams in Argentina and Uruguay.  Our first stop was Colonia del  Sacramento, an old Portuguese smugglers port with cute cobbled streets, terrace cafes and views of the river.  We walked around, visited a few museums and went to the top of the lighthouse.  Next stop, the capital city Montevideo. 

We were in Montevideo at the same time as George Bush, who is on his "You're either with us, or with Venezuela" tour of South America, the local people took it well, we didn't manage to get an autograph. Montevideo, like Buenos Aires, is a very European and green looking city.  We visited Palacio Muncipal, the parliament building, which has beautiful marble interiors.  The Museo del Futbol, in the Estadio Centenario, where the entrance tickets are a replica of the first world cup ticket, held there in 1930.  We also took in the views along the promenade.

Next stop, Punta del Diablo.  I really like this place, it's a really simple, laid back little fishing village.  We hired a little hut on the beach here and just lounged around enjoying the sea and the sun for a couple of days.  Tomorrow we are due to leave for Brazil, first stop will be Porto Alegre.
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