With our travel experts lining up to share their wisdom with you, the second blog article in this series falls to Marcos. Born and raised in Argentina, Marcos has extensively traveled across South America, enjoying the different off-the-beaten-path destinations and exploring the different local cuisines. Located in our Buenos Aires office, Marcos’ passion and knowledge of South America really shines through, especially when he gets talking about the local recipes and food!
Hola Marcos! What is your favorite Central or South America destination and why?
Hola! My favorite destination is Esteros del Ibera in the province of Corrientes in Argentina. The place is still untouched, especially when compared to many of the other well developed and worldwide known travel destinations in Central & South America. The road to get in and out is still a dirt track and Ibera is still somehow difficult to reach, meaning that many people dismiss this destination before even trying to get there.
However, what they don’t know is that they are missing a real jewel of Argentina!
You encounter a natural paradise for bird watching and animal spotting, a real Mesopotamian experience and on top of this; the province Corrientes is very rich culturally and in terms of folklore.
What is your favorite activity or tour to do whilst in Esteros del Ibera?
There is so much to do there! When I went I enjoyed horseback riding, bird watching, piranha fishing and feeding alligators. Also watching the capybaras, hiking in the ‘monte‘ and going on boat rides through the beautiful wetlands were some more of the activities I loved doing whilst I was there.
We know you like cooking and the different cuisines so; what is your favorite dish from Esteros del Ibera?
Some typical food you can find in the region is, River Fish such as Pacu, Surubi, Pati, Ray and Dorado and another delicacy is Chipa which is a type of cheese bread and of course the ever present Argentinean Asado. The beef in this area is a little different to the rest of Argentina and is more similar to the meat found in Southern Brazil meaning that it’s not as tender as the meat in Buenos Aires but is still very tasty.
There are also a few odd dishes, such as Alligator and Capybara which can be eaten and in fact is done in many parts of Mesopotamia and the nearby provinces of Entre Rios, Corrientes, Misiones, Chaco and Formosa.
However, you need to keep in mind that in Ibera the animals are protected! There are places in these nearby provinces that breed these animals for human consumption and I can tell you that alligator tastes like chicken and capybara like pork…they are both delicious! If you are in Buenos Aires, there is a wonderful restaurant called, El Baqueano in San Telmo, (Calle Chile 495) where you can try the different regional meats and dishes that are endemic to those specific provinces in Argentina.
Where is your favorite place to stay in Esteros del Ibera?
I have a few places I like to stay: Irupe Lodge, Ecoposada del Estero, Posada Aguape and Estancia San Juan de Poriahu are all fantastic and each place offers a different experience.
What would you say is the one place travelers to Esteros del Ibera have to see, do or try?
You have to try and do as much as possible! Esteros del Ibera is a place to enjoy being away from the noises of the modern world, in the middle of nowhere whilst still having certain comforts.
What would be your one travel expert piece of advice to give to travelers going to Esteros del Ibera?
Read about the local culture, animals, birds and nature before traveling to really value where you are going. You should also read about water reserves worldwide and get a feel of why this Esteros del Ibera is so important.
Where in Central/South America is next on your list for places you want to visit and why?
As always, food is one of the very first things I think of when deciding on where to travel to and whether to visit new places or revisit places I have already been. I would have to add scuba diving to my list, with Fernando de Noronha in Brazil and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador at the top of that list.
“There are still many places left for me to discover.” – Marcos
If you had to choose one essential item you always take traveling with you what would it be?
I don’t really have one essential item that I take traveling with me. I love traveling, seeing the different cultures and traditions and of course trying out the different local dishes! I would say that the memories, photos, recipes and what I have learnt from visiting a destination is what I like to take away with me and on to other destinations that I visit.