I have finally arrived in Iguazu, after spending a whole day traveling from that jungle lodge … here it is again. It was only about 300 km away, but took all day, as the rickety bus from the nearby pueblo of El Soberbio, stopped all the time, spending ages at each town it entered … really it was boring .. but there was an elderly guy next to me that looked Slavic, and we spent most of the time chatting in Ukrainian! This part of Argentina is teeming with Slavs!
I spent 3 nights at the Don Enrique. My pre-booked 4×4 pickup was waiting for me in El Soberbio, on the border with Brazil. The folks in these parts speak mainly Portuguese and Guarani, the indigenous language. It took one & half hours to arrive at the lodge, along a very muddy and potholed track for 35 kms, passing some simple farms that grew yerbamate tobacco and tea. It finally stopped raining, the temperature is perfect.
The lodge was just what I wanted … solitude, peace, quiet, the only sounds were the very fast stream, many birds singing, and hundreds of butterflies! My cabin was separate from the main house by about 50 meters, totally isolated.
The couple who run it built this place two years ago, and have received many guests in that time. They originally lived in Beunos Aires, and were very hospitable. They have thought of everything one could want, only no phones, TV, internet – only radio contact with outside world.
The cabin is situated in a very jungly ravine, on the stream Paraiso, and opposite the stream is the Parque Yaboti Biosfera which is a national park. We had an excursion to the park, crossing by kayak, then trekking up and down gullies, climbing cascades (got wet), very thick jungle, hilly terrain with only liana vines to grab onto. Saw many parrots, a group of very aggressive monkeys, lizards and footprints of other animals. There are jaguars, pumas, tapir, carpinchos, otters and many other beasts in this jungle.
They employ a great cook (a farmer’s wife) whose cuisine would rival the best chef in Melbourne, and only cooks on a wood fired stove with no oven! Producing fabulous 3 course meals, which are eaten with the hosts on the deck of their house.
My cabin had a large sun deck with lounge chairs, everything made of wood,hammock, all windows and doors opening to the elements, and the bed was only feet away from the stream. If you don´t like insects, it would be a problem. I rescued many moths, a bat, a frog from my room, and my bathtub was a magnet for butterflies!
There was a family of huge lizards living under my cabin. In bed at night bugs flit about you, and you hear strange rustling noises and plops in the water (yes .. the fish jump out here).
There´s a watch tower nearby, overlooking the canopy, where mate is set up for your enjoyment (it tastes like sour grass!) but everyone in Argentina sucks on it! We were served many items of indigenous food (wish I remembered their names). The cabins are fitted with oil lamps, lots of candles, a very romantic atmosphere (the electricity often cuts off).
First day was alone with the hosts, the second day, two sisters from Gdansk in Poland showed up! We went together with the guide for an excursion to see some Guarani Indians in their village deep in the jungle. Were led by the chief into the bush to show us how they trap animals etc. and some children sang for us in their language.
They have some cleared land where they grow maize etc. and they even had a place of worship. They live in wooden shacks. The Misiones area and part of Brazil & Paraguay is their homeland. They only spoke Guarani, and lived primitively.
It was fascinating.
Anyway folks, back now to civilization, settling into the Las Orgente hotel.