Posada de la Laguna

Esteros del Ibera, Iguazu & Northeast, Argentina Book from

Blissful tranquillity and fascinating boat trips at an elegant lodge in the bird-filled wetlands of northeast Argentina
One of the least known of Argentina’s natural wonders, the Esteros del Iberá reserve hosts over 350 species of birds in an immense, dreamlike, watery paradise the size of Belgium. It's so unspoilt that wildlife carries on all around you as if you weren’t there. Your boat slips between floating islands dotted with palms on mirror-calm lagoons reflecting the wide open sky; birds swoop and call in all directions. Returning at sunset, the world turns vermillion, and you’re suspended somewhere between lake and sky.

Among a slew of hotels attracting flocks of European twitchers, Posada de la Laguna is unique. Small, elegant and intimate, it was created by owner Elsa Guiraldes to give guests contact with this natural beauty and help preserve it. Built in local Correntino style, it has gardens going down to the lagoon and hammocks on vine-covered verandas that invite you to gaze on wide open views. With just 7 rooms, each guest receives Elsa’s personalised welcome - being here is like staying with charming friends.

Highs

  • Inspiring host Elsa Guiraldes, a painter and granddaughter of a major Argentine poet, makes you feel instantly at ease
  • Wonderful boat trips: the guides have lived here all their lives and know the lagoons intimately. They’ll take you to see specific birds, howler monkeys, marsh deer and alligators
  • Utter tranquillity - the most relaxing place we visited in Argentina. And service is excellent, without the fuss and pomp of a big hotel
  • The food - all locally grown with daily changing menus
  • All meals and activities are included, so it's excellent value for money

Lows

  • The posada is beautiful and comfortable, but it's not 5-star luxury hotel standard. However the service is genuine and personalised
  • Not for those who want nightlife, urban entertainment and all the mod cons. There’s WiFi, but no TV
  • It’s a long way from anywhere - set in the small village of Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, 120km from Mercedes and 800km from Buenos Aires - but that’s the point

Best time to go

The Esteros are interesting all year round. The best time for seeing wildlife is spring and summer (September to April), though temperatures can reach an unbearable 45C in January. October and November are great, and so is March. Avoid the major Argentine holiday period of July and August, and book ahead for Easter.

Our top tips

You’ll want to spend at least 3 nights here to make the journey worthwhile and participate in the boat trips and horse riding. We'd also recommend a couple of mornings just lazing around reading, watching the lagoon and doing very little. It’s a good place to recover from jet lag.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Nature Lodge
  • 7
  • All meals included
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Being on the Esteros broadens the mind and heightens the senses; it's meditative. Gazing up at the wooden beams in our room after a glorious siesta, it was clear that the space had been carefully designed to sit in harmony with the open vistas outside.

Natural materials bring authenticity: uneven, whitewashed, hand-stuccoed walls; brick patios where hammocks are slung; handmade tiles on the floors; and high ceilings lined with local wood. The rooms have windows in 2 directions, and shutters are handmade in the traditional way. It looks like an old traditional estancia of the region, but with the added advantages of being clean and modern, with sparkling contemporary bathrooms.

Beds are supremely comfortable, with pristine white linens. Wicker furniture and restored antique pieces give a sense of history, and warmth and detail is added with quirky sculptures of birds and an array of paintings. WiFi is available throughout. A great virtue of Elsa’s design is that the guest bedrooms are in a separate house from the sitting and dining rooms, so you won’t be disturbed by other guests if you have an early night.

The 7 rooms are all doubles or twins (request your preference) and all have private bathrooms stocked with L'Occitane goodies. Outside you have your own stretch of veranda from which you’ll spot birds, as the garden goes right down to the lagoon. The effect is subtle but appealing: you have your own private space to utterly relax, and unlike the other hotels in the area, there’s no sense of an agenda to fit in with.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Elsa takes great care to ensure that meals at the Posada are balanced and healthy. As is usual in an estancia, menus are set rather than à la carte, but dietary requirements can be catered for. Vegetarians will be very happy.

Breakfast is a simple affair of juice, home-baked breads and toast with local jams. Cereals are on offer, too. Lunch can be taken with you on your activities or eaten in the cool of the terrace.

Dinner is more of an event, with guests invited to gather for a convivial glass of wine on the comfortable white sofas beforehand. The dining room is spacious, and rustic without being twee: checked tablecloths, white linen, impeccable taste. Each pair of guests has their own table, but single travellers can eat with Elsa and her son Alejandro if they choose. There are 3 courses, with fresh vegetables and salads, along with locally reared meat or homemade pasta. Traditional Argentine recipes are used and puddings are a speciality. Argentine wines are served, though these aren’t included in the price.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Organic produce
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Head out on a boat trip into the lagoon. Setting out early in the morning or after tea (stunning), you’ll spend 2 hours with the Posada’s guide, who knows all the flora and fauna. Elsa or Alejandro will accompany those who don’t speak Spanish, to translate. You’ll see an astonishing number of birds, as well as capybaras swimming with their young and alligators basking on rocks. Climb onto the islands, where marsh deer and otters scamper, to discover that they’re wafer-thin and spongy!

  • Once you’ve done the main boat trip, set out in a canoe to see even more wildlife at your own leisure

  • Several different horse rides are offered, suitable for novices and the more experienced. Try a 1-hour ride around Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, a 2-hour ride across palm forests, or an all-day ride to Camba, visiting a typical Correntino farm for lunch

  • Borrow bicycles and meander around the estate

  • Take a cultural tour of the area, to meet local farmers and see more of the region. You can also learn basic Guaraní from a teacher in the village (ask at reception)

  • The nocturnal walks are highly recommended. You'll see and hear another set of creatures, and they're great for kids

  • Go swimming in the estancia's pool, which is tranquil with wonderful views

  • Visit in February and experience the local Gauchito Gil festival

  • Elsa's brother Francisco (Pancho) González Alzaga is a well-known chef who owns a restaurant called Bar6 in Buenos Aires; he organises training courses at the Posada

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Language courses
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Safaris
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome, and those under 2 stay for free when sharing their parents' room. Babysitting, cots and extra beds are available on request. Older children will love the space, the pool, the grounds, and the boat trips and horse rides.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool
  • Exploring the estate
  • Nocturnal walks

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Boat trips to sight wildlife on the lagoons
  • Horse riding
  • Bicycles to borrow

Distances:

  • Airport: 4 hours
Kid Friendly:

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