Our first kilometers in Argentina and many more will follow! We enter this huge country in the North East and cycle through the Missiones provence. We want to stay away from the busy highway with no shoulder and find ourselves on a detour in search for crocs and capibaras in Esteros del Iberá.
The rollercoaster ride continues as we enter Argentina! After another amazing visit to the Iguazu waterfalls on the Argentinian side, we continue and visit ruines on our way to more remote and unpaved riding with a million butterflies to accompany us.
Esteros del Iberá
It’s ‘only’ 160 kilometers to the heart of the Provincial Park Esteros del Iberá, Carlos Pelligrini. Flat kilometers. Flat as a pancake. We can do that in one day! With tailwinds we fly the first 30 kilometers to the turnoff, where the pavement ends. No worries, it’s a good quality unpaved road, we still manage to reach a good average speed… until we pass a river… here the misery starts…
Cows have damaged the road and 4×4 cars have made deep, narrow trenches so we jump all over the place, luckily for us there is no traffic. The only signs of life are the cows, poisonous green snakes and caymans and in the mean time temperature has risen to 40 degrees Celsius, but we keep going! We are in a good mood and still believe we can make it. We must! There’s nothing here…
After cycling 101 kilometers we hit a crossroad, we stop and share a warm coke for some energy, but as soon as we start pedalling again our Santos Travel Lites just stop! The road has turned into a sand-box and cycling is just impossible. We have to push, 10 meters, rest, push again, maybe ride a couple of meters, stop, push, stop.. well, you understand. Kilometer after kilometer.. After pushing for 9 kilometers we figure we can’t make it to Carlos Pellegrini tonight, we pass a farmers house and ask if we can camp in his yard. No problem! And he gives us water from a well too! Completely exhausted we fall asleep as soon as we hit our pillows.
The next morning we say goodbye to our friendly host and hit the sand again. Unfortunately nothing has changed overnight, so we are pushing again. A car stops and offers to take our luggage, but we are in no way thinking of giving up that easily, but we do appreciate the bottle of water he gives us. We manage to do 6 kilometers in the next hour and again a car stops. “This road is way too bad!” Right, we didn’t notice.. He too offers to take our luggage and drop it of at the campsite, but we still think we should ride it with all our gear, so we thank him and keep pushing… After 9 cycle/push hours we finally reach the beautiful campsite of Carlos Pellegrini and we get to see the caymans and capibaras as a reward. This was a hell of an adventure!