Gobernador Virasoro – Mercedes (Esteros del Ibera)

Gobernador Virasoro – Galarza – Colonia Pellegrini – Mercedes


This route is nowhere near the Andes and has little scenery of interest, being as it is on very flat roads in Corrientes. However, it passes through the Esteros del Ibera – one of the best places in Argentina to view wildlife. Caymans, capybaras, howler monkeys, birds…all this and more on walks and boat trips from Colonia Pellegrini. The road north of Colonia Pellegrini is in terrible shape with lots of pushing required through deep sand, but the approach from Mercedes to the south is fine.

There are regularly spaced estancias on RPs37/41/40 north of Colonia Pellegrini and a few places south of the town on the way to Mercedes where you can get water. Colonia Pellegrini is the only place to buy food on this route. Galarza is a tiny place with about 5 houses and a school, but no shop.

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On a nice hard mud surface
End of day dirt line
On a slightly sandier surface
Esteros del Ibera
The lake at Colonia Pellegrini
Vulture in the Esteros del Ibera
Cayman in the Esteros del Ibera
Capybara in the Esteros del Ibera
Gauchito Gil shrine near Mercedes

Details
Distance – 273kms Head west on RP37 from the RN14 junction north of Gobernador Virasoro. After about 50kms on an excellent hard mud (in dry season anyway) surface turn L (south) onto RP41.
Reach Galarza after a further 30kms, parts of which are sandy and require pushing. From Galarza head south for another 30kms on a good surface, then turn R (west) at the junction with RP40. From this junction it is 48kms to Colonia Pellegrini, the initial half of which is on an awful sandy surface that requires long periods of pushing.
Nearer Pellegrini the surface is better. Leave Colonia Pellegrini via the bridge, reaching the tarmac before Mercedes after 115kms, mostly on a good, hard surface. There is virtually no climbing all route.
Time taken – 3 days 5 hours: RN14 to Galarza.
8 hours: Galarza to Colonia Pellegrini.
8 hours: Colonia Pellegrini to Mercedes (headwind).
Traffic A few vehicles per hour north of Colonia Pellegrini. More south of Colonia Pellegrini.
When we cycled Early November 2009 (the dry and very hot season).
Difficulty 3
How much we had to push on this route About 15kms (sand)

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