Rincon del Socorro
The Ibera Wetlands are often overshadowed by Brazil’s larger and wider-known Pantanal but they are just as spectacular. Ibera means ‘bright water’ in the local guarani dialect. When the sun catches the water and every horizon flashes sliver, it is easy to see why.
Tucked into this remarkable private reserve is Rincon del Socorro, a former estancia owned now by Kristine Thompkins (former CEO of Patagonia clothing) and her late husband, Doug. Passionate conservationists, the couple have converted a vast swathe of this land to protect if from over-farming and are currently working with leading scientists to reintroduce jaguar and other mammals that have become extinct from the region due to human intervention.
Rincon is run by the Conservation Land Trust (CLT) and many of the resident guides are also working scientists and environmentalists who are based at the lodge on research sabbaticals. Their knowledge of the wetlands and how these ecosystems fit into a wider goal for global conservation is unparalleled in the region. Local gauchos also work in the area and they will use their excellent punting skills to effortlessly glide guests through waterways or jump on a saddle and ride the estancia’s excellent horses.
The rooms are stylishly refurbished in dark woods and white linen and many of the wildlife prints were taken by residents at the estancia. Private bungalows have lovely verandas to relax in the heat of the day or take a refreshing swim in the pool. At night, meals are often taken outdoors in the ‘quincho’ bbq area with the sound of a crackling fire and crickets announcing the arrival of night. Almost every ingredient is grown in the impressive organic plantation behind the lodge and the chefs are only too willing to give guests a tour of their vegetable gardens.
Rincon is one of those rare places that you have to visit in order to really understand what makes it so special. Give it a go, and you won’t be disappointed!