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Hot List 2008

Puerto Valle Hotel de Esteros, Esteros del Iberá 
$$$$

Ruta Nacional 12, Km 1282

Esteros del Iberá
Argentina

Tel: 54 3786 425 700

Nature is kept at bay but never conquered at Puerto Valle, a former cattle ranch near a wildlife-rich wetland in the northern Argentine province of Corrientes. Butterflies the size of bats flutter around the 60 acres of landscaped lawn and jungle that front the majestic Río Paraná, while buzzing insects and croaking frogs produce a constant background hum. The old estancia buildings have myriad terraces, nooks, and dens, and each of the six stylishly decorated guest rooms commands a river view. A pool and a curtained pergola are shaded by towering lapacho trees. Enticing trails lead to eucalyptus plantations, a caiman farm, and a strip of private jungle where howler monkeys cavort through the canopy and jaguars compete with maned wolves in their hunt for capybara, the world's largest rodent. The staff lavish attention on visitors: Noticing a guest struggling with the hotel's telescope, the chef hurried from the kitchen to help (before returning to finesse his stuffed zucchini flowers and caiman curry). Guests can pass their days fauna-spotting in the Iberá wetland, fishing in the Paraná (Paraguay is visible on the far bank), and sipping yerba maté.

When to go: Wildlife is most visible in the winter (June–August).
Which room to book: The single suite for its sitting room and river-facing balcony.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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