Below are some examples of trips that can be taken nearby, and further afield, at El Roble. These are just some examples however. The area is almost endless to one with European concepts of space, and I have numerous different trips and itineraries to explore. Although the opportunity to see all these birds close to El Roble is obviously a good one, I would recommend anyone who is traveling all the way to Paraguay that they must travel into the Chaco as well. I can offer trips with my pick up truck onto the large Estancias that occupy this truly wild and untouched land.
Other options for bird watchers staying at El Roble are to take boat trips either on the Rio Ypane or the Rio Paraguay.
Finally Paraguay also has access to a number of national parks, the De Iguazu falls and Itaipu reserve and dam. I can help organize trips to these parks and give advice about itineraries around Paraguay.
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The following descriptions were written by Alice Hughes, an ornithologist from the University of Bristol (England), who came to study the bird wildlife of Paraguay. It gives an idea of the opportunities that are close by:
1. Monkey jungle
This is a remaining patch of forest in close proximity to “el Roble” which is well worth a visit. Explore some of the paths inside for a chance to see capuchin monkeys and a number of interesting birds. This trip can last an indefinite time, the forest patch takes around 10-15 minutes to reach, and time spent in the patch is up to the individual.
2. Rio Ypane hike
There are a number of routes to reach the Ypane, ask for guidance. It generally takes about 1 hour to walk to from “el Roble”. Paths run along some stretches of the river, and it is possible to walk from the bridge in Belen along the river to “el Roble”, but the path is difficult to follow in some areas.
If no path is evident through the gallery forest then there is normally a path on its edge, which is liable to run into the forest. This trip will show both gallery forest and small lagoons, which provide a good site for seeing water birds. Two species of monkey are also found along this route (capuchin and howler monkeys) as well as a large number of interesting birds (trogons, toucans, aracaris) and agoutis.
This area can provide an interesting trip, however sturdy clothing is and boots are needed as many plants have spines.
Here is another description from Alice of one of these trips:
3. Chaco trip
This trip requires at least half a day, because the area takes about 50 minutes to reach in a vehicle. Once there we go around the edge of a large lagoon, taking a road following a forest patch. During this part of the route it is possible the take smaller side routes into the forest – but return to the main route again, this part of the trip can reveal interesting birdlife, especially raptors.
Once an approximate semicircle has been skirted around then a line of trees should be clearly visible, which runs alongside a lagoon. This conceals a path, which should then be followed. This area has interesting wildlife, including snakes, caimen, large numbers of water birds, and possibly giant anteaters.
The end of the lagoon is marked by a comfortable resting place. The nearby area also has a large palm grove-this area can be explores, as it contains primates, Coati and possibly peccaries – however be sure to retrace your steps (angles can make it difficult to “guess” a return route). The path though the trees can then be followed back, or alternately the hiker can return along the other side of the creek-to have a better view of the water birds.
When in the vehicle it is often worth having a closer look at any lagoons by bridges, as these often attract large numbers of water birds, rhea may also be present in the scrub-land surrounding the route.