Parque Nacional Río Pilcomayo
Nudging the Paraguayan border in the humid eastern Chaco, 47,754-hectare Parque Nacional Río Pilcomayo is an internationally recognized Ramsar Convention wetland whose centerpiece is shallow Laguna Blanca, but there are also marshes, gallery forests, and grasslands.
Parque Nacional Río Pilcomayo is about 45 kilometers west of Clorinda via paved RN 86 and a dirt road that leads to Seccional Laguna Blanca (do not confuse this with the park’s administrative headquarters at the town of Laguna Blanca, another 11 kilometers west on the paved highway).
Río Pilcomayo’s flora and fauna resemble those of Parque Nacional Chaco, though the distribution of the various environments differs—Pilcomayo has larger stretches of open water, for instance. Still, visitors will see many of the same birds, mammals, and reptiles that are so abundant to the south.
From the Laguna Blanca campground, the Sendero Laguna Blanca is an elevated pasarela (boardwalk) leading over marshy ground to an even higher mirador (overlook) with panoramic views across the lake; there are also three shoreline platforms for sunbathing and swimming (the smallish yacarés, while they may float ominously on the lake surface, do not attack humans). Capybaras wallow in the marshes along and beneath the boardwalk.
At the park’s Camping Laguna Blanca, free facilities include picnic tables, fire pits, toilets, and cold showers. The campground is closed to motor vehicles; campers must carry their tents and supplies from the parking lot. Limited supplies are available just outside the park, but it’s better to purchase them in Laguna Blanca, Clorinda, or Formosa.
Rangers at Seccional Laguna Blanca, near the campground, provide information and advice. The APN’s Intendencia Parque Nacional Pilcomayo (Pueyrredón s/n, tel./fax 03718/47-0045, riopilcomayo [at] apn [dot] gov [dot] ar) is in the town of Laguna Blanca.
At Laguna Naick-Neck, on RN 86, Godoy and from Formosa and Clorinda pass a well-marked turnoff to Seccional Laguna Blanca. From the turnoff, though, it’s necessary to hike, hitch, or hail a remise for the last five kilometers over a dirt road. Minibuses from Clorinda also pass through here.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition