ESTANCIA "ISLA DE LOBOS"
Departamento de Río Negro, Uruguay
Estancia Isla de Lobos, with a surface of 1250 hectares, is a hidden, undiscovered paradise, surrounded by impressive rivers at the quiet west-cost of Uruguay, a combination of abundant nature and ideal conditions for cattle.
Isla de Lobos is located approx 4 hours by car from the elegant, never sleeping beauty, Buenos Aires and approx 4 hours from Uruguay’s capital Montevideo. Nearest cities are Dolores and Mercedes, approx 25 & 40 km respectively. The nearest village is the historic Villa Soriano, at the shore of the Rio Negro, approx 3 km by boat.
LOBOS ISLAND, BIRTHPLACE OF URUGUAY PASTORAL FARMING
(Research: Alice Bonet)
Cartoon islands are usually a rock amidst water with a palm tree on top. In real life, however, islands are much more. Lobos Island (Isla de Lobos) in Rio Negro Department, was breeding land for the first cattle in Uruguay, the origin of what is even today number one gross national product category.
Situated at the confluence of Uruguay and Negro Rivers, the aerial view clearly shows the meeting of the waters. The warm silt-laden Uruguay waters flow from Brazil reddish in color, while the Negro ones are considerably blackish. The name Negro actually derives from translation into Spanish of the indigenous name “Hum”, meaning “black” in Guaraní. The island name –Lobos- comes from the long tailed river otters once plentiful, as well as the one given to the watercourse along one of its sides –Yaguarí River- that translates as otter in Guaraní.
Shaped roughly as a triangle, the 1250 ha island has characteristic coasts on each side. The west coast overlooking the Uruguay River is an occasionally flooded low land with native plants and an amazing bio diversity, kept as a reserve. Since the Argentine coast is lower and the river is quite wide, the view across the water is open to spectacular sunsets and the occasional Pampero cigar cloud announcing the west wind from the Pampas. The northeast coast over the Yaguarí is a narrow yet deep channel normally flowing inland: the navigable entrance to Negro River. Here the coast is higher and fertile, with both native and introduced trees and a close view of nearby Vizcaino Island. Finally, the Southeast coast on the Negro River false mouth and delta is a long white sand beach bordered with native trees and bathed in calm shallower waters laden with fish.
Inland, the island has three distinct eco systems: the low lands, the native forest and the prairie, each with its characteristic flora and fauna and making it particularly well suited for cattle breeding and bee keeping for organic honey.
Man inhabited this corner of the Eastern Bank (Banda Oriental) since its appearance in this South America region. Ceramic utensils found in the Uruguay-Negro confluence were dated as early as 3000 years before present times, when sea level was about 6 meters higher. A second wave 2000 years B.P. speaks of river economy societies identified with the Chaná ethnic, while later findings mark the combined presence of Tupí-Guaraní groups in contact with Spanish and Portuguese expeditions.