Santa Lucia Wetlands, Uruguay

Dive Into the Santa LucĂ­a Wetlands

Fun fact: Santa Lucía is thought to be Uruguay’s first resort draw for the country’s tourism industry. These days, the country offers plenty for the near-three million tourists that visit. However, the small town of about 16,000 residents still has drawing power, thanks to their spectacular wetlands.

A Look at the Wetlands

Covering 20,000 hectares – or around 49,400 acres – the Santa Lucía wetlands spread across parts of Montevideo as well as the departments of Canelones and San Jose. It is a sprawling ecosystem whose water possesses a dynamic saline profile. This profile acts as a haven for birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

Over 140 bird species call the wetlands home, and they tend to congregate around the Santa Lucía River’s mouth. Some of the birds you may see here include herons, woodpeckers, and the Pampa finch. These birds – not to mention the other critters that hang out here – have made Santa Lucía’s landscape an attractive place for scientists to conduct various forms of research.

What to Do at the Wetlands

The epicenter of the Santa Lucía Wetlands is La Macarena. This section is typically ground zero for visitors to meet and take day tours of the landscape. In addition to the diverse species of birds, you may be able to catch otters, foxes, and other critters frolicking in their natural habitat if you’re lucky.

There are other wetland tours you can take that don’t require walking. You can hop on a boat and explore the wetlands’ numerous channels and beaches. You can also take a jeep tour into the Criollo woods, which is home to over 50,000 fruit-bearing trees.

How to Prepare for your Wetlands Trip

If you’re interested in going to the wetlands, you’re probably interested in seeing some of the wildlife. As such, it’s a good idea to bring a set of binoculars with you. That way, you can spot animals doing their thing at a distance without disrupting the flow of their life. Because the wetlands are in a maritime area, you should also dress in anticipation of the weather being a bit cooler than inland.

Above all else, though, be prepared to treat the wetland with respect. The Santa LucĂ­a Wetlands is a beautiful place with a delicate ecosystem, one that needs to be protected through gentle care. If you visit here, it is imperative that you always keep its fragile nature in mind. Doing so will help keep this brilliant land preserved for future generations.

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