Los Flamencos Natural Park: a sanctuary of life and color
Los Flamencos Sanctuary
Los Flamencos Flora and Fauna Sanctuary is the ideal place for getting to know the colorful Wayúu culture and watching flamingoes and other exotic tropical birds. It is located on the Caribbean coast, in a dry tropical forest area to the west of the peninsula of La Guajira, in the municipality of Riohacha. In the Tococo zone, visitors can enjoy a unique experience when what seems to be the glow of sunset over the coastal lagoons interrupts the calm of the peninsula's clear blue skies. In reality, they are flocks of flamingoes, the tall, pink, slender birds that give the sanctuary its name.
On this wide coastal plain, dominated by the colors of the desert, there is an abundance of salty lagoons, many of which become salt during dry seasons. The elegant flamingoes and their exotic tower-shaped mud nests, which can reach a height of sixty centimeters, are the main attraction of the Sanctuary, a site that also offers the possibility of coming into contact with the rich Wayúu culture. It is also a place for enjoying the sun and the beach, hiking, or simply hanging around in a traditional ranchería (village) or going fishing with the locals.
- Its extension is seven thousand hectares.
- This is a low plateau not higher than five meters above sea level.
- There are four coastal marshes separated from the sea by bars that make possible the life of flamingoes.
- Temperatures are in the range of 25º to 30º C.
- Occasionally there are rainless years when the flamingoes are forced to migrate.
- There are forests and beaches where the platanillo and several kinds of mangrove abound.
- The flamingoes are the birds that best represent the region.
- There is a variety of mollusks and crustaceans.
- Before the Spanish Conquest, the territory was inhabited by the Guanebucanes, from the Arawak linguistic family, a people of farmers, fishermen, and sailors who settled down near the sea and at the edges of the rivers.
- The inhabitants of La Boca township belong to the Wayúu Indian community.
- By the Troncal del Caribe: 24 kilometers from Riohacha on the road to Santa Marta lies the village of Camarones, from which a 3.5 kilometer stretch takes visitors to the Cabaña Guanebucane Administrative Center.
- From Santa Marta: take the Troncal del Caribe towards Riohacha until you reach Camarones two hours, or 165 kilometers, away. From there, 3.5 kilometers on a good road will take you to the Cabaña Guanebucane Administrative Center in the Boca de los Camarones tourist sector.
- Transportation between the communities and the town proper is made available by the township’s transportation organizations, which have their air-conditioned vehicles in the old Riohacha marketplace.
- Inter-departmental cars and buses also travel long the Troncal del Caribe.
- The Luis Antonio Robles House, located in the town of Camarones.
- The Navío Quebrado, Grande and Laguneta de Chentico lagoons, good birdwatching sites.
- The Indian communities of Cari Cari and Tocoromana.
- The Yanama artisan recovery center in the Loma Fresca ranchería.
- The Marine Turtles Research and Environmental Education Center.
- The Guanebucane Administrative Center.
- Fishermen that belong to the Wayúu culture, alijunas (non-Wayúus, mostly Creoles and members of Afro-Guajira communities.
Access to the park
Consult your travel agent or visit www.parquesnacionales.gov.co
- The Sanctuary has an infrastructure where lodging is organized by El Santuario eco-tourism work group.
- There is food service and lodging takes place in hammocks in the rancherías.
- There is no electricity in the rancherías and water must be carried.
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