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Ecotourism and Ecological Tourism in Rocha

One of the major attractions Rocha has to offer is the possibility of enjoying a special kind of tourism known as Ecotourism. Ecotourism involves travel to areas of natural or ecological interest in order to learn about the environment. This place proves ideal to have such adventure.

Ecotourists are people who visit primarily unspoiled natural areas that must be preserved, with the purpose of observing wildlife and learning about the habits of people who live in harmony with nature.

Ecological Tourism


Among the major attractions this place has to offer there is an area known as "Humedales del Este", declared Biosphere Natural Reserve by the UNESCO in 1976. It covers an area of 200,000 hectares and it includes lagoons, marshlands, streams and rivers. Also the world's largest ombú tree forest, known as "Monte de Ombúes", can be found here as well, and some of the large and knotty specimens are more than 500 years old.

The "Palmares de Butia" are large groves of Butia palms that will marvel visitors. The tall palm trees with its silvery-green fronds will attract the attention of tourists. The Butia Palm is native of this region and therefore, the world's greatest concentration of these palms can be found here.

Laguna de Castillos (Castillos Lagoon)

Laguna de Castillos is a strikingly beautiful lagoon most frequented by ecotourists. In addition to its blue water mirrors, this lagoon is surrounded by wetlands, palm groves, natural forests, the amazing ombú forests and ceibo (Cockspur Coral) forests.

The environmentally friendly awareness of local people and the support of PROBIDES have contributed to the protection of the natural beauties of this area.

The practice of ecological tourism is enjoying great success. Regulations have been introduced regarding fishing, poaching is strictly prohibited and courses on local wildlife are offered

One of the chief attractions in this place is the area for "bird watching", where numerous birds can be sighted.

Laguna de Castillos (Castillos Lagoon)


Laguna de Rocha (Rocha Lagoon)

On travelling along the route named Ruta 10 from La Paloma visitors will arrive to the beautiful lagoon known as Laguna de Rocha. Such lagoon, declared National Park in 1977, covers an area of 70 square kilometres and a stretch of sand forms the border between the lagoon and the ocean.

A large variety of animal species can be found in the area: this lagoon is home to more than 220 birds and numerous mammals such as otters, capybara, and seals, among others.

It is highly recommended to take a camera and if possible a pair of binoculars. Black-necked swans will capture the attention of visitors immediately. More than 10,000 swans can be seen in the area.

Other extremely attractive animal species can be found in the area such as flamingos. These animals, which have long legs and are pink coloured live in groups and perform a dance in order to get their food from the bottom of the lagoon.

Laguna de Rocha


Laguna Negra

This lagoon named Laguna Negra is also known as Laguna de los Difuntos due to its location near the indigenous graveyards or "cerritos de indios".

Like Laguna de Castillos, this one is surrounded by native forests, palm groves, wetlands and a wealth of wildlife as well.

The lagoon has access by boat to the Santa Teresa Biological Research Station. Such station is a protected area from where the natural environment can be observed.

Not only is Laguna Negra an excellent option for ecological tourism but also it provides an ideal area for conducting scientific research.

Laguna Negra Rocha


Palm Groves in Rocha

There are numerous legends regarding the origins of the palm groves. Three thousand year old coconuts have been found in the area known as "cerritos de indios".

Some 500 palm trees per hectare can be found in Palmares de Castillo, which is located between Route 9 and Camino de los Indios. Palmares del Castillo is the world's largest and most fascinating palm groves.

Unfortunately the palm trees have grown older and the ones that can be seen nowadays are between 200 and 300 years old. What is more, they are not renovating since livestock are eating the sprouts while preventing new species from going.

Necessary measures aimed at preserving the palm groves and to avoid extinction are being implemented. An interesting variety of birds and mammals live there and contribute to the preservation of seeds.

Palm Groves in Castillos Rocha


Ombu Forests

The world's largest ombú forests can be found in the area near the Laguna de Castillo. Some of the trees that stand there are more than 500 years old.

The Ombú is a large evergreen tree that mostly stands solitary. It has a special value in Uruguay since it provides shelter and shade.

These unusual large groups of ombu trees that can be found in Rocha include ancient trees, with huge gnarled roots. Some fig trees grow surrounding the ombu trunks.

Legend has it that those who visit these forests suddenly remember early childhood experiences.

Ombú Forests


Santa Teresa Park

This park, known as Parque Santa Teresa, covers an area of 3000 hectares and more than two million trees stand there. Although extensive native forests can be found in Rocha, a large part of Santa Teresa was largely afforested.

This is a stunningly beautiful park, which is very well preserved and clean. Its design displays a great sense of aesthetics and rare animal species typical of the Uruguayan flora can be seen here.

Beautiful beaches can be found in the area surrounding the park and the Fortaleza de Santa Teresa. Rock formations can be found in four of these beaches, which are ideal to go fishing.

Another attraction in the area is an important rose garden with more than 330 species. Also, the Sombráculo, the Capatacía, the Invernáculo (greenhouse) and the Pajarera and even a museum can be visited here.

Santa Teresa Park


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