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Top 5: National Parks in Uruguay

by Benjamin Kerns

Aug 30, 2015

Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, Uruguay © Marcelo Campi | Flickr

Top 5 / Latin America

Uruguay is a popular beach destination, but many people overlook the area’s wondrous national parks. There is only a handful to be found, but each offers spectacular views and unique experiences that shouldn’t be missed. Be sure to check out these five on your next trip.

 

Rocha Lagoon

This semi-freshwater lagoon is located just outside the resort town of La Paloma and is home to more than 220 species of bird. Some species include swans, herons and flamingos. You can usually find locals who are happy to take you on a boat tour through the waters to see what you can find.

 

Rocha, Uruguay © Kseniya Ragozina | Dreamstime 40307754

Rocha, Uruguay © Kseniya Ragozina | Dreamstime

 

Arequita National Park

Arequita is located in Lavalleja, roughly 10 kilometers north of the capital city of Minas. It’s home to Cerro Arequita, a large mesa of volcanic rock that rises across the skyline. It’s surrounded by heavily forested areas of Ombu trees and caves.

 

Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is one of the most beautiful and popular in all of Uruguay. It runs between Laguna Negra and the Atlantic coast and contains numerous beaches, forested areas, a greenhouse, a nature reserve and the historic fort of Santa Teresa. You can camp out here if you’d like, but be sure to get permission beforehand.

 

Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, Uruguay © Javier Ignacio Acuna Ditzel | Flickr

Fortaleza de Santa Teresa, Uruguay © Javier Ignacio Acuna Ditzel | Flickr

 

Esteros de Farrapos National Park

You’ll find this park deep within Rio Negro. It’s one of the youngest national parks in the country and here you’ll find more than 200 species of bird, puma and the only protected area where the maned wolf has been recorded.

 

Palace Cave

The Palace Cave of Flores is in the running to becoma a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its designation as a geopark. The cave is composed entirely of sandstone and has been around since the late Cretaceous period.

 

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