20 November 2013

Natural Parks in Colombia: Part III

Posted in Blog

This is the third post in a series where we have highlighted several unique and interesting natural parks in Colombia. Today, we are going to tell you about two more parks, each located in different regions of this amazing country and each with an abundance of adventures to offer those of you willing to visit them!

1. Parque Natural Iguaque (Iguaque Natural Park)

The first natural park we would like to tell you about is Parque Natural Iguaque (Iguaque Natural Park). Parque Natural Iguaque is located about 3 hours outside the capital city of Bogota in the department of Boyaca in the Arcabuco anticline, a mountain range running between the towns of Villa de Leyva and Arcabuco.

This natural park is the perfect place for those travelers who enjoy some serious hiking. In the park, there are over 500 meters of hiking trails that will lead you to many of the eight lagoons spread out across the park1. One of the most famous and most important lagoons is Iguaque Lagoon, also known as Lake Iguaque. This lagoon, in particular, is a sacred place for the Muisca Indians who believe this lake to be the birthplace of humanity1. As you hike through these sacred areas, you will also have the chance to observe wildlife such as: two different types of opossums, wild guinea pigs, ocelots, the emerald toucanet and the lemurine owl monkey, among others1.

Uncover Colombia - Iguaque Lake

Iguaque Lake

Visiting Parque Natural Iguaque is a nice day trip from Villa de Leyva, a charming colonial town located only about 30 minutes away; however, this natural park also offers comfortable lodging for those of you who would like to spend more than a day exploring the area. Even so, if you are only spending the day, it is advisable that you arrive early and leave before dark, as nighttime temperatures in certain areas of the park can drop low enough to cause hypothermia1.

Uncover Colombia - Natural Park Iguaque
Iguaque Natural Park

Uncover Colombia - Natural Park Iguaque
Iguaque Refugio

2. Parque Natural Salamanca

The second natural park we want to tell you about today is Parque Natural Salamanca (Salamanca Natural Park), located on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia between the city of Barranquilla (the capital of the department of Atlántico) and the municipality of Ciénaga, located in the department of Magdalena. Salamanca Natural Park is composed of immense mangrove forests, beautiful beaches, and diverse swamps that surround the roads running between Barranquilla and Ciénaga2.

Uncover Colombia - Natural Park Salamanca
Natural Park Salamanca
Image: www.colombia.travel

While you can observe parts of the park from the road, you can also take a closer look at the majestic flora and fauna within the park by making a stop there. According to ProExport (Colombia Travel), the easiest way to reach the official entrance of Parque Natural Salamanca is to catch a taxi from Barranquilla's airport to Los Cocos, the administrative center of the park. It is here that you can coordinate activities such as tours of the beaches, bird watching, and even canoe trips through the mangrove forests. Some especially unique animals you may see during your time in Parque Natural Salamanca include the crab-eating raccoon, manatees, anteaters, the sapphire-bellied hummingbird, the brown caiman, the American alligator, and the hawks billed sea turtle, among others2.

As this park is located between Barranquilla and Santa Marta, it could be an easy day trip from either place, even though it may be easier to reach from Barranquilla.

Happy exploring!

The Uncover Colombia Team.