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Follow the "Barra de la Laguna" Trail in Rocha

Pamper your senses with the new "Barra de la Laguna" (Rocha Lagoon) Trail in Rocha and try dishes with the best shrimp in the world, which according to experts is obtained from the Laguna de Rocha, Laguna de Castillos (Castillos Lagoon) and Arroyo de Valizas (Valizas Creek), or let yourself be surprised with local specialties prepared with siri crab, or seaweed.

This area is part of the National System of Protected Areas of Uruguay (SNAP) and there is a community of artisan fishermen that has lived in the area of Laguna de Rocha and its surroundings for 70 years. They live on water resources and tourism and they provide walking tours and different food options, all made with the local products.

Their recipes integrate fruits of the palm groves and the native fields of Rocha as butiá (fruit of the jelly palm), arazá (eugenia stipitata) and olive trees, as well as wine from local wineries. The best way to taste these delicacies, especially in the low season (March - November) is to arrange your visit in advance.

However, there is a walk that is available 24 hours a day. Those who visit this Protected Area, entering through the intersection of highways 10 and 15, will enjoy a spectacular self-guided walk along a 2.8 km trail.
From the very beginning, the tour invites visitors to contemplate the great mirror of water, to make a stop at the bird observatory, and continue up to the sand bar that separates the lagoon from the Atlantic Ocean. Informative billboards indicate the unique natural dynamics that occur in the place and generate an optimal ecosystem for countless birds and animal species.

The trail ends in the dune zone, an ideal point for whale watching. They visit the coast of Rocha from July to October.The first stage of the trail is wheelchair accessible, then the trails continues on the sand. The total trail takes approximately 1 hour.

An area of great natural value
The area of Laguna de Rocha was declared a Lacustre National Park in 1977 and a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Similarly, since 2015 it has been part of the list of wetlands with international relevance created by the Ramsar Convention. All these characteristics make this place a must for nature lovers.

The lagoon communicates periodically with the Atlantic Ocean through a natural system of opening and closing sandy bars. When this happens, due to the accumulation of water in the lagoon and the action of the sea, very coveted varieties of crustaceans (shrimp) and fish enter the lagoon.

At the same time, this condition makes it the refuge of more than 220 species of birds that choose this magical environment to feed, reproduce and look after their nests. Black swans, flamingos, white geese, storks are just some of the beautiful species that embellish the area. All year long, the lagoon receives birds from places as far as Alaska or the Falkland Islands.

But the fauna of the lagoon includes many more species. Surrounded by streams and marshes, the area is characterized by the presence of otters, turtles, capybaras, river wolves, foxes, wild cats and bare hands. The surrounding farms are abundant in rhea and mulitas. It is also home to the Darwin toad, a globally endangered species.

Recommendations for responsible tourists
Hunting, all-terrain vehicle driving and motor water sports are prohibited. Cameras and binoculars are recommended to enjoy the natural wonders of the place.
Comfortable footwear is also essential to travel through the wet areas and pastures. When walking, be cautious to avoid the nests of some birds which are particularly discreet.

How to get to Laguna de Rocha?
At the intersection of Highways 10 and 15, at kilometer 8, take east on a gravel road, and you will find Laguna de Rocha. From there, another path allows you to approach its sand bar, where it is possible to observe the thin strip of sand that separates it from the ocean.

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