Laguna Salada in Paraguay is actually a drainage area of the Rivulet Yacaré Sur.
It is a very attractive tourist and ecological area, a landscape formed with large salt water lagoons and native forests of the Central Chaco region.
The land extensions of Campo María and Campo Esperanza and the small lakes Capitán, Salada and Chaco Lodge build this ecological system which is the habitat of birds like the ñandú (American ostrich), the tuyuyú (stork), the chajá and the coscoroba swan, and mammals as the aguará popé (fox), tapir, yurumí (ant bear) among others. Mostly between May and August great coveys of flamingos and swans can be seen at the lagoons, their resting stations of the migration routes. The best way to reach the Reservation Area of the Yacaré Sur is over the Mennonite colonies, especially Loma Plata. Local guides must be contacted for visit arrangements.
1. PRIVATE NATURAL RESERVATION OF CAMPO MARÍA
Cattle-breeding ranch and preservation of a nature area of 4500 hectares. The owner of Campo María is the cooperative Chortitzer Komitee. Very peculiar are the lagoons of the reservation area, with sweet, brackish and salty water. This is one of the places where more wild animals can be seen. Flora and fauna are abundant and typical of the Central Chaco region. Several artificial ponds have been excavated at strategic locations and provide enough drinking water for the wild animals during dry periods. There is a 13m high watchtower for bird watching and to watch other animals. Another smaller watchtower allows a particular sight to one of the sweet water ponds to which wild animals come to drink.
2. CHACO LODGE
A 2500 hectares large natural reservation area within a private owned land. A large lagoon with salty water. On October 20th of 2003, the General Secretary Office of the Ramsar Foundation declared the humid soil area of the Chaco Lodge as Ramsar site NR 1330. This international recognition has been possible because of the management of the DeSdelChaco Foundation, the financial support of USAID and the coordination of the Secretaría del Ambiente – SEAM – of the Paraguayan Government. It is currently being managed by the DeSdelChaco Foundation. Phones: (595 492)52235 – (595 492)52191.
3. LAGUNA CAPITÁN
Property of the cooperative Chortitzer Komitee. There is a model diary farm and thorough-bred cattle and horse-breeding. Almost 200 hectares that are part of the ecological system of the salty lagoons of the Central Chaco region are destined to a natural reservation area with a very good infrastructure for religious retreats, family feasts, weddings, reunions, meetings, seminars and workshops. Lodging facilities for 80 guests, the kitchen is able to attend more than 200 people; air conditioned lecture room, footpaths, and cart excursions and other activities can be performed in a fully natural environment. This place is suitable for educational and environmental tourist activities.
Written and contributed by Silvia de Besteiro