National Parks of Uruguay

Uruguay National Parks

Uruguay is one of the most highly developed, stable countries in South America. Uruguay is the second-smallest country in South America and it’s highest point is under 2,000 feet. Uruguay is nearly 70,000 square miles of lowlands carved with a network of rivers and streams. Located in the south-eastern part of South America, Uruguay is bordered by Brazil to the north and east and Argentina to the west. The Rio de Grande do Sul creates a natural border between Uruguay and its neighboring countries. The Atlantic Ocean borders Uruguay’s coast to the south and southeast. Uruguay has a population of over three million people with more than half of these living in and around its capital, Montevideo.

Over ten percent of Uruguay is arable land and agriculture is an important part of Uruguay’s economy. Uruguay is an exporter of wool, rice, soybeans, beef, malt and milk.

Uruguay has about 2500 species of plants within 150 families. Ceibo (Erythrina crista), also known as the cockspur coral tree, is the national flower in Uruguay

National Parks of Uruguay

There are ten national parks in Uruguay: Five in the wetland areas of the east, three in the central hill country, and one in the west along the Rio Uruguay.

Arequita National Park

The Arequita National Park is located in the southeastern part of Uruguay about two hours north of Montevideo the capital of Uruguay. This national park was primarily established to protect a large round mesa of volcanic rock, known as the Cerro Arequita. On the west aspect of the Cerro Arequita a forest of Ombu trees provides a home for a variety of native wildlife.

Esteros de Farrapos National Park

The Esteros de Farrapos National Park was created primarily to protect the cougar (Puma concolor) and maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the largest canid of South America. Both of these carnivore species are only found in this area of Uruguay. The Esteros de Farrapos National Park also has over 200 species of birds and numerous species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. The Esteros de Farrapos National Park is relatively undeveloped in terms of tourism, but offers a number of outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, bird-watching and horse-riding.

Lunarejo National Park

The Lunarejo National Park is located in Uruguay’s Lunarejo Valley on the border of Artigas and Rivera near Brazil. The Lunarejo National Park is nearly 80 square miles of grasslands and hill scrubs with patches of sub-tropical of vegetation, including species of bromeliads, ferns and orchids. The national parks ravines and prairies are home to about 150 species of birds, over 30 species of mammals [including the southern tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla), Brazilian porcupine (Coendou prehensilis) and Coatimundi (Nasua nasua), nearly 40 species of reptiles and more than 20 species of amphibians. The Lunarejo National Park’s rich biological diversity has made it a popular spot for bird watchers.

Santa Teresa National Park

Santa Teresa National Park is a forested area located on the Atlantic coast of Uruguay. Santa Teresa National Park contains the historic Fort of Santa Teresa, sandy beaches, and an extensive camping area. Santa Teresa National Park hosts a number of wildlife species and a greenhouse with a wide variety of plant species.