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PLACES TO SEE > RESERVES > Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary


The Aguacaliente Lagoon is located near Laguna Village. The protected area consists of a lagoon and wetland ecosystem that spans over 6,000 acres. The lagoon and nearby limestone hills are home to many species of birds, animals, and other wildlife. The lagoon is especially a bird watchers paradise.

Trail to Aguacaliente Lagoon

The hike to the lagoon takes about two hours from the village. The trail begins in a pasture with towering cohune palms, passes beside milpas growing corn and beans, and crosses several small creeks with the help of primitive log bridges. A ranger station lies about 1/2 hour into the hike. No amenities other than an outhouse are available there. Past the ranger station, the trail enters marsh and lowland vegetation. The trail is often wet and muddy, and some parts pass through knee-high water.

The hike is strenuous, dirty and definitely worth it. As you near the lagoon, wildlife increases. Turtles and fish are visible in the swamp and nearby by black creek, which the trail follows for a short way. Visitor CenterSolitary egrets and herons hunt along the creeks edge, while flocks of ibis and woodstork roost atop the creekside vegetation. Kingfishers continuously clatter while darting above and diving into the water. The mangrove surrounding the lagoon is alive with warblers and flycatchers feasting on the plentiful insect life.

The large expanse of open, fresh water, bordered on the south by limestone hills and on the other three sides by marshland forest attracts a variety of wildlife. The area is quiet, yet full of life. Flocks of ibis busily feed on fish and invertebrates along the shores of the lagoon; woodstorks, herons and egrets wade in the shallows; ducks swim down the middle of the lagoon; cormorants continually dive surfacing with struggling sprat in their bills; kingfishers rule the air above the water surface. Aguacaliente lagoon wood StorksThe whole lagoon is alive with fish feeding and jumping, making the surface looking like rainfall on water even though the sky is clear. Jabiru storks sometimes feed here as well.

You will need a local guide to visit the lagoon as the trail, especially near the lagoon, sometimes disappears under water. The best time to wildlife watch are early mornings or late evenings, but watch your time, you don't want to be in the marshland at dark. Canoeing and kayaking will soon be available. Be sure to check in Laguna Village for the most recent information.

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