The Sierra de la Macarena is surrounded by rivers forming part of the Orinoco basin and the sub-basins of the Ariari and Guayabero rivers.
The Sierra de La Macarena mountains are considered by scientists the world over as one of the Earth’s richest wildlife reserves, containing a diverse flora and fauna from four of South America’s great natural regions: the Orinoco basin, the Amazon basin, the Andes and Guyana.
As an isolated mountain range it is a truly unique area. The range is a very important geological formation of sedimentary rocks, and erosion in the area of the River Guayabero has created stunning rock formations.
The area also boasts numerous archaeological sites around the rivers Duda and Guayabero, including petroglyphs and pictogrammes from the local indigenous cultures.
The protected area is formed by different ecosystems, including warm floor rain forest, dense and open woodland and scrubland and grasslands typical of the Amazonian savannah. Small patches of moriche palm may also be observed on the horizon.
The Sierra de la Macarena is surrounded by rivers forming part of the Orinoco basin and the sub-basins of the Ariari and Guayabero rivers. The former belongs to the Guejar River system and the latter to the Duda, Losada and Cafre rivers. The Guejar, Duda and Losada rivers rise in the eastern part of the range, while the Cafre rises in moriche swamps.
Flora and Fauna
One of the most important conservation goals of the Sierra de la Macarena National Natural Park is the presence of numerous subspecies of flora and fauna, including several.
The Park contains an indigenous settlement of the Guayabero ethnic group, consisting of some 200 people in the area of the Ceiba Bajo creek.
Most of the colonists who currently live in the Sierra de la Macarena, or have lived there in the past, come from Departments that were hard hit by political violence in second half of the XX century, though others arrived at boom times in the region. Most of these colonists live in community organizations.
- Established: 1971
- Area: 630,000 hectares
- Altitude: Between 200 and 400 metres above sea level
- Climate: Warm and wet
- Average temperature: 27°C
PLANNING YOUR VISIT
- LOCATION: The Park is located In the Department of Meta and covers the jurisdiction of the municipalities of La Macarena, Mesetas, Vista Hermosa, San Juan de Arama and Puerto Rico, Before setting out, visitors should seek information on conditions for visits to the protected area from the National Natural Parks Office.
- HOW TO GET THERE: There are 2 eco-tourist sectors:
- Overland: North sector, Bogota – Villavicencio via Mesetas, taking the San Juan de Arama turning. From here it is three kilometres to the La Curia.
- By air: South sector: Villavicencio – La Macarena (one hour).
- WHERE TO STAY: TIn the town of La Macarena you will find optimum accommodation In which to spend the night and from which to visit the Park each day.
- WHERE TO SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION: The nearest hospitals are in Mesetas, Vista Hermosa, San Juan de Arama, Granada and La Macarena.
- WHERE TO EAT: There are restaurants in the urban centre of La Macarena, where with the support of local operators visitors may enjoy the local cuisine.
- HOW LONG TO STAY: Three days and two nights.
- WHEN TO GO: The most colourful time, thanks to the exuberant presence of macarenias, is from July to November. The rainy season lasts from March to November in the eastern sector of the Sierra de la Macarena, and the dry season from December to February. There are two dry seasons separated by rainy seasons in the western sector.
WHAT TO VISIT IN THE PARK:
Northern Sector: Indio acostado (the ‘reclining Indiar Southern Sector: Raudales Angosturas I and II on the River Guayabero (with their petroglyphs and pictographs). You may also visit one of the three branches of Caño Cristales with attractions such as Los Ochos, Piscina del Turista, Cascada de los cuarzos, Cascada de la Vrgen and Salto del Aguila.
One of the most outstanding attractions in the Park’s hinterland is Caño Cristales regarded by many as ‘the most beautiful river in the world’ by virtue of the presence in its crystalline waters of striking colours produced by its endemic aquatic plants.
WHAT TO DO IN THE PARK:
Visitors may follow any of the branches of Caño Cristales, from which to observe the wild fauna and flora and engage in photography and video filming.
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