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Wildlife Reserve / Preserve

Living Nature in Uruguay

Introduction

Located in the Southeast of Uruguay, INDIGENA is a wildlife reserve where native flora and fauna are protected, and which shelters diverse ecosystems, such as grasslands, native forests and wetlands.   The area has been privately developed and is managed independently.  
It is our wish that all those visiting this unique place should share our interest in its development and preservation as they learn about the singular characteristics of Uruguay’s native flora and fauna, thus promoting general public awareness and understanding.   
The project has been declared of interest of Maldonado’s Municipality, as well of the Municipality of Solis Grande. It has also been declared a Wildlife Sanctuary by Vida Silvestre Uruguay.

Aims

How to find us

Our Local Spanish Dictionary at the bottom of this section will help you to identify road signs

Road Sign Vocab:
Ruta: Highway/Road      Balneario (Bl): Resort    Arroyo: Stream     Calle: Street
Note: Street Names are simply stated on signs such as Aguatero

Planning Your Visit

All visits to INDIGENA must be scheduled in advance.  Please download the Visitor’s Form and fill it in with the information of all visitors.  Send it to: informa@areaindigena.com and we will get back to you to confirm the date and time of your visit.
Now, take your time to choose from any of the activities described and enjoy your time at INDIGENA.  We welcome your messages and thoughts in the Visitor’s Book when you leave the Reserve and ask you to please post any comments you have on Tripadvisor!
Contact information:  informa@areaindigena.com / Phone: +598 4438 1074

Tips

We suggest you wear thick soled comfortable walking gear (shoes or boots), hats or sun shields, and apply insect repellent and sun lotion. Remember you will be walking through wetlands, woods and grasslands.
Don’t forget to bring your own water bottles and trash disposal bags!  

Regulations

Welcome to Indigena
For your own protection, as well as for the protection and preservation of our native fauna and flora, we ask you to follow our staff’s instructions and comply with the Park’s regulations.

Sendero Blanco (White trail)
This is the most popular activity with our visitors. You will walk through wetlands, native forests and prairies and share in the excitement of watching the animals living freely in their natural environment while you learn how to recognize some of our flora’s species and their medicinal uses.
This circuit starts at the reception cabin where you will receive a short introduction speech and be shown different animal origin materials. We will then walk to a pier on the Arroyo Espinas where you will observe the flora of the wetlands, as well as typical bird species and other animals of this environment.
The path continues to wind into the native forest, where we point out the changes in the microclimate. We survey the flora and animal tracks. We will trek quietly to pick up and listen to different bird sounds and to observe the capybaras that take shelter in the native forest.
Once we get back to open grassland we will enjoy the breezy and luminous environment, and make a reconnaissance of pastures and shrubs and the contours of the terrain. Bird watching includes grassland species, while we will also observe the ñandú’s community dynamics.
This trail is used for the activities included in the Environmental Education Program developed for elementary, middle and high schools.
Time:  2 hrs.
Distance: 2 kms

Sendero Blanco corto + Vivero de Flora Nativa (White Trail + Native Plant Nursery)
This is a lovely trail that takes us through wetlands, native forests and prairies, where you can observe the animals living freely in their natural environment.  We will then visit our Native Plant Nursery, where you will learn about the plant production process and how to recognize some of our flora’s species and their medicinal uses.
Time:  2 hrs.
Distance: 2 kms

Circuito Verde (Green Trail)
This is a trail which for the most part crosses the native forest and some grassland, so it is ideal for summer. Visitors will experience the differences in the distinct microclimates we cross and how the native forest acts as a shelter. We will be able to observe typical tree species of our native flora. We will then visit our Native Plant Nursery, where you will learn about the plant production process and how to recognize some of our flora’s species and their medicinal uses.
Time: 2.5 hours
Distance: 2,4 km.

Circuito Azul (Blue Trail)
In this tour, your guide will take you for a lovely walk around the Reserve.  We will cross wetlands, forests and grasslands, from which we will have a beautiful view of the sea and of the hill range known as Sierra de las Ánimas and the Cerro Pan de Azúcar.  The trail takes us around several lakes, so this circuit is particularly recommended for bird watching. We will then visit our Native Plant Nursery, where you will learn about the plant production process and how to recognize some of our flora’s species and their medicinal uses.
Time: 4 - 5 hours.
Distance: 4 kms.

Double cabin Pickup Tour
We recommend this guided tour for those who prefer not to walk so much and for families with children younger the 5 years old, because you can still enjoy Nature from the comfort of our double cabin pickups.    The tour stops at selected spots to take short walks through the grasslands and native forest or for photo shoots of special views.
Our animals are accustomed to these vehicles, so you will be able to get very close to them for video and photo sessions.
We will then visit our Native Plant Nursery, where you will learn about the plant production process and how to recognize some of our flora’s species and their medicinal uses.
Time: 1.5 hours
This activity caters for a maximum of 10 visitors (4 inside and 6 outside).

Environmental Education Program

INDÍGENA is carrying out an Environmental Education program that has the backing of the ANEP (National Association of Public Education). Participating students come from public and private schools, universities and technological schools from across the country. We also have the special continuous participation of schools from the neighboring towns of Solís, Gregorio Aznárez, Las Flores and Playa Verde.

The program consists of a didactic talk, conducted in either Spanish or English, that is given prior to the visit to the reserve and is adapted to the topics covered in each group´s program of study. Examples of topics covered are: Flora, Fauna, landscapes, ecosystems, intra-specific and inter-specific relationships, medicinal uses of native flora, protected areas in Uruguay, etc. Students are also given information packets to continue working on these issues with their instructor during the year.
After the talk, the students visit the reserve in order to have a direct and practical experience in nature. During their visit, they are guided through the Environmental Education (White Trail) and learn to identify our flora and fauna, to know its characteristics, virtues and/or applications.
Students and teachers from various institutions have expressed that this experience in INDÍGENA has been very positive and enriching. Through this program, many children have learned to value and protect the flora and fauna of Uruguay.
This program counts with the collaboration of the Municipality of Solís Grande and the Municipality of Maldonado (providing the transfer of students to the Reserve).
Some groups of students and Scouts VOLUNTEER at the Reserve within the framework of social responsibility.
Contacts:
Fiorella Gagliardi  / Jeanine Beare
informa@areaindigena.com
Tel.: +598 4438 1074

Native Plant Nursery

INDÍGENA also maintains a nursery that specializes in native flora in order to promote the sustainable use of our plants.
Our nursery grows over 130 species of native flora, which allows us to have a stock of plants for use in the Reserve, in the maintenance of ecosystems and the decoration of gardens and trails. In addition, the production of plants in the greenhouse is used for research purposes, increasing our knowledge of different species at various stages of growth and development.
Our nursery is also open to LANSCAPE ARTISTS, OTHER NURSERIES, and the GENERAL PUBLIC. To purchase trees, shrubs, fruit trees, vines, medicinal plants, herbaceous flowers, grasses and/or native aquatic plants simply COORDINATE YOUR VISIT IN ADVANCE.
An innovative product that our nursery is promoting are the "Packs" that are composed of sets of plants found in certain environments, such as the pack of native forest or pack of coastal plants, and sets of flowering plants, climbers or fruit trees or shrubs.
We also work to order in the production of specific plants, e.g.: floral seedlings, shrubs, trees, etc., and prepare native plants in ceramic pots presented in artisanal burlap bags as business or individual gifts.
The nursery offers two species of native palm trees, "Pindó" (Syagrus romanzoffianum) and "Butiá" (Butiá capitata/odorata), from palm seedlings to 7 meters high.
We offer special tours for groups in gardening courses or Garden Clubs, where the visit to the nursery is complemented by a walk around the reserve during which our visitors can observe the native plants in their natural environments.
For inquiries: informa@areaindigena.com  / Tel.: +598 4438 1074.

Capybara (Carpincho) Breeding

Certified breeding of Capybara in semi-captivity.
ESMAD S.A. has been authorized as "Breeder of the species Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris" by Resolution No. 067/2013 of the Directorate of Fauna, Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources, Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries.
The capture and sale of living animals is carried out for population control within the property and for the maintenance of stability within the wetland ecosystem.  In addition, this activity contributes to the repopulation of the species in other areas of the country.
For inquiries: informa@areaindigena.com  / Tel .: +598 4438 1074.

Rheas (Ñandú) Breeding

Certified breeding of Rheas in semi-captivity.
ESMAD S.A. has been authorized as "Breeder of the species Rhea americana" by resolution of the Directorate of Fauna, Directorate of Renewable Natural Resources, Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries.
The capture and sale of living animals is carried out for population control within the property, while also contributing to the repopulation of the species in other areas of the country.
For inquiries: informa@areaindigena.com   / Tel.: +598 4438 1074.

Visitor Center and Events

To complement the familiarization with nature, INDÍGENA has opened a new Events and Visitor Center. The center offers lectures, workshops, and events for students in primary and secondary schools from across the country, as well as domestic and foreign visitors.
In addition, this center was designed for business meetings and various other groups. The open space is equipped for meetings and is inserted in a natural environment. The possibility to walk around the reserve provides a favorable climate for exchange and communication.
For inquiries: informa@areaindigena.com  / Tel.: +598 4438 1074.

Indishop

After walking around the reserve and getting to know Uruguay’s native flora and fauna, INDÍGENA’s visitors can buy artisanal products (jams and frozen pulp of native fruits, honey) and thoughtfully designed souvenirs. All proceeds support the non-profit Environmental Education Program at the Reserve.
For inquiries: informa@areaindigena.com  / Tel.: +598 4438 1074.

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