Laguna Sontecomapan, Catemaco, Veracruz
|Veracruz, is bordered by evergreen mangrove forests.
The mangroves and wetlands of the Laguna are considered of international importance because the life cycles of
many fish and crustaceans depend on access to its fresh and brackish waters sheltered among roots of these
Black Mangroves (Avicennia germinans), White Mangroves (Laguncularia racemosa) and Red Mangrove (Rhizophora
mangle) are the dominant species, reaching heights between 15 and 25 meters with an associated flora rich in
orchids, bromeliads and tropical trees. Its waters are characterized by the year round presence of Widgeon Seagrass
(Ruppia maritima) which maintains its color year round.
More than 400 bird species and 60 fish species have been recorded around the Laguna.
For some unknown reason the ecologically highly sensitive Laguna Sontecomapan was not
included in the nuclear protected zones of the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve when it was created in 1998.
In 2000 the University of Veracruz obtained a 25 year Mexican federal concession to 375 hectares (938 acres) of the
most threatened area, and in 2004 RAMSAR, an international wetland organization added Laguna Sontecomapan to its
"Los Manglares" are now an "Area Natural Protegida" (nature preserve) managed by the University of Veracruz. A
small mangrove replantation project has been completed and more are planned.
For anyone never having seen a mangrove, this is a MUST trip while visiting Los Tuxtlas.
You'll get to see white, red and black mangroves, lots of birds if the time of day is right, and spend 1 1/2
hours cruising mostly the open laguna and 3 or 4 one way mangrove channels.
|accesso and costs
|Access is via a poorly maintained, paved highway leaving from north
Catemaco to Sontecomapan. The embarcadero (boat docks) are almost at the
end of the village. 11 miles, about 30 minutes.
Piratas (pickups used as taxis), and standard communal taxis have frequent
departures from the north end of Catemaco. 10 pesos, about 40 minutes. A
regular cab should cost about 80 pesos.
The boat tour costs 350 pesos per boat, or 80 pesos per person. Do not wait
around to share a boat. You could spend the day waiting.
|Attractions around Laguna Sontecomapan
Los Manglares - Veracruz University Nature Reserve