Lagoons and Oceans

What is a coastal lagoon?

Coastal lagoons are shallow water bodies separated from the ocean by a barrier, connected to it at least temporarily by one or more inlets and usually oriented parallel to the shore. The coastal lagoons of Uruguay are part of a system that spreads from the eastern seaboard to the south of Brazil.

Why focus on coastal lagoons?

Coastal lagoons are an interface between land and sea. They absorb and store carbon, and reduce the impact of floods and droughts. They reduce the intensity of ocean waves, recharge aquifers and regulate hydrological systems.
Among the most productive ecosystems on the planet, they are also highly valuable landscapes and generate diverse economic activities. Their conservation, together with their adjacent land and sea areas, is essential to the wellbeing of future generations.

Laguna José Ignacio

The smallest of our coastal lagoons, with an area of 1400 hectares, it is located in the department of Maldonado, a few kilometres from the tourist hotspot José Ignacio. It exhibits a variety of habitats, mainly wetlands and grasslands, and is well-known for the diversity of its bird life.

Laguna Garzón

A highly diverse environment with beaches, sand dunes, small lagoons, wetlands, forests and grasslands, it was designated as a national protected area in 2014 . A fragile sandbar separates it from the ocean, which opens several times a year, both natural and artificially.

Laguna de Rocha

This 7.200 hectare-lagoon is recognised nationally and internationally as significant for conservation, particularly with regard to shorebird populations. A national protected area since 2010 and a Ramsar site since 2015, it is also separated from the ocean by a fragile sandbar.

Laguna de Castillos

Declared a Refuge for Fauna by decree 266/1966, it was designated as a national protected area in February 2020. This lagoon is singular in that it is connected to the ocean by a canal, the Arroyo Valizas, which gives it a unique configuration and an unusual landscape.

PH: Roberto Güller