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

This is the smallest of our lagoons, with an area of 1400 hectares. It is located in the department of Maldonado, a few kilometres from the seaside resort of the same name. It exhibits a variety of habitats, mainly wetlands and grasslands, and is well-known for the diversity of its bird life.

Laguna Garzón

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

Laguna de Rocha

With a 7.200 hectare area, it is recognised nationally and internationally as important for conservation. It is a Ramsar site and a national protected area since 2010. This lagoon is also separated from the ocean by a fragile sandbar, which opens either naturally or artificially.

Laguna de Castillos

Declared a Refuge for Fauna by decree 266/1966, it will soon be designated as a national protected area. 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 landscape among the Uruguayan lagoons.

PH: Roberto Güller