Bahía Portete – Kaurrele National Natural Park is located on the La Guajira Peninsula in the extreme north of Colombia, along the coast of the Caribbean Sea. It conserves essential ecosystems, including sedimentary beds, seagrass meadows, coral formations, mangroves, beaches, and rocky coastlines.
Bahía Portete - Kaurrele National Natural Park
Bahía Portete - Kaurrele National Natural Park is located on the La Guajira Peninsula in the extreme north of Colombia, along the coast of the Caribbean Sea between Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas. It is the northernmost National Park of mainland South America.
Bahía Portete lies approximately 48 km (30 mi) from the Venezuelan border on the peninsula. The bay opens to the Caribbean Sea. Its inlet is less than 2 km (1.25 mi) wide.
Located within the municipality of Uribia, La Guajira, the protected area of 14,080 ha (34,800 acres) was established in 2014 to conserve essential ecosystems, including sedimentary beds and seagrass meadows, coral formations, mangroves, beaches, and rocky coastline.
The climate is hot and arid due to the La Guajira Desert. Average temperatures range from 28 - 30 °C (82 - 86 °F). Humidity caused by the inland winds characterizes the coastal area. The marine bay area has an average depth of 9 m (30 ft), ranging from 3 - 20 m (10 - 65 ft).
Flora and Fauna
The landscape of Bahía Portete - Kaurrele National Park consists of arid plains of the Guajira-Barranquilla xeric scrub ecoregion, whose dryness is caused by the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Vegetation includes the cactus (Opuntia wentiana) and the mangrove tree (Avicennia germinans). In addition, meadows of (Thalassia testudinum) and (Syringodium) seagrasses are widely distributed in the marine portion of the park.
Besides the mangroves and coral formations, 25 reptiles, amphibians, and 217 species of marine fauna have been registered in Bahía Portete. These include lobsters, shrimp, clams and oysters, grouper, sea bass, snapper, mullet, mackerel, and sardine. In addition, turtles and armadillos are also found here.
Approximately 500 indigenous Wayuu inhabits the sparsely populated area. The indigenous communities of the Wayuu, Kamushiwoü, Alijunao, Yariwanischi, Puerto Portete, Ian, Youlepa, Kayuuswaarraaloü, and Punta Cosos Espacios contributed to the planning of the establishment of the protected area. Mining and industrial fishing are prohibited.
Map depicting the location of Uribia, Colombia