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REGION OF MAR CHIQUITA

CORDOBA

ARGENTINA

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CORDOBA

REGION OF MAR CHIQUITA

The region of Mar Chiquita is located northeast of the Province of Cordoba, occupying the influence zone of the Mar Chiquita Lagoon or Sea of Ansenuza, in aboriginal language; a huge body of salty waters stretching along roughly 6000 square kilometres, with a floodable plain and the wetlands of the Dulce River, which extends towards the north embracing a total area of approximately 10000 square kilometres.

It is a depressed plain on the steppe of El Chaco, on which the Rivers Suquía (First), Xanáes (Second) and Pietri or Dulce meet. The latter, which comes from Santiago del Estero, forms an ample floodable valley where isles, streams and wetlands alternate.

Mar Chiquita (Small Sea) is a huge inner sea on the plain with particular reserves of avifauna, where you will be able to enjoy amazing sunsets over this beautiful sea, which is the largest inland sea in Argentina.

The essential offer of the area is the diversity of environments, such as wetlands, upper and lower shores and plains, which favour the presence of an abundant and varied fauna amongst which we can find 25 percent of the bird species of the country. The vegetation corresponds to the eastern forest of El Chaco, with variants of saline environments, lagoons and inundation areas.

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There is an important avifauna of aquatic, terrestrial and migratory birds adding to a total of 250 species on the surroundings. Amongst them we have so called biguás, Neotropic Cormorant (Palacrocórax brasilianus) becasinas Common Snipe. flycatchers, bandurrias Theristicus caudatus Buff-necked Ibis., Common Name(s):, Gavilán caracolero [Spanish]. Snail Kite. caracoleros, herons, storks, ducks, black-necked swans, white gooses, southern lapwings, etc.

In virtue of these characteristics, the area has been declared Provincial Natural Reserve, and it is integrated to the Hemispheric Net of Aquatic Bird Reserves.

The entire region has characteristics worth of jutting out; the waters of the lagoon were saturated with mineral salts that hindered animal life save for a tiny crustaceous, the artemia (Artemia salinas) , the main source of food for the pink flamingos who used to live in it until 1977, when the waters' salinity was dramatically reduced due to a huge mass of fresh water that got into the lagoon the said year. It currently allows the survival of fish such as the atherine, the toothy, etc.

Another alternative is Resort-logy, being one of the few mud-therapy centres in the world. Its waters are sought after for diverse treatments due to their high salinity levels. The usage of the salty waters from their therapeutic point of view, as well as the kind weather, turned Miramar, the only City existing on the shore, into an important tourist compound.

Recreational activities, such as fauna observation, nautical practices, interpretation treks, fishing and beaching, along with productive activities such as the fur industry, agriculture and livestock breeding, make of the area of Mar Chiquita a special tourist destination. There are beautiful sights and a good fishing offer.

The renowned benefits of its healing mud and the most important colony of migratory aquatic birds have made of the lagoon an exceptional centre of ecological tourism.
It offers an exquisite and typical gastronomy, with the atherine and the roasted otter standing out. It has been declared a Provincial Natural Reserve in virtue of its characteristics, and it integrates the Hemispheric Net of Aquatic Bird Reserves.

ATTRACTIONS

MAR CHIQUITA LAGOON OR SEA OF ANSENUZA
It is an extensive saline depression on which the Rivers Dulce, Suquía (First) and Xanáes (Second) flow into. The therapeutic properties of its waters gave origin to a thermal resort-logy tourist centre. It has been declared Natural Reserve due to its valuable fauna, composed of pink flamingos, ducks, otters, etc. The Hemispheric Net of Aquatic Bird Reserves has granted it the character of "Hemispheric Place", and it has fauna observation posts. The breeding of otters in captivity has given origin to a flourishing fur industry, which offers fur and leatherworks of very high quality. Sport fishing of the atherine and diverse nautical activities can be practiced in its huge mirror of water.

MIRAMAR
It is the main tourist centre in the area of Mar Chiquita, which along with the resort contain the necessary tourist infrastructure (casino, hotels and gastronomy).

Miramar continues to offer visitors the chance of realising health tourism based on the mineral properties of the waters and mud of the sea; but this inner sea also constitutes a great natural reserve area that is characteristic for its fauna richness, especially for the presence of the pink flamingo.

The lagoon is suitable for the practice of all sorts of aquatic sports, excursions on a catamaran, photo safaris and bird watching. Fishing also has a place of hierarchy not only at Miramar, the only existing locality on the lagoon's shores, but at neighbouring localities such as Marull, La Para, the shores of Playa Grande, and at the camping areas located in the zone known as Laguna del Plata as well.

Miramar has an especial cuisine based on the atherine, breeding pools for otters that give origin to the local fur industry, a pretty interesting Regional Museum and the casino, which opens everyday during high seasons. Miramar offers an ample hue of lodging possibilities conformed by cosy three-star hotels, apartments for rent, and a great number of camping areas that have their own private beaches.

This is a zone of warm and misty weather that begets a flora where the natural virgin forests of the eastern system of El Chaco proliferate. The fauna live in their natural environments in the wild zones close to the lagoon, and amongst them we can find pampas cats, pumas, foxes and otters; and a thriving population of birds stand out at the mouth of the River II, amongst which we have the pink flamingo, the black-necked swan, herons, ducks and many more, which have added up to have this area declared a Natural Reserve, for 25% of the country's bird species live in here.

You can find excellent camping areas and different kinds of hotels and inns in Miranda, a very nice cuisine, and the casino of the city at night time if you feel lucky.

LOCATION
The locality of Miramar is situated in the Department of San Justo, Province of Cordoba, and on the south shore of the Mar Chiquita Lagoon, with a surface of 80 square kilometres and a population of approximately 1974 inhabitants.
Miramar is the only settlement on the shores, at it can be accessed from Cordoba coming up through National Route Nº 19, or from San Francisco up to Tilo, continuing northbound along the paved road.

DISTANCES: Within the Province:
To San Francisco: 130 kilometres
To Cordoba: 190 kilometres
To Rio Cuarto: 450 kilometres
To Villa Maria: 280 kilometres
To Villa Carlos Paz: 240 kilometres

Outside the Province:
To Buenos Aires: 730 kilometres

WEATHER
It is a subtropical zone that regulates the high and low atmospheric pressure corresponding to northern Argentina. It is more humid in summer than in winter and the main precipitations take place during the former, being the winter rather poor regarding rainfalls, with an annual average of 800mm.

Average temperature during the summer is of 25º C, although the highest ever registered reached 46º. The average during the winter is of 12º C.

FLORA
There are woody species, middle size trees and bushes, where the grasses, the halófilos shrubs and pastures are never absent.

FAUNA
The Lagoon of Mar Chiquita undoubtedly holds the most important concentration of aquatic birds in the Province and in Argentina. About 250 bird species have been found, and amongst them the pink flamingo, the main attraction of the zone, juts out; however, we can also find gulls, terns, swans, American coots, sanderlings, etc.

LODGING
The lodging capacity is full during January and February, but only an average of seven vacancies is covered daily during the southern hemisphere's winter.

A larger affluence can be detected during Easter and the mid year vacations in July, although it is not as significant as in other tourist localities.
Tourists coming to Miramar can be classified in three categories according to what their main activities are during their stay:

- In summer: 80% health tourism, 15% beach tourism, and the remaining 5% come to visit the Reserve.

- In winter: 80% health tourism and the remaining 20% come to visit the Reserve.

Most of the tourists come from Santa Fe in the first place and from Buenos Aires.

CAMPING
This type of tourism is entirely seasonal and can be practiced only in summer, with an average of 300 people a day. The affluence of people surpasses the capacity of the camping areas, regarding hygienic facilities, on weekends, when you can count up to a total of 2500 people.
This kind of tourist is especially devoted to the beach and they come from neighbouring localities, west of the Province of Cordoba and east of the Province of Santa Fe.

LAGUNA DEL PLATA
This is a sector of the greater lagoon whose tributary flows through a natural depression forming a huge harbour known as Laguna del Plata. It is located at 10 kilometres from La Para and at 8 from Marull, coming along Provincial Route Nº 17. It is an excellent zone for sport fishing atherine. The place has two camping areas.

 


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