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Chacahua Lagoons

Photo: Kefith, Mangrove

Oaxaca – The Chacahua Lagoons National Park (Parque Nacional Lagunas de Chacahua) comprises a series of lagoons and beach shoreline between the towns of Santiago Jamiltepec and Puerto Escondido, west of Highway 200.

The 14,175 hectares (35,000 acres) national park park includes savannas, coastal dunes, and mangroves. Local fauna include white egrets, iguanas, crocodiles, shrimp and freshwater crabs.

Canoes, or lanchas, take visitors for 2-hour tours of the mangroves from the town of Zapotalito on the eastern side of the park. Request a visit to Cerro Hermoso beach where you can swim and snorkel. There is a scientific research center where researchers breed crocodiles.

Crocodiles
The native species of crocodile in the region is the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus); however, most of the specimens held in captivity at Lagunas de Chacagua are Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreleti), also known as Central American crocodile (cocodrilo de pantano).

This species is not native to the Pacific Coast — its natural distribution is along the Gulf of Mexico drainage including coastal areas and the Yucatán Peninsula into Belize and Guatemala. It was brought in for farming and some crocs escaped and established a population in the wetlands.

Bird Watching
Chacahua is great for bird-watching. The best months to visit are the March and April, the nesting seasons of wood storks and roseate spoonbills.

Visiting?
Location 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Puerto Escondido. The park entrance is southeast of Santa Rosa on Highway 200, and then south at Kilometer 82 on a dirt road to Zapotalito.

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