EL PALMAR NATIONAL
Province of Entre Rios
8500 ha of El Palmar National Park were set aside in 1966 to preserve
a representative sample of the once-extensive yatay palm groves.
It is in east central Entre Ríos province on the banks of the Uruguay
river, half way between the towns of Colon and Concordia.
A patchwork of palm groves interspersed with grassland and small woods,
with gallery forest along the banks of the watercourses. The terrain is
slightly undulating, with smallish streams which flow east to the Uruguay
The gallery forests along the shore of the Uruguay and the streams presents
a dense, shady vegetation of myrtles and laurels with birds more typical
of the rainforests to the north - plush-crested jays, warblers and such.
The palm groves are dominant in the park. The elegant yatay palm (Syagrus
yatay) is the species here. They are all of about the same age as there
was no regeneration for the two centuries when the park was grazed by
cattle. The grasses and ground cover between the palms is studded with
flowering species such as the native petunia and several "daisies".
Some sectors are covered with a Baccharis which invades as a pioneer species
after fires. Three woodpeckers are visible in the park: the field flicker,
the golden-breasted woodpecker recognisable by its scarlet nape, and the
white woodpecker usually on the palms themselves. This last is easy to
find as the small flocks emit a rowdy, somewhat coarse call almost continually
while flying. There are rheas in the grasslands and the red-winged tinamou.
The crab-eating fox is to be seen in certain seasons on the roads and
There is a tract of low woods near the banks of the Uruguay where acacias
and other smallish leguminous trees grow. Here the rufous cacholote builds
it enormous stick nest and screams it raucous pair-bonding "song"
in a duet. Monk parakeets are found all over, but especially in the camp-ground;
its nests are even bigger and reach six feet in lenth, weighing some 200kg,
but they are communal efforts, with several entrances - one per pair.
In the summer months when it is warmer the large tegu ground lizards are
to be seen outside burrows, basking in the sun, where plains viscachas
sit during the hours of darkness. These rodents share the camp-ground
with visitors and "tidy up" any extraneous items left outside
tents during the hours of darkness. Their vocalisations are strange and
varied - somewhat frightening to some visitors.
Among he serious problems faced by the park is the invasion of exotic
species. The wild boar from Europe here ploughs up areas for roots and
such and devours the palm seeds, destroys the nests of ground-nesting
birds. The chinaberry (Melia azadarech), a tree from Asia, has invaded
and eliminated by competition great areas of the native flora, altering
the natural prospect.
There are archaeological sites within the, park dated at some 1000 years
before the present. They correspond to settlements of hunters, one is
an open surface with flakes and shards from tool-making, mammal bones,
In historic times old maps show the area as occupied by the Yaros indians,
though this is probably a deformation of Charuas who used the area for
hunting, gathering and fishing. In the XVth century these indians had
adopted many of the Guaraní names for animals and plants (yarará,
yatay, cuí, patí, surubí and so on); the Guaraní
were in a period of expansion at the time, along the navigable rivers.
About 1750 colonial military expeditions removed the indians, marking
the end of an era and the beginning of another. Three decades later the
Viceroy of the River Plate General Pedro de Cevallos names Manuel Antonio
Barquín as Overseer of the area of eastern Entre Ríos to
halt the rustling of cattle and Portuguese expansionist tendencies, to
administer justice and found settlements. Barquín started a lime
quarry whose remains are still to be seen at the Calera de Barquín
on the Uruguay, in the park, on the road to the beach. Its success was
guaranteed in the building boom in the towns of Buenos Aires and Montevideo.
He started a self-sustaining settlement which here produced all the items
necessary to keep the kiln and its workers and slaves.
TO GET THERE
El Palmar National Park lies on route 14 which is the western border of
the park. It is some 50 km N of Colón, a similar distance S of
Concordia and 5 Km south of Ubajay. From the entrance there are some 12
km to the park's HQ. There are regular flights to Concordia from Buenos
INTEREST TO THE VISITOR
There is an organised campground in the park with bathrooms and a store.
Nearby is the Visitors Centre where information can be obtained about
the vegetation and wildlife as well as the park's historical aspects.
The following trails lead to the attractions through the various habitats:
* Trail to the shore of the Uruguay, from HQ, the old estancia house,
through the "gardens" to a view point.
* Trail to the Barquín ruins, south along the river through the
gallery forest to the ruins and further, the bathing beach.
* El Mollar trail, 1 km long leaves northwards from close inland of the
entrance to the camping area, through the low woods and gallery forest.
There are also four internal tracks for vehicles which lead off the main
entrance road to different areas of the park. Two lead down to the El
Palmar stream through dense palm groves:
* La Glorieta circuit and road to El Palmar stream. Both have panoramic
overlooks. to see the difference between the palms and the gallery forest.
From the end of the Glorieta track there is a hiking trail down to the
stream for exploring
* The other two are the road to the ruins and beach and the road to Arroyo
Los Loros through palms and arrives at an overlook.
Thanks to APN - Administración
de Parques Nacionales