Mejia Lagoon National Sanctuary
Mejia Lagoon sanctuary is located on the southern coast of Peru, in the region of Arequipa, and belongs to the districts of Mejía and Dean Valdivia. It has a maximum elevation of 3.5 meters above sea level, and comprises a series of lagoons, wetlands and part of the mouth of the Tambo River.
Mejia Lagoon National Sanctuary Flora
A total of 48 species of vascular plants and 17 species of algae have been found in the sanctuary. In freshwater ecosystems trees like pájaro bobo (Tessaria integrifolia) and sauce (Salix humboldtiana); shrubs like callacasa and chilca (Baccharis glutinosa). Marshes are dominated by species like totora (Typha sp.) and junco (Schoenoplectus americanus), while grama dulce (Paspalum vaginatum) can be found on the shores. On more saline habitats grama salada (Distichlis spicata) and verdolaguilla (Sarcocornia sp.) can be predominant.
Mejia Lagoon National Sanctuary Fauna
One of the purposes of this protected area is to provide a sanctuary for Nearctic migratory birds, as it is a unique habitat on almost 2000 km of coast on the Pacific Ocean. A total of 200 species of resident and migratory birds can be found in the park including: the grey gull, the sanderling, the Black skimmer, Belcher’s gull, the kelp gull, the Grey-headed gull, the White-tufted grebe, the Great grebe, the White-cheeked pintail, the Cinnamon teal, the Common moorhen, the Virginia rail, the Cocoi heron, the Snowy egret, the Little blue heron, the Chilean flamingo, among others. Some of the mammals reported in the area are: Molina’s hog-nosed skunk, the lesser grison, the Sechuran fox, the marine otter, Pallas’s long-tongued bat, and the montane guinea pig. The aquatic ecosystems harbor species of fish like monengue (Dormitator latifrons), lisa (Mugil cephalus) and pejerrey (Basilichthys sp.); and crustaceans like Cryphiops caementarius and Ocypode gaudichaudii. Amphibians like Rhinella limensis and reptiles like the endemic tiger Pacific iguana and Phyllodactylus sp. also inhabit the sanctuary.
Mejia Lagoon National Sanctuary Itinerary:
Mejia Lagoon National Sanctuary starts at 6:30AM, at this time you will be pick up from the hotel located in Arequipa city by private transportation. We take the Panamericana highway to southwest of Arequipa, we will drive for around 2 hours until arrive to Matarani, the major port on the southern coast of Peru. Matarani port has the greatest fishing potential in Peru’s South working with artisanal fishermen. Then we will continue arrive to Mejia Lagoons, where is located the national bird sanctuary, here we will find map of the each protected area and detailed information about each lagoon. Afterwards we will hike along the sanctuary trails for watching the flora and fauna; also we will have time for enjoying Mejia beach. Departure to Mollendo, the most popular beach in Arequipa, this important coastal city, has a lot of tradition and history, and boasts a beautiful building facing the sea “El Castillo Forga”, after taking pictures we will go into a local restaurant for tasting the delicious ceviche. Departure to Arequipa and transfer to the hotel.