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National Park

San Esteban

 

* Ubication: Carabobo State

* Location

In the western section of the Coastal Range, between Valencia and Puerto Cabello.

* How to get there

By road following the route Valencia-Puerto Cabello. The main entrance is the road that passes by the Mirador de Solano, on the outskirts of Puerto Cabello. On the coast, it can be reached by boat from the dock at Quizandal. The road to Guacara leads to Troconero and Piedra Pintada.

* Characteristics

Located in the Coastal Range, it encompasses a wide variety of ecosystems and landscapes. The altitude ranges from sea level to 1,830 m. at the Villalonga hill. It has an abrupt relief with very steep slopes and different landscapes which vary from mountain forests to warm beaches, inlets and islands with crystalline waters on the Caribbean. Numerous petroglyphs are testimony to the aboriginal cultures, forts and colonial mansions mark the passage of the Conquest. The Puente de los Españoles (Bridge of the Spaniards), built in 1807, is the symbol of the park. On the road one finds mansions from a century ago which evoke the prosperous era of the cocoa plantations. Close to Troconero and Borburata, there are petroglyphs which correspond to the Araguas and Tacariguas Caribe groups. This park, with easy access and several facilities, offers many interesting sites, both natural and anthropical. Among the historical places to visit there is Rincón Hondo, a two-and-a half hour walk through the forest, the Camino de los Españoles (Route of the Spaniards) that leads to Valencia after passing the summit of San Jean, the San Esteban river with its waterholes and falls, the house-museum of Bartolomé Salom, the petroglyphs of Las Clavellinas and Piedra Pintada, the neighboring Indian cemetery, the Fortín or Mirador Solano, the Mansion Los Pimentel and its beautiful beaches and islands. This park was baptized with the name of Miguel José Sanz.

* Vegetation

As in all the Coastal Range, vegetation here is rich and varied, with xerophytic plants, thickets, savannas and forests. On the coast there are mangroves and coconut palms, and towards the south there are thistles, cacti and thorny bushes. Between 200 and 400 m., dry, low and deciduous forest appears, with species like the lancewood. Towards 700 m., medium and high deciduous forest develops, where the most abundant species are the trumpetwood, the wild cotton, the strangler fig and the needle flower. From 900 m. upward, green forest appears with its varied and complex composition. Here palm trees grow, along with lianas, grasses, epiphytes and imposing trees. 125 families, 703 genera and 1,520 species have been recorded in the park.

* Fauna

With a diverse and interesting fauna, many species are autochtonous. Among birds, the most important are the Venezuelan Wood-quail, the White Hawk, the Helmeted Curassow, the Guan, the Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, the Tinamou, the Chachalaca, the Rufous-tailed Jacamar, the Helemeted Curassow, the Yellow-rumped Cacique, the Orange-winged Parrot, the Russet-backed Oropendola, etc. Among mammals, there are freshwater otters, pacas, margays, raccoons, kinkajous, porcupines, giant anteaters, etc. Endemic snakes, beware, are also found, among them the "Tigra Mariposa" (Bothrops venezuelensis), ferde-lance, rattlesnake, coral snake, etc.

* Recomendations

A special permit to spend the night in the park is required. Contact INPARQUES. Being that it is a frequently visited park, particularly on weekends, remember to follow the rules for every national park, specially those regarding garbage disposal and those about removing plants and animals.

* Facilities

The park offers parking facilities at the main entrance, where the water pipe is located. There are picnic and swimming areas. Those who want to walk the whole trail from the sea to Valencia, a two-day excursion at least, have special campsites at their disposal. The recreational areas where it is allowed to camp are Piedra de Agua, the Gonzaga and Miquija rivers and the areas close to Borburata. In the neighboring cities of Puerto Cabello and Valencia there is comfortable lodging available.

* Climate

Temperatures range from 28° C. in its warm part and 12° C. in its higher areas. Rainy season from May to November, dry from December to April.

* Surface

44.050 ha.

* Information

INPARQUES
Tlf. (041) 957.46.09. Fax 58.19.17 * (02) 285.50.56*43.60* 48.59. Fax 285.30.70.


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