The park of Doñana, thanks to its privileged location, is a unique place with its flora, fauna and unique geological characteristics.
It has been National Park since 1969, Biosphere Reserve since 1981, wetland of the Ramsar agreement since 1982, a Special Protection Area (SPA) since 1988, Natural Park of Andalucía since 1989 and it has 4 European diplomas for the conservation and management of natural spaces.
The cherry on top was that it was named World Heritage by the UNESCO in 1994.
It is a unique ecosystem within Europe, because of the marshlands created by the Guadiamar River and the mouth of Guadalquivir River, which is the last stop for many migratory birds before crossing to Africa, and because of its mild temperature many birds stay throughout the year.
Depending on the month, you can see up to 50 different bird species, like the duck, flamingo, heron, stork, gull, tern, cormorant, eagle, partridge, etc.
The mammals are represented by the lynx, fox, rabbits, deer, fallow deer, wild boar, hares and horses, which have owners but are allowed to run free on the marshlands.
The flora is quite diverse and it is associated with the different ecosystems that are present, such as the dune ecosystem and the banks. Each ecosystem has a different fauna.
There are more than 20 species of fish that have been classified, 21 reptiles, 11 amphibians, 37 non marine mammals and 360 birds; almost half of them reproduce in the park.
It is half an hour from Huelva and one hour away from Seville. Doñana has always been a popular place, which is found close to emblematic places such as the Colombina route (La Rábida, Palos de la Frontera, Moguer and Lucena) and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
The park has 5 visitor centers, but only the one in El Acebuche offers guided tours; it is found in km 12 of the El Rocío to Matalascañas road.
It has a very interesting interpretation center, exhibit hall, shop and various paths that take you to the viewpoints where you can observe the birds and read about the flora and fauna you see. These services are free of charge.
What is not free but I really recommend it is to make a guided tour around the park: along the river from Sanlúcar or, what I did, a four hour ride in all terrain Mercedes’ that take you around the park and the different ecosystems.
They leave from El Acebuche and it goes through the Matalascañas Park.
From there you go along the beach for several kilometers, it is full of loud seagulls, and then you cross the reserve, where you see many deer and fallow deer.
You also visit the marshes and banks, an area of transition between the marshes and the reserve. My favorite part in the park is the system of mobile dunes, that depending on the winds, it moves forward taking in the vegetation.
The visit, quite interesting per se, was even better thanks to the comments of our driver, who had a very good sense of humor. He told us that the lynx’s main problem was that people drove too fast in the roads, running over the poor animals.
It is a beautiful place to see the sunset in Huelva. It is a place used by wedding photographers, gangs of teenagers, loners, but above all it is a place for couples and fishermen, although who knows what they get out of these waters. It is a nice walk. A touch of beauty in an area that is otherwise quite ugly, industrial and unattractive.
The Cave of Wonders is one of those places you simply need to see. An aquifer of 1200 meters with giant stalactites and stalagmites, is not something you will find anywhere. The halls of the cave are narrow, slippery, dark, moist and you have to negotiate water puddles and climbing stairs carved into the rock. But yes, you will only see natural beauty around you. A unique and highly recommended visit.
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El Rompido is a small fishing village in the province of Huelva with a port that is in expansion. It has incredible beachfront restaurants with the best seafood in the entire province. You can see the old light which is still used today. In short, it's a town with special charm.
The Discoverer Faith Monument is dedicated to Christopher Columbus and is one of the main symbols of Huelva. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Tinto and Odiel (called Punta del Sebo), about 4 km from the city center and almost opposite La Rabida, where you can find Columbian Caravels Pier and the Monastery La Rabida. The image of Columbus stands on a pedestal representing the Aztec, Inca, Maya and Christian faiths, as well as commemorative plates. It was designed in a cubist style by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1929.