Por los caminos de Las Mareas: una comunidad isla que creció con la sal, la caña y los frutos del mar
Accompanied by the group of young hosts and interpreter guides from Las Mareas, visitors can enjoy direct contact with various environments and natural landscapes of the coast, while learning about the human history that explains how people have been related to these natural settings over time, from the first indigenous settlements to the community we know today as Las Mareas de Salinas.
Also, the visitor will be able to learn about the extraordinary history of community service of El Punto Educativo, Recreativo y Social, Inc. de Las Mareas, community organization.
The experience offers the visitor an opportunity of having a first-hand learning experience about the natural and cultural heritage that distinguishes this community. The walking tour lasts approximately 3 hours and covers around 2.1 miles or 3.5 km of distance.
The visitor experience begins with a warm welcome and a brief introduction to Las Mareas and the Punto Educativo community center and its surroundings. Then, enjoy a short documentary about the history of the organization and the community, and about the experience that they are to share with the visitors.
The tour begins through one of the old roads of Las Salinas de Monserrate where the visitor relates to the impressive diversity of flora and fauna species that inhabit the salt flats and the mangroves. Walking through open spaces and flooded soils, the group crosses a mangrove swamp that leads us to Playa La Quinta. There, they take a break and cool off with the sea breeze and its crystalline waters and then learn about why this area has been continuously inhabited for the past 4,000 years.
In the second segment, the trail continues under the shade of red mangrove trees and to the Caribbean Sea coast seeing meadows of salt-resistant plants and small hidden beaches until it reaches the old “salt curdles or crystallizers” of the old Monserrate salt mine. There, the group enjoys an extraordinary view of the central mountain range while we dive deeper into the human history of salt in Las Mareas.
The last section of the trail crosses salt flats under the intermittent shade of the “Botón” Mangrove until it reaches the Boca de las Salinas de Monserrate, a place also known as the “Dam”. This is a channel through which, in the past, seawater was introduced to the salt flats to produce salt. Walking across this canal with the water above your waist and backpacks on your head, results in one of the most exciting and refreshing experiences of the tour.
Finally, back in the community, while we walk back to the original starting point, the visitor can tour its picturesque streets and houses and share stories with some of its neighbors. During the walk, you can enjoy a delicious seafood turnovers or refresh yourself with a tasty coconut popsicle, having the opportunity to enjoy the variety of local products that distinguish the community.
Back at Punto Educativo and after the visitors change their clothes, a lunch is shared adding to the experience the opportunity to try the traditional cuisine of Las Mareas which is also considered an important part of its cultural heritage. The closing of the visit ends with an exchange of impressions on the meaning of the shared experience between the visitors and the youth of the community.
What should I bring to be prepared for the tour?
- Comfortable, light-colored clothing. Preferably light long pants and a long-sleeved shirt (optional in case you need additional protection from the sun).
- Cap or hat with a wide brim and fresh fabric.
- Tennis, boots, or shoes (with socks), “hiking” type that are closed and light, and that can be easily washed later.
- Sunscreen and insect repellent, preferably in lotion.
- Light snack for the tour.
- “Dry sac” or “zip-lock” bag to protect phone, camera or other objects that cannot get wet, during the channel crossing. You do not have to swim to cross the canal, it is crossed walking, this recommendation is to prevent your belongings from getting wet.
- Preferably 2 liters of water per person, not less than 1 liter.
- If you take any emergency medicine or frequently for less than 4 hours, you must take it with you.
- You should also bring a change of clothes and additional sandals or shoes so that you can change after finishing the tour. After crossing the canal, your shirt, pants and shoes will be completely wet.
- Finally, and VERY IMPORTANT, bring a spirit for adventure, for discovery, astonishment, and a great desire to share and learn from a unique and memorable experience.
How do I know this tour is for me?
Our tour is designed to offer a unique visit to visitors who value and are interested in practicing a different, responsible, and committed tourism.
It is a tour that offers an ideal experience for those who enjoy learning, exploring, discovering, and showing solidarity with community service initiatives and the development of young people committed to a better future for themselves and their community.