The Juan Manuel Ciénagas National Park, also known as Aguas Blancas and Aguas Negras, is an extensive swamp of swampy soil. The Lightning of the Catatumbo, unique phenomenon in the world, that is observed permanently in the park. Around 20 thousand birds of different species, use the mangrove forest to sleep, it turns out to be a sight to see them take off at dawn.

The Catatumbo Delta is of vital importance for the Lake of Maracaibo, so this area was decreed as a reserve in order to protect the vegetation that covers its façade and the banks of the arms and pipes that cover it. They are very fertile lands.






No. and Date
Creation: No. 1,631 dated 05/06/1991 / GO 35,065 dated 07/10/1992.




Warm rainy.


28º C


Precipitation (mm)
3,557 mm.




Superfice (Ha)
Total Area (Ha)


Geological and Geomorphological Information
      There are swampy alluvial plains of the rivers that have their source in the superhumid zones of the Sierra de Perijá. Hydrographically there are numerous pipes, rivers, swamps and lagoons that give the park a swampy character, coupled with the fact that the area is almost flat, which causes it to remain flooded almost all year round, becoming an ecosystem of game species, endemic and migratory that need these places to survive. It is a Delta Lacustrino Estuarino system, formed by the water courses that cross the park and then empty into Lake Maracaibo; there are the Santa Ana, Bravo, La Concepcion, Aricuaiza, Lora and Catatumbo rivers and the Tiri, Rosalba and Aguas Negras canals; because the latter are less abundant, their drainages are lost in spills and diffluences.
      Evergreen forests always green. Swamp grasslands. The set of marshes and lagoons are associated with the rich vegetation of swamp forests, quagmire and herbaceous of the sector. The evergreen forests develop towards the highest parts of the park. Mangroves Rhizophora sp., Laguncularia racemosa, Conocarpus erectus, Ferns Equisetum sp., And Ophiglossu, sp., Aquatic and underwater plants Echinodorus sp. and Sporobolus virginicus; Ceiba pentandra and micard Anacardium excelsum are frequent in the forest.
      The fauna is represented mainly by birds such as migratory herons, Pelacanus occidentalis, Chauna chavaria endemic to this area, the Cairina moschata, the spotted sandpiper, Plutavia squatarola, the tigüi tigüi Tringa flavipes, the filiform gull Sterna albifrons between others. The mammals occupy the second place in numbers of species and among them we can mention the araguato Alouatta seniculus, chigüires Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris, lapas Agouti paca. The Tonina Inga geoffrensis; their populations are preserved, thanks to the religious belief of the fishermen of the site, who compare it with a virgin. The manatee Trichechus manatus; This species is in serious danger of extinction, of the 75 animals reported in year 92, there are currently approximately 25 animals left, the tapir Tapirus terrestris, the tiger Panthera onca, the puma Felis concolor. Among the reptiles, the iguana Iguana iguana, the crocodile of the coast Crocodylus acutus, stand out.
      The schedule of visits to the park is from 07:00 am to 04:00 pm
Location from the Nearest City
      The Ciénagas de Juan Manuel National Park is located southwest of Lake Maracaibo, includes part of the municipalities Machiques de Perijá, Jesús María Semprún, Catatumbo and Colón del Estado Zulia.
How to get
      By road, following the tracks Maracaibo-Encontrados-Río Catatumbo; Maracaibo-Santa Bárbara-Río Escalante and Maracaibo-Machiques- La Fría-Río Santa Ana. Lake and river routes, sailing through Lake Maracaibo and then following the rivers Catatumbo, Santa Ana and Escalante. By air to the airports of Santa Bárbara or La Fría and by plane to the airstrip of Campo Rosario.
Recommendations for the Visitor
 It is recommended to visit the park during daytime hours, go through it in groups and preferably accompanied by a guide or connoisseur of the area. Wear light and fresh clothes due to the oppressive heat, bring sunscreen and enough drinking water.
Forbidden activities
Hunting, commercial fishing, extraction of species of flora and fauna, discharge of polluting substances into watercourses, sports competitions that concentrate large numbers of people, carry firearms or any other that may cause damage to natural resources, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, use of sound equipment that disturb the tranquility of the park, take photographs or filming for commercial purposes without prior authorization.