Thursday, July 24, 2014

La Arenilla

A relatively new, and somewhat unknown or overlooked, attraction of La Punta -the tip of the peninsula at the north end of the bay of Lima- is La Arenilla.

A few years back, after one-too-many instances of inundation and wave damage to the streets and homes of La Punta, the authorities dumped a number of boulders offshore from the southern side of the peninsula, to create a breakwater.  An unforeseen result was the accumulation of sediment behind the breakwater, forming a lagoon and a coastal wetland.

Soon enough, the new wetland became a haven for seabirds and even began attracting migratory waterbirds who use it as a stopover point along their flyways.

With encouragement from environmentalists and local birders, and with corporate sponsoship, the wetland at La Arenilla has been designated an ecological reserve, and have even provided signs to help visitors identify some of the birds they might see.

It was actually a very pleasant place to visit, to sit on one of the benches and listen to the sea and to the calls of the gulls and other birds out on the sands.  This aspect of La Punta was new to me, as it did not exist when I was a kid, and I don't think it was there the last time I visited La Punta -or at least it hadn't yet gained much notice.   

Now, it its an evident source of local pride -the park next to it is kept immaculate, and it was mentioned to us a as a must-see at the restaurant we ate at.  In fact it has become an almost obligatory stop for birders in Lima, along with San Isidro's El Olivar park and the wetlands of Villa El Salvador.

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