San Pedro del Pinatar saltworks are the most significant marshland area of Murcia's Region. They were stated Nature Reserve Regional Park on 1985. Flamingos and other migratory bird flocks nest here every year, using this Nature Reserve as a stopping place in their migrations between Europe and Africa.
San Pedro del Pinatar Saltworks Nature Reserve is a unique Mediterranean coastal spot. Within a relatively small space (700 Ha. -about 1.800 acres-) you can see terrain formations such as saltworks, dunes, salt marshes, reedbeds, large and wild sand beaches, pinetrees growing in the sands and "encañizadas" (Traditional fishing system in Mar Menor. It lies in capturing the fishes that swim through small natural channels from Mediterranean Sea to Mar Menor lake. The fishes are forced to pass across a complex labyrinth built with reeds and wood pieces and they are captured)
The bird's fauna is specially important. Flamingos are the kings of the area, because of their spectacular nature. Flamingo flocks arrive to the Nature Reserve at the end of the Summer to hibernate in the place. There are two bird watching areas from which you can observe, also, many other birds, such as herons, eaglets, owls, storks, storklets (himantopus himpantopus) seagulls, charranes (sterna hirundo) chorlitos patinegros (charadrius alexandrinus) and avocetas (avosetta recurvirostra) among other species.
The existence of saltworks in this Nature Reserve is so old as the human being's presence. Fourteen Century documents mention these saltworks already. The two windmills that stay nowadays were used to pump up the salty Mar Menor's water to the saltwork ponds. Now they use electrical pumps, but the windmills outline is still part of the landscape.
Visit to the Saltworks and Sandy Spots Nature Reserve.
Difficulty: No difficulty.
Length of visit: A walk of about two hours.
The Nature Reserve is a very fragile and delicate environmental system, therefore keep in mind, please, the next suggestions:
Follow the established tracks, do not step on the dunes or vegetation, do not disturb the birds. Unleashed dogs, bonfires, camping, car parking (outside the established parking sites) and picnic (except in the established picnic area) are non allowed activities. Thank you for regarding these few rules.
Your bird watching will be easier if you carry binoculars.
Description of routes:
It is not possible to visit the Nature Reserve Regional Park directly from La Manga del Mar Menor. You have to drive to San Pedro del Pinatar village (check Mar Menor map, please). Then, you can drive to one of the starting points of the existing two routes.
The first route beggins in San Pedro del Pinatar. You have to take the small road that drives from this village to San Pedro del Pinatar Port (see map above, please) Then you find a car parking lot and a Reception place that has maps and information about the Nature Reserve's fauna.
The signposted route borders on a recovered lake and a fauna's reservoir, until the Mediterranean sandy beach. Walking in the beach North direction, the track goes inland again through a dunes area, passes a small watching tower and, after bordering on a pinetree forest, ends in the initial parking area.
The second route starts in Lo Pagán. You have to take the small road that drives towards La Puntica (see map above, please) until you arrive to "Molino de Quintín" windmill. Then you can drive, over a non-paved trail that borders on the Mar Menor lake, until the other windmill, "Molino de La Ezequiela". The walking route starts from this windmill and allows the visit to the South side of the saltworks and the Mar Menor "encañizadas" (see above what it is) The track borders on the saltwork ponds until it reaches the Mediterranean "Punta de Algas" sandy beach.
Visit the other local Nature Reserve, South La Manga:
Calblanque Regional Park.