This 26,810 hectare reserve lies at the confluence of the Magdalena River and Caribbean Sea. It consists of mangroves, saw grass marshes, both flooded and non-flooded forest, mudbanks, lagoons and numerous waterways, and is one of the largest coastal wetlands in Latin America. In conjunction with Isla de Salamanca National Park, it forms the larger Ciénaga Biosphere Reserve.
This complex mosaic of habitats helps to encourage a rich biodiversity. Bird species include northern screamer, bicolored conebill, American flamingo, American pygmy Kingfisher and an incredibly large colony of more than 50,000 neotropic cormorants.
In the calm, shallow waters of the marshland, the famous stilt villages of Ciénaga are located. These ‘Palafito’ fishing communities have resided in these villages for around the last 200 years, using traditional fishing methods and craftsmanship to carve out an amphibious living.
The Ciénaga Grande is also formally recognised and protected as a wetland of international importance.