The lagoons of La Mancha
A chain of fifteen lagoons form an open space of lakes and rivers that are unique to la Mancha's steppes.
Between the first lagoon, Blanca and that of Cenegal, there is a 120 metres drop, and the remaining lagoons form a chain and are connected via waterfalls, brooks, and underground currents. Las Lagunas de Ruidera are considered to be the source of the river Guadiana. They are supplied by the waters of underground aquifers and the river Pinilla. The main vegetation is made up of reeds, bulrushes, rushes, near the lagoons, and well as junipers and holm oaks. In their waters you can spot barbel, carp, pike, water snakes and tortoises.
What you need to know
From a cultural point of view, the lagoons are linked to the work of Cervantes 'Don Quijote de la Mancha' should be mentioned, since they and their surrounding areas provided the backdrop for several passages from the book. In the nearby towns (Ossa de Montiel, Argamasilla de Alba, Villanueva de los Infantes, Alhambra, Ruidera y Tomelloso), visitors will find an outstanding artistic and cultural heritage. Next to the lakes you can admire the ruins of Rochafrida castle.
The Lagunas de Ruidera form a river and lake system with natural dams. It is set on the high plateau of Campo de Montiel. The Nature Reserve contains an interesting variety of plant species and a large group of animal species, including birds, which use it to spend the winter.
Information for visits
The majority of the Ruidera Lakes area can be visited freely, with the exception of some zones that are reserved for wildlife. You can get to the lakes from Ossa de Montiel and Ruidera. In the latter village you will also find the Nature Reserve Information Centre.