Laguna dEl Portil Natural Reserve
Seven kilometres from Punta Umbría is the small resort of El Portil, with its 13-hectare reserve of a small freshwater lagoon, the Reserva Natural Laguna de El Portil. The reserve is most well known for its population of chameleons.
The lagoon was created by the damning effect of mobile sand dunes on several streams.
For 3.6km alongside the lagoon stretches the Playa El Portil beach which is popular with Spanish holidaymakers.
Coming to El Portil from either Punta Umbría or Huelva, the access to the Laguna de El Portil is on the right as you enter El Portil village.
Flora and fauna
Reeds and bullrushes grow on the shores of the lagoon, which is surrounded by woodland of stone pines, cork oaks, tamarisk and broom that are full of wildlife. On the dunes you can see prickly juniper, rosemary, rock rose and lentisc.
The reserve is rich in birds; on the lake are grebes, kingfishers, spoonbills, plovers, grey herons and mallard ducks, while in the woods there are woodpeckers, hoopoes, greenfinches, chaffinches and buzzards. There are many amphibians and reptiles here including tortoises, frogs, toads, speckled newts and chameleons.
There is a footpath that goes round the lagoon, with three bird hides. The footpath starts on the right just before you arrive in El Portil village and loops round the lake and enters the village from the northern end.