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Where the Ferns Live

Marcelo Sola Jorge González

An ideal tour for those who enjoy being in contact with nature in its purest form. We got deep into the understory, where the arborescent ferns grow.

Ferns Cave - Tacuarembó

Having found the Fern Cave meant finding a treasure well-hidden by nature. Even though this new tourist destination is being promoted, it still does not have the necessary infrastructure for visitors to reach it without problems. Of course, this somehow makes it even more attractive.

To reach the cave, we left Tacuarembó and went northeast along Paul Harris Avenue, crossed two brightly colored bridges and turned left at the first intersection into Gutiérrez Ruiz Avenue. We reached a fork in the road: to right, it lea to Iporá resort and to the left, a basalt road led towards the cave. There were still eight kilometers to go. The access gate was on the right.

As we walked along this country road leading to Zapara, we were able to appreciate a beautiful landscape of cuchillas (rolling plateaus), scrublands, and rocky formations. We were at the heart of the Uruguayan sediment plains that we had crossed on our way up until we reached the base of the basalt hill where the cave is located.

Ferns Cave - Tacuarembó

Upon reaching the gate, we were welcomed by Mr. Luis de los Santos -53 years old at the time of this report- who guided us to the place where the huge ferns grow. Luis is a talkative man, perhaps because he is alone most of the time or perhaps because of his great passion for the place.

He gave us all the information about the area we were visiting. He knew quite well that the landscape is better appreciated in silence and for that reason he steps to the side when it is a perfect time for contemplation.

Ferns Cave - Tacuarembó

It seemed that the land we were walking on was fossilized quartz sand dunes piled up during the Triassic Age. According to Luis de los Santos, this area is an “encyclopedia of the soil”. If you pay close attention, all the layers of soil and sediment show the evolution of the area.

The walk in the middle of the field was long and yet nice. As we neared the cave, the sound of a stream was heard more vividly. Soon we reached the area where the cave was located. In fact, it is a ravine surrounded by native forest.

Thanks to the microclimate generated by the steep descent of the land, there lives a beautiful fern understory in the shelter of trees. The humidity comes from water flowing to the surface. The place is full of lichen, which suggests the purity of the oxygen in this place.

Ferns Cave - Tacuarembó

We began to descend slowly and carefully for a couple of meters to go deep into the ravine. Once we entered the cave, we found a large variety of native vegetation and crystal clear water running through the area. On one side of the ravine, we found several ferns of unusual size, some of them exceeding a meter in diameter, and others that could hardly be seen. The place was humid and yet cozy. We stayed there for a while looking at the species and appreciating what Mother Nature had put together in this forsaken place of the planet.

After enjoying this untouched place, we came out of the cave towards a natural view point from where we had a panoramic view of the area.
It is possible to see new native species in this region like the armadillo, which is similar to the mulita, the red eagle, the Southern screamer or the dusky-legged guan.

Ferns Cave - Tacuarembó

Finally, our tour ended in the same place where it began. We said goodbye to Luis and began our journey back feeling pleased with the tour.
We hope that with time direction signs are used to make it easier for visitors to find the place. The huge ferns and the wonderful microclimate of the place are worth visiting.

Welcome Uruguay - Outings in Tacuarembó
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half a day



Tour type


Useful Data

How to get there

The fern cave is located 8 kilometers from Tacuarembó along the country road leading to Zapara.

Opening hours

all day.

Bear in mind

It can only be visited with the help of the guide. It is highly recommended to wear comfortable and safe footwear. On the other hand, it is very important to watch your step along the way until you reach the entrance gate to the cave.

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