Portuguesa River is located in the state of Portuguesa, Venezuela, which is also known as the Granary State of Venezuela, and the spiritual capital of Venezuela.
The Portuguesa River rises near Biscucuy (a Portuguesa state population) in the Andean Mountains, approximately 1800 meters above sea level. It runs for more than 400 miles, 216 miles of which are in the state of Portuguesa, and this river flows into the Apure River.
The Portuguesa River basin has a surface area of approximately 80,000 square kilometers.
Its course begins in the State of Portuguesa and continues through the States of Cojedes, Lara, Guárico and Barinas. In Portuguesa State, the river occupies more than 60% of the territory. Just as the Manzanares River crosses the State of Sucre, so does this river, it crosses the entire State of Portuguesa.
The Portuguesa River is considered the most important river in the state. It leaves in its path the formation of spillways and meanders, giving rise to the Camaguán estuaries, which are navigable during the rainy season.
Its waters are mainly used for irrigation of crops in the area, and we find numerous sand pits along its extensive courses.
It receives the Acarigua River, while going through the city of the same name. It also receives the Morador River, the Guache, the Guanare River, among others.
This wide and important river was used for illicit commerce and the government installed a customs office in the Papelón municipality to control its traffic. Thus, originating the town of La Aduana.
When the Guanare aqueduct was built, they brought the pipes in a steamboat that entered the Atlantic Ocean, crossing the Orinoco River, then the Apure River and from there up to the Portuguesa River.
The place where they disembarked these tubes gave origin to a town known as Los Tubos.
The natives of the region named the river Guanaguanare, which means seagull or place of seagulls, then it was known as El Temeri, and the Rio de los Estribos.
Around the year 1591, a large number of Portuguese people arrived to the country, trying to found cities and populate the country.
Among these, Mr. Melchor Luis arrived with his beautiful wife. According to the story, during a bad day the Portuguese woman disappeared in the choppy waters of the river.
From that moment on, the locals referred to the river as the river where the Portuguese woman drowned, or the one that drifted away the Portuguese woman. Over time, the name shortened until it was identified as the Portuguesa River. This river is so important that the entire state was named after its waters.
There are some historians who state that the origin of the name was not because of this tragic incident, arguing that the river received this name in honor to the Portuguese people who came to found the city.
In the waters of the Portuguesa River, it is possible to find a great variety of fish. Among them, we can highlight the caribe, which is similar to a piranha; and the cachama, the catfish that cannot be missing in our rivers of the plains.
They have a specific place where they gather and it is as if they were waiting for the boats or canoes to arrive, since when they hear the noise of the motor they can be seen at a certain distance. They can be called by knocking on the outside of the boat.
In the estuaries of Camaguán, formed by the waters of the Portuguesa River, we find a great variety of birds, among them the white herons. There is also the chigüire, and many other species.
In the estuaries of Camaguán, there is the Wild Fauna Reserve of Camaguán, within an area of 19,300 hectares, dedicated to protect our Fauna.
The chigüire is found along the Portuguesa River. It is worth mentioning that this animal is in danger of extinction and hunting is extrictly prohibited.
The Hato Terecay is located near the Portuguesa River. There, you can spend a few days of relaxation in the camp with the same name.
Their specialty is to make boat rides through the Portuguesa River, having as main objective to see the toninas as close as possible and visit the Esteros de Camaguán.
They are currently doing tests to tour the river on kayaks, and it has been found that the toninas get friendlier to kayaks, as they don’t have motors. So, they come out so close that it is almost possible to touch them.
If you want to enjoy nature, I recommend you to go to the plains. I invite you to go into the waters of the Portuguesa River if you are in Venezuela, to make contact with nature and get away from the routine of the city.
Although it is not cataloged as a reserve, thanks to its care, it does not present pollution, in 2016 there was a problem that was called an ecological disaster. Named this way after finishing the investigation of the event that left hundreds of dead fish.
It was discovered that this contamination was caused by the growth of a natural grass called “gamelote,” which takes oxygen away from the fish. This was caused by the overflow of another river due to the heavy rains that overflowed the Milagrito Stream.