Estany Pudent is the largest of Formentera’s two salt lagoons. It starts south of the Port de la Savina, and is just behind the coastline of Es Cavall d’en Borras from which it takes in fresh seawater.
The history behind Estany Pudent is an interesting one. In the 1800s two sisters came from Ibiza to raise animals on Formentera’s land, and after a long drought one of them ran out of water. Even though the other sister had the large Can Marroig well on her land she would not share its water and sent her sibling packing. However, following the drought came a flood, and the selfish sister’s land was flooded to the extent that it became what is known today as Estany Pudent. On a clear day you can see the remains of a finca under the water.
You can cycle around this inland lake via the Circuits Verds, or Green Tours, which are the designated cycling and hiking paths of the island.
It is Route No.1 that loops around Estany Pudent. There are a number of access points to the route:
Estany Pudent can be translated as ‘stinky pond’ or ‘stagnant pond,’ and on a hot summer day the combination of sulphur fumes and decomposing algae can whip up quite a stench. Not to mention that the accumulated rainwater makes it an ideal breeding ground for swarms of mosquitoes. Despite these negatives it is an area worth exploring.
Although the salt concentration is up to three times higher than that in the sea, Estany Pudent sustains many beautiful freshwater plants, and the surrounding wetlands are rich in wildlife. Most of the plant life is the salt tolerant salcornia species, more commonly known as glasswort or pickleweed. The birds that you might spot include: the spotted redshank, great reed warblers and the black-winged stilt. In fact this place used to known as the Flamingo Lagoon because of the large numbers of flamingos, but these days it is more of a rarity to spot one of these. The black-crested grebe spends its winters here, and other birds include the Kentish plover, spotted redshanks, herons and egrets.
The lake is right next to Ses Salines – the salt beds. These are the site of the traditional salt manufacture which used to support the islands. These days they are just there for display really, although occasionally one of the older generation might step out and do a bit of salt harvesting for old times’ sake. Along the north-west of the lagoon is where the old salt train used to take the salt down to the port of La Savina. These days you can still see the train behind the Museum of Ethnography.
You probably wouldn’t fancy swimming in Estany Pudent, but just in case you do please note that it is prohibited. With so many beautiful beaches it’s no loss.