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Mangroves and Tropical Ecosystems

See all our Ecuador & Galapagos Tours and Nature & Wildlife Expeditions in Ecuador

Mangroves and Tropical Ecosystems

Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights

Program overview

Explore the tropical ecosystems of the Ecuadorian Coast, going from the Mangrove forests, one of the world’s most threatened tropical ecosystems, to one of the largest tropical dry forests remaining in the world at the Machalilla National Park.

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Mangroves and Tropical Ecosystems: Tour Highlights

  • Visit one the of most threatened ecosystems in the world, the Mangrove forest
  • Visit an Organic Cacao farm
  • Hike the last humid tropical forest remaining near the sea.
  • Blue and Red footed boobies, Masked boobies at Isla de la Plata Excursion ( Poor’s men Galapagos)
  • Howler monkeys at Pacoche Wildlife refuge

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Itinerary – Day by Day

Day 1: Arrival in Guayaquil. Greeting at the airport and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Manglares Churute Ecological Reserve & Organic Cacao Farm.

Manglares Churute is located 46 km / 29 miles away from the city of Guayaquil. It has one of the best preserved mangrove forests in the world in approximately 50,000 hectares of different eco-systems, including: coastal tropical dry rainforest, mangrove forest, and subtropical dry rainforest.

Wildlife at Manglares Churute includes armadillos, white-fronted Capuchins, mantled howler monkeys, tigrillos, ocelots and bottle nose dolphins. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded on site, including woodpeckers, herons and ducks. During today’s tour you will also visit a local organic family farm to learn about the process of turning cacao into chocolate on a local farm you will also enjoy a delicious coastal style lunch. (Meals: B, L)

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Day 3: Guayaquil – Ayampe

Drive through coastal landscapes following the Route of the Sun which goes along the Pacific coast. Arrive at Ayampe, a small village with less than 500 habitants and surrounded by the last humid tropical forest remaining near the sea.

Take a hike through the forest, home of the Papagallus Guayaquiliensis, hummingbirds and orchids. Check in at your hotel. Dinner and overnight. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 4: Machalilla National Park

Hike in the Machalilla National Park one of the largest tropical dry forest on the coast of Ecuador, threatened by a number of factors, including deforestation, commercial fishing, and poaching. The park occupies 40,000 acres of land and 20,000 hectares of ocean, including la Isla de la Plata. The park combines an amazing ecosystem featuring long stretches of tropical dry forest interspersed with sections of humid cloud forests in the upper reaches of the territory.

The vegetation at the park includes Opuntia cactus, Palo Santo trees and kapok trees. The hike will end at the Los Frailes Beach, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Participate in a beach cleaning activity to help in the conservation of this wonderful environment. Enjoy some free time at the beach and return to the hotel for dinner and overnight. (Meals: B, L, D)

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Day 5: Isla de la Plata – Poor Man’s Galapagos

Drive to Puerto Lopez where you’ll board a boat and enjoy an approximately 2 hour journey by sea to Isla de La Plata which translates to Silver Island. According to local legend, the name was given to the Island because the famous pirate Francis Drake is believed to have hidden treasures taken from Spanish ships on the island where they remain hidden today.

During the months of June to September you will have the opportunity to observe humpback whales on your way to the Island. Humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to tropical waters during these months to mate and give birth to their calves. Upon arrival at the Island, you’ll hike and explore the Flora and Fauna including a chance to see, Blue footed Bobbies, Frigate Birds, Red footed Bobbies, Nazca Bobbies, and Red Billed Tropic Birds. Also, during the months of April – November, have the opportunity to see nesting waved albatrosses that only nest here and in the Galapagos Islands. Return to the Puerto Lopez in the afternoon and then continue to the hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy the beach. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 6: Pacoche Wildlife refuge – San Lorenzo fishermen town

Pacoche is a protected area that boasts approximately 5,000 hectares of tropical rain forests and dry forests on land, plus four miles of ocean extending out from the coastline. As a result of its location (in a hilly coastal area) Pacoche has a great variety of ecosystems.

The upper parts are covered by misty evergreen “garua” forests, where howler monkeys can be spotted, there is also a wide variety of birds, more than 152 species of birds have been registered here.

The lower areas, closer to the sea are drier, with extensive areas of cactus and shrubs, also some giant ceibo trees. Continue to Liguiqui, a beach specially preferred by surfers, as it is known for having one of the best left-waves (point break) along the Ecuadorian coast. Visit also San Lorenzo beach, frequented by some species of sea turtles. Return to your hotel. (Meals: B, L, D)

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Day 7: Palo Santo Factory – Agua Blanca – Guayaquil

Today visit the Palo Santo Factory; Palo Santo is the name of a local tree and it is used by the community to prepare some curative extracts and oils.

Continue to Agua Blanca, a community established as part of the pre-Colombian Manteña culture over 1,200 years ago, it is now the only surviving indigenous group in this region. Take a walk at the community to learn about their ancestors and archeological background. You are also welcome to take a soothing dip in the sulfur pool and cover yourself in the black mud to enjoy its dermatological benefits (Showers available). Enjoy lunch at the community and in the afternoon start your trip back to Guayaquil. The rest of the evening is free to pack and prepare for your return flight. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 8: Departure day.

Transfer to the airport for your flight back home or to your next destination.

Operational details

The program starts and ends in Guayaquil

The program includes

Private transportation, expert local guide, accommodation & meals according to itinerary detail, visits and entrance fee to mentioned places. Welcome kit, snacks and water provision along the trip.

The program does not included

International airfare, personal expenses, insurance and gratuities.

Ready to get started? Contact us to book your trip.

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