Bosque Protector Cerro Blanco

South Coast

This private reserve is administered by Fundación Pro-Bosque. There’s an organic farm, an education center with exhibits on the local ecology and birdlife (in Spanish), and a wildlife rescue center where endangered species are cared for, including a large aviary for several Guayaquil macaws. Spanish-speaking guides are available for nature-trail hikes (two to four hours, per group $12 to $20).

From January to May there’s plenty of water and the plants are green, but there are lots of mosquitoes (no malaria) so bring repellent. From June to December (the dry season) the trees flower and it’s easier to see wildlife because the animals congregate in the remaining wet areas. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to see wildlife. The visitors center sells a bird list and booklets, and dispenses information and trail maps. Several trails take you into the rolling coastal hills. There are parts of dry forest with huge ceiba trees and more than a hundred other tree species, as well as views of coastal mangrove forests in the distance.

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