Fossilized trunks in the Petrified Forest of Puyango in southern Ecuador.

© Ecuadorpostales/Shutterstock

El Bosque Petrificado Puyango

South Coast

A 4km boardwalk loop leads to the petrified forest (take the trail behind the toilet block; another dirt road to the left leads to private land). The dry season between May and November is the best time to visit, as water levels rise during wet season, covering some of the fossils on the riverbed. These absolutely remarkable large stone trees are between 60 million and 500 million years old; the most colossal of them all has a trunk two meters in diameter trunk and 15 meters long.

Due to the park's location, it gets few visitors, so you'll likely be the only ones there. The petrified forest is a 1.3km walk from the information center; staff will point you in the right direction.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby South Coast attractions

1. Parque Nacional Cerros de Amotape

24.05 MILES

The tropical dry forest ecosystem of Cerros de Amotape is protected by this 1515-sq-km national park, which makes up the lion’s share of the Reserva de…

2. Reserva Buenaventura


Run by the Fundación Jocotoco, this 27-sq-km cloud-forest reserve is a fantastic spot for bird-watching. There are a number of short trails, simple wooden…