This 500-sq-km national reserve protects an area of mangroves southeast of Guayaquil. Much of the coast used to be mangrove forest – an important and unique habitat. This is one of Ecuador’s few remaining mangrove coastlands; the rest have been destroyed by the shrimp industry. Inland is some tropical dry forest, on hills reaching 700m above sea level.
Studies of the area within the reserve indicate that the changing habitat from coastal mangroves to hilly forest supports a wide biodiversity with a high proportion of endemic species. Dolphins have frequently been reported along the coast, and many other animal and bird species can be seen by wildlife-watchers.