Reserva Ecológica Manglares Churute

South Coast

This 50,000 hectare national reserve protects an area of mangroves that serve as an important and unique habitat for many species. Visitors can hire a motorized canoe ($40) and tour the canals for the chance to see cormorants, egrets, pelicans and crocodiles in the brackish waters. Another option is the 1.4km Aullndares trail, named after the resident howler monkeys. Although rare, jaguars have also been spotted here. Rangers can arrange guided tours (Spanish only; $40).

There's no sign to the entrance of the reserve, which is approximately 5km off the main E25 highway from Guayaquil. At the time of research restrooms were being built at the entrance of the park, but there are no other facilities. Bring your own supplies.