Machalilla National Park Puerto Lopez Manabi
The Machalilla National Park is part of the National System of Protected Areas of Ecuador, located on the southern coast of the province of Manabi in the cantons of Jipijapa, Montecristi and Puerto Lopez.
The Machalilla National Park is rich in cultural resources, with 21 known sites representing 5,000 years of human history
It is one of the largest protected areas of the Ecuadorian coast and comprises two areas: a land (56,184 hectares) and a marina (14,430 hectares). Machalilla National Park was established in July 1979.
It takes its name from the ancient pre-Columbian culture that inhabited part of the area, Machalilla. Among its main attractions is the Isla de la Plata and the beach of the Friars.
Hidrogeográfico corridor is part of the Cordillera fog forest. The height of the zone varies from 0 to 840 meters, and the climate is dry however, marine air masses produce moisture. The average annual temperature fluctuates between 23.5 24.5 ° C.
Differences shown climates: tropical arid, from the river mouth Buena Vista, subcálido pre-montane (about 840 m) in the hills Dead Dog and Punta Alta.
Why is it important Machalilla National Park?
It is the only protected area in the continental Ecuador with unique coral reefs on the coast of Ecuador its southern limit reefs in the eastern Pacific and limit distribution of many other tropical marine area.
It has greater biodiversity and important areas of outcrop. Located on transit routes of migratory species.
The faunal diversity of Machalilla National Park in marine and terrestrial areas, is represented by 81 species of mammals, 270 of birds and 143 fish. The main access road is the road between Puerto Lopez – Jipijapa north and south La Libertad.
Machalilla National Park and surrounding forests remaining areas of rainforest include drizzle, similar to the Andean cloud forest in the upper part of the range.
In the lower slopes the forest becomes semi-deciduous and deciduous and towards the coast becomes dry scrub where vegetation is bushy and stocky, there are species of cactus caudones or candelabra cactus and the most representative trees correspond to families Mimosaceae and Capparifaceae.
In the riparian forest there are groups of bamboo cane and large trees like matapalos (Ficus spp.). Other areas are dominated by palms or tagua cade and are generally more intervened areas.
The remaining around the park are embedded in a matrix of disturbed areas dominated by corn, bananas, sugar cane and cattle pastures.
The Machalilla National Park has a large variety of mammals, including species that at present are quite rare in the Ecuadorian coast as the jaguar, howler monkey, capuchin monkey, ocelot, trigrillo, deer, white-tailed deer, bush dog, raccoon cangrejero, tayra ferret, armadillo, armadillo tail rag, kinkajou, coati cuchucho, anteater, agouti, agouti, red squirrel.
Regarding the herpetofauna, there is an almost endemic amphibian species of the area, Colostethus machalilla, plus Porthidium arcosae, also endemic, along with a remarkable diversity of other amphibians and reptiles.
21 bat species are recorded. Sea turtles nest on the beaches of the park and the humpback whales visit the coast, where it is also important diversity of fish, particularly those associated with coral reefs.
In the Isla de la Plata find a wide variety of related to coastal and marine ecosystem, for example, animal species several species of booby, including the gannet called blue-footed boobies, red-footed Alcatraz, and the Nazca booby. Another species found here is the South American sea lion. Dolphins, tropical spotted dolphin as can be found in the waters near the island.