With such biodiversity, Esmeraldas is becoming a true nature destination. Discover its wonders!
Nature, boundless nature
From beautiful palm trees to mango trees filled with precious fruit, the province of Esmeraldas is an evergreen and tropical land where everything grows, where beautiful birds flutter everywhere and where you may even find yourself with the one-and-only howler monkey!
The mangroves are perhaps the most emblematic natural emblems of the province. Esmeraldas is also home to the world’s highest mangrove, the Majagual, a fascinating two-hour visit from Green 9.
The tropical dry forests are home to amazing hardwood trees, including the stoic guayacanes, while the humid forests, typical of the Chocó region, cover immense tracts of land, a true green mantle crucial to the balance of our planet’s climate. You can venture inside these forests during river visits and be absorbed by their magnificence. Playa de Oro, on the Santiago River, is a place coveted by birders from all over the world, for its forests full of difficult-to-find species.
Palms and palm groves
There is a great diversity of native palms, whose leaves are used to make different arts and crafts, as in the case of the chachi and epera cultures that commercialize their locally sourced and handmade products. You can visit them along the Cayapas River from Borbón (2-and-a-half hour care ride from Green 9, and then another hour by boat to the communities). Tagua is a seed that comes from another species of palm tree. It is known as vegetable ivory, and was once exported from these forests to make buttons in Europe. Of course, there is also the ubiquitous coconut tree: emblematic and sculptural, they line the coast with their leafy fronds and provide the fruit that fills food in Esmeraldas with all its flavor.
In July and August, the colossal Humpback Whales cross the entire great Pacific Ocean from Oceania to breed in the warm waters of the Ecuadorian coast. This is the ideal time and place to see them breach in all their splendor.
Esmeraldas is one of the richest provinces in terms of bird diversity, with eight Important Bird Areas (IBAS), where unique marine and tropical forest species are found. Different habitats, such as mangrove habitats, tropical dry forests, tropical rainforests and beaches are a great attraction for birders from around the globe.
Howler monkeys and other mammals
There are several places to visit where howler monkeys have been recorded, and can even be considered common. Other iconic mammals include anteaters, peccaries and wild cats such as ocelots or the sacred jaguar, a furtive creature that prowls the forest floor.