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Ecuadorian Turtle Conservation

Coastal Ecuador

Ecuadorian Turtle Conservation
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The Location

  • Getting There

Fly into Quito. O2E will organise a compulsory orientation on Ecuador and the project. We will arrange your transport from the airport to your accommodation if required.

The bus trip from Quito to the coast is 10-12 hour, usually overnight.

  • The Location

Ecuador, officially named the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. Right through the centre of the country running north to south is the Andean mountain range with the country's highest peak Chimborazo reaching 6310m. The capital is Quito located at 2800m in the Andes and the largest city is Guayaquil near the Pacific with 2.5 million inhabitants.

Ecuador 's culture is very diverse and reaches far back into human history with the first cultures emerging on the coast some 6000 years ago. Today's society is a vibrant mixture of those first indigenous people and later European influences following the Spanish conquest with some African values thrown into the mix.

The country boasts one of the most fantastic arrays of landscapes, habitats and species on the planet. Hidden treasures lie off the Ecuador coast in the form of a dazzling diversity of marine life on the eastern shores of the Pacific Ocean. A remarkable numbers of species have been recorded, including five species of sea turtles, twenty kinds of whale and dolphin, hammerhead and whale sharks, manta rays and countless species of fish, corals and molluscs.

The project is located in a small fishing village set in a bay on the coast of Ecuador. It is a prime turtle nesting location and quite possibly the most important area on the entire coast of Ecuador for turtle conservation. The beach is the focus of local life with fishermen mending their nets, courting couples, dolphins swimming in the bay, unaccompanied cows wandering along the shore and kids running down to play in the breakers at sunset. The beachside tree lined promenade is bustling with restaurants, cabanas and nightclubs. The climate is tropical and the average temperature is 26 degrees Celsius.

The area is renowned for its coral reef and ecotourism activities and an ideal place from which to explore Machalilla National Park, an area classified as an ecological reserve and of archaeological importance. Machalilla National Park encompasses 55,000 hectares of land and two offshore islands, Isla de la Plata and Isla Salango. It constitutes the last remnants of dry tropical forest in Ecuador and is home to a rich variety of birdlife as well as some reptiles and mammals. Its fascination lies in the combination of desert, low-lying areas, beaches, bays and cliffs providing beautiful landscapes and endless photo opportunities.

There are two official languages spoken in Ecuador. The most common one is Spanish introduced by the Spanish invaders some 480 years ago. The other one, Quechua was also a foreign tongue brought by the earlier invaders, the Incas. Quechua is mostly spoken by rural indigenous people in remote regions of the Andes and Amazon. There are also several other languages spoken by various Amazon tribes.

  • Free Time and Travel Opportunities

You can easily walk anywhere in town. That said, there's an abundance of motorcycle-powered "ecotaxis" that will take you anywhere in town for $1.50.

There are plenty of travel opportunities along a coast of long deserted beaches, mangroves and coastal lowlands. It is also the country's agricultural centre with large plantations, especially bananas, dominating the inland plains.

Transport along all this part of the coast is easy because there is only one road. Buses run either North or South, appear about every 30 minutes and you can flag one down or get off at any point you choose.

Visit the stunning and protected beaches of Los Frailes. Reputed to be the most beautiful beach in Ecuador and the star of countless posters, Los Frailes is 30 minutes away by bus.

Visit the nearby Santa Elena Peninsula and Santa Clara Island provides the largest refuge for maritime birds in Ecuador and the tallest mangroves in the world are located along the Spondylus route, in the forest of Majagual in the Cayapas-Mataje Ecological Reserve in the province of Esmeraldas.

A day trip to Agua Blanca is a must! A small village inside the National Park is home to an excellent archaeological museum containing local ceramics, jewellery and domestic objects attributed to the Mantena civilisation dating from 500 BC to 1500 AD.

Isla de La Plata is a top spot for whale-watching as it is one of the primary sites in Ecuador for humpback whales.

For longer trips, take a bus to Guayaquil, Quito or take a guided nature trip deep into the virgin heart of the Amazon. Visit the mountainous region of the Andes where you find active volcanoes and crater lakes or for the more active traveller, you may try rafting, kayaking, trekking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, white water rafting or bird watching.

If you have time, a trip to the Galapagos Islands is sure to be memorable.