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Puyango Petrified Forest is worldwide known as the site of marine fossils and petrified wood.



photo: nicolás van hemelryck / www.nicolasvanh.com

The reserve contains a landscape with high biodiversity values, imposing mountains and rich cultural environment of the province of Loja. It is an attractive place, comparable for its beauty, with the Galapagos Islands and the eastern part of Ecuador.


Puyango Forest is located in the southern Ecuador, on the border between the provinces of El Oro and Loja. The area that corresponds to Loja occupies the Southwest of   Puyango-Alamor canton and the side of El Oro province, is part of the Canton Las Lajas, Arenillas. The area is located between 360 and 500 meters with an average temperature of 22.5 º C and has an area of 2658 hectares of tropical dry forest.


The Forest was declared as "Protective Forests and Protective Vegetation" by Ministerial Agreement No. 002 on January 9, 1987. In 1989 the Forest was declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation. Since that time, the care and maintenance was given to the Central Bank of Ecuador.


Loja cultural wealth consists of petroglyphs, rock formations with art sections. Here highlights the archaeological site of Quisollara and Yamana. Moreover, in this region prevails the Incas fortress, better known as Pucaraes. These Inca stone constructions, in the form of concentric rings, show a high degree of cultural development of Paltas communities, who inhabited the present territory of Loja.


"What now is Puyango, was once a sea, the oldest fossils are marine organisms, organisms that after hundreds of years due to major natural disasters were buried underground. The sea dried up, populated with forests and animals. Finally, for geological movements, characteristic of the crust, these remains came to the surface again to form a valuable sample of the remote past of the planet. The most recent fossils are 60 million years, the older get almost 500 million years”.


"Puyango was formed under coastal marine seaboard and terrestrial conditions. It was formed in a sedimentation basin relatively narrow. The basin is limited at the east by the Cordillera de los Andes, volcanically active, and at the west by the volcanic archipelago known as the Cordillera Amotepe. " Pre-Columbian cultures used the name Puyango to refer to the Dead Dry River.


In the area are two basset levels, according to paleontological studies. The first level, called Bosque de Piedra, Stone Forest, is located at the bottom and is one of the most populated areas of trees specimens. The other outcrop level corresponds to the top of the gorge Chirimoyo.


There you can see petrified trunks trees which represent one of the largest collections of petrified wood in the world. Also, in the Forest are marine invertebrates, mostly mollusks.


how to get there

Get to the Petrified Forest Puyango is simple, you  should leave from the city of Loja and take a bus to the town of Puyango.


The entrance to the Forest Reserve is $ 1 USD but if you want to camp the cost rises.

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