Mache-Chindul ECOLOGICAL RESERVE - 1/2
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Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve, located at the southwest of the province of Esmeraldas and the north of Manabi, on the Pacific coast of Ecuador. It was created on August 9, 1996



photo: nicolás van hemelryck /

Mache Chindul has an area of 119,172 hectares, an altitude ranging between 100 and 600 meters and a middling temperature of 23 Celsius degrees that decreases while the tropical rainforest appears.


Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve, located at the southwestern of Esmeraldas province and at the north of Manabi, on the Pacific coast of Ecuador, was created by order of August 9, 1996. Has an area of ​​119,172 hectares, an altitude ranging between 100 and 600 meters and an average temperature of 23 Celsius degrees as the tropical rainforest appears.


In the current territories that make up the reserve, there are remnants of cultures that inhabited the north of the province of Manabi in the seventeenth century, some were: community-Coaque Chachi and Jama. Archaeological remains are kept especially in the area of "Boca del Rio Tigua", where currently they practice huaquerismo (activity for illegal trafficking of cultural objects).


Today there are ethnic groups of the Chachi, ethnias located in the communities San Salvador, Balzar and Chorrera Grande. Afro-esmeraldeños also live in San Jose de Chamanga. On the other hand, before being declared a reserve, the territory Mache-Chindul was part of the Government of Esmeraldas.


 The reserve covers the upper basin of river Bilsa, at the east of San José de Bilsa. It also includes Bilsa Biological Station located in an area of 3,000 hectares protected by the Fundación Jatun Sacha. A curious phenomenon makes this area an important natural attraction at the Ecuadorian coast: although the reserve is not in the Andean region, it is the home of species that exist in the forests at the upper parts of the Sierra. Native species of Chocó also live in.


Around the vast extension of tropical rainforests and land, is located a land considered appropriate for growing sugar cane and for grass planting, due to the presence of cattle. The morphology and composition of the soil in the lower parts of the reserve is similar to those in the Chocó, it means, both regions are located in tropical forest regions with similar characteristics.


The top of the region is dominated by a humid forest and is covered with sea fog. Therefore, the upper region stands out for its characteristics of cloud forest. There is no significant presence of trees; the few ones are dispersed by the wind.


Annually, the Center for Plant Conservation of Western Forests produces about 100,000 trees to be used in reforestation programs inside and outside the reserve.


how to get there

The best season to visit the Reserve Mache-Chindul is between July and December due to the rains in the rest of the months.


Due to variable weather, we recommend you to contact with the regional unit of the Ministry of Environment in Esmeraldas before to visit the Reserve.


For your convenience, we recommend you to contact your preferred travel agency or tour operator. The different entries to the Ecological Reserve Mache-Chindul are of difficult access. It all depends on the weather condition, because the rain can make it impossible to enter.


The access to the Reserve is possible from several villages in Esmeraldas like: Atacames, Esmeraldas, Muisne and Pedernales, but all are unpredictable due to weather.


The main access route is a road that goes from Santo Domingo-Esmeraldas to the population of Rosa Zarate, canton Quinindé. From this point you must cross the populations Herrera and “La Y de la Laguna”, then to “El Estero del plátano” to reach the headwaters of Taguales River, eastern boundary of the Reserve which leads to the Cube Lagoon.

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