It is a private conservation area with dry carob tree forests up to 8 meters high in the middle of golden dunes. This forest is home to three lagoons that provide the perfect setting for wildlife: 62 species of birds such as the thick-billed grebe, the cuca heron, the red duck and the kingfisher, among others.
The Cañoncillo is located in the district of San Pedro de Lloc, on the left bank of the Jequetepeque River.
Thanks to the presence of its desert and its beautiful dunes, it is ideal for practicing sandboarding. Camping activities can also be carried out, however, it must be the same visitors who carry all the necessary instruments for said activity, since in the same attraction there are no establishments that provide them. In the case of food and drinks, they can be purchased in the Tecapa village or in the San José district.
The Cañoncillo Forest, northeast of the district of San Pedro de Lloc, province of Pacasmayo, in the La Libertad region, is a beautiful spot where you have the opportunity to practice adventure sports while enjoying nature. Some of the activities that you can do in this destination are sandboarding, climbing and motocross. Arriving from the city of Trujillo will take around two hours.
Surrounded by incredible dunes, this place surprises visitors with its dry carob forests up to 8 meters high. There are more than 1,300 hectares that combine wildlife, archaeological zones and adventure tourism.
There are three lagoons that you will be able to appreciate: Gallinazo, Larga and Cañoncillo. The El Cañoncillo Forest is home to 62 species of birds such as the thick-billed grebe, the cuca heron and the red duck.
The journey in your own car from the city of Trujillo can take an average of two hours. You must go to San Pedro de Lloc and then take the route San José – Tecapa – Cañoncillo. If you decide to take public transportation, in Trujillo you can take the buses of Empresas Línea (Av. América Sur 2855) or Emtrafesa (Av. Túpac Amaru 185) to Pacasmayo.
Already in Pacasmayo, in the terminal you must locate the buses that go to Chepén, all of them pass through the San José – Tecapa crossing whereabouts. You get off at this point, and take a moto-taxi to the forest. The cost of the journey in tickets is S/20.
You can visit this tourist attraction from Thursday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Until 4pm. The entrance has a cost of S/2.
From taking pictures to camping, this forest is perfect for all kinds of travel experiences. Other activities that cannot be missing from your itinerary are climbing, trekking, sandboarding (boards are rented for S/10), motocross and quad biking. They offer the guide service from S/25.
In your travel backpack you cannot miss a sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses, cap or hat. It is recommended to go with sports and comfortable clothing. Other essentials are a bottle of water and snacks for the road.
The El Cañoncillo Natural Forest Private Conservation Area (ACP El Cañoncillo) is home to ancient carob trees that have remained standing in the face of the various threats that threaten this ecosystem. Valera explains that the forest is under pressure from the locals who need it to survive.
The secretary of the CAU Tecapa lists the main enemies of the protected area. He first mentions the illegal loggers who extract firewood from the carob tree to cook their food, but above all to meet the demand of local businesses. He then talks about the goat farmers who feed their animals with carob sprouts and other plants, which does not allow the forest to regenerate. And finally, he includes beekeepers or beekeepers among the threats. Although he assures that they should not represent a risk, since they only put their hives in the trees, he explains that when extracting the honey they light a fire to scare away the bees and, many times, forget to put it out, which causes forest fires.
Reynaldo Linares is a founding member of Dryflor, a network that brings together researchers and specialists with the aim of promoting the conservation of dry forests in Latin America. For Linares, the problems facing the El Cañoncillo forest are similar to those of most dry forests in Peru.
The specialist explains that the underlying problem is associated with what he calls "blindness towards biomes". He explains that “if you ask people what types of forests they know about, the answer in many parts of the world will almost always be the Amazon forests.”
Dry forests, according to Linares, do not receive the same attention as the Amazon, despite being equally or more threatened. And this is confirmed by a worrying figure: "In Peru, 95% of the area that was historically covered by this type of forest has disappeared." This loss, he explains, is associated with the overexploitation of its resources.
The researcher mentions that dry forests are among the least protected ecosystems in the country. “Almost a fifth of the Peruvian territory is conserved within protected natural areas. However, if we go into detail about which ecosystems are being protected, approximately 80% are Amazon forests.”
The biologist Luis Pollack has carried out several investigations within the ACP El Cañoncillo, specifically related to birds and the canyon, an emblematic reptile in the area.
Pollack comments that over the years he has noticed that "bird populations have declined." The researcher explains that this fall is associated with the fact that some illegal loggers make unbearable noise with their chainsaws, which ends up scaring away the birds; also because within the forest there were three lagoons and today one of them has dried up almost completely. “This has affected waterfowl species, such as the osprey. Before we always saw it, lately we have only registered three individuals”.
In the case of the reeds, although several specimens can still be seen, the quantity is not the same as before, according to Pollack. "There are fewer canyons and each time they are smaller." According to the biologist, this may be associated with the fact that carob pods are part of the reptile's diet, and its food source has decreased. On the other hand, local people usually hunt this animal and use it to prepare ceviche and other dishes. Pollack says that "in 2018 the regional government published an ordinance that prohibits canyon hunting and promotes the protection of the forest." However, the locals continue to consume it as it is a traditional practice.
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