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Mangroves of Tumbes: Magical aquatic forests

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Mangroves of Tumbes: Magical aquatic forests

Welcome to the kingdom of the tides. An aquatic world governed by large trees that sink their intricate branches into the mud, to create a unique ecosystem in Peru that lives halfway between the river and the sea. The Mangroves of Tumbes are a paradise for bird watchers and adventure lovers. Navigating its canals is an unforgettable experience full of adventure that will allow you to discover one of the most beautiful environments on the planet.


The mangroves, made up of islets and muddy channels, are a refuge for various species, including: birds, fish, crustaceans, molluscs. In addition, it is the home of the Mangrove, a type of twisted tree that grows between the sea and the rivers of tropical areas, its hanging branches and roots measure up to 4 meters long and can reach approximately 15 meters in height.


In this sanctuary we can find foods that are used by the inhabitants such as: the mangrove crab, the prawns and the black shells. To visit it, it is necessary to do it in canoes or kayak and it is recommended to stay two days to appreciate the mangroves in their two states (high and low tide).


The mangroves of Tumbes, a unique ecosystem in the world

What is a mangrove? It is said like this to a very special type of tropical biome made of mangroves (aquatic plants), which is found at the mouth of certain rivers under very specific conditions.


Tumbes houses this type of ecosystem, unique in importance and beauty, in the Mangrove Sanctuary.


The Mangroves of Tumbes National Sanctuary is located in the province and district of Zarumilla. It was created in 1988 with the aim of protecting the mangrove forests found on the Tumbesian coast, as well as the animal species that inhabit it. It has an extension of almost 3,000 hectares.


The mangroves that make up the main element of the landscape are curved trees with curly roots, which can survive with the mixture of fresh and salt water characteristic of the mangrove. These mangroves form dense semi-aquatic forests, water channels and small islands that house a precious and delicate ecosystem.


Among the flora found in the mangroves of Tumbes are the four types of mangrove (salty, button, red and white) and more than 40 botanical varieties. There are also more than 150 species of birds, such as the frigatebird, the huaco manglero and the white ibis, apart from other migratory birds. Mammals are represented by the crab-eating bear, the mangrove bear, and the northwestern otter.


The beauty of the mangroves and the species that inhabit them is one of the patrimonies of Tumbes, and has greatly encouraged tourist activity. In addition, the conservation of fish and crustaceans in the area favors the economic subsistence of the fishermen of Tumbes. Among these species are the mangrove crab, black shells and prawns.


Mangroves and Islands of Puerto Pizarro.

The adventure begins 15 minutes from Tumbes, in the cove of Puerto Pizarro, from where the boats depart that travel through this incredible ecosystem made up of islets of mangrove roots that mix like spider webs on the surface of the water, sandbanks and estuaries that They can reach up to 2.5 meters in height. Be sure to visit the islands: Isla del Amor, Isla Hueso de Ballena, Isla de los Pajaros and the Crocodile Farm. Location: Tumbes Province.


Mangroves of Tumbes National Sanctuary

The Mangroves of Tumbes National Sanctuary is located on the border coast with Ecuador, a unique place where the largest extension of mangroves in the country is found. That is why the value of this ecosystem is not only due to its biological diversity, but also to the fact that many human populations obtain direct benefits through the extraction, commercialization and consumption of the hydrobiological products they obtain.


The Sanctuary guards the majestic mangrove forest and protects a high biological diversity, in addition to encouraging recreation and increasing tourist flows in nearby places. The mangrove is a type of tropical ecosystem that takes its name from the mangrove, a tree adapted physiologically and anatomically to waters with high salinity and that grows only in places alternately flooded by the sea and the mouth of some freshwater source. In Tumbes it is found from the delta that forms the mouth of the Tumbes River to Punta Capones, on the border with Ecuador.



Protect the mangrove forest, which is home to a great diversity of economically important aquatic invertebrates. Protect endangered species of fauna such as the American crocodile.



On March 2, 1988, through Supreme Decree No. 018-88-AG.



On the coast of the northwest coast of Peru, in the province and district of Zarumilla in the department of Tumbes.



2,972.00 hectares.


Flora and fauna

About 148 species of birds live in the sanctuary, of which 19 species are endemic to Tumbes, including the mangrove huaco (Nyctanassa violaceus), the mangrove hen (Aramides axillaris), the mangrove chiroca (Dendroica petechia) and the ibis. white (Eudocimus albus). 37 species of birds live in the shrubby area and 43 birds are reported in the mangrove area. Likewise, 26 species are migratory from North America.


Ten species of mammals have been identified, including the shell dog (Procyon cancrivorus), the northwestern otter (Lontra longicaudis) and the mangrove bear (Cyclopes didactylus).


About 105 species of fish also inhabit it, and another 40 visit it. 33 gastropods (snails), 34 crustaceans (prawns, crabs), 24 species of bivalves (shelled molluscs) and 9 species of reptiles have been reported. The American or Tumbes crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) deserves special mention, whose current absence from the protected area confirms it as one of the most threatened species.


As for the flora, the predominant species is the mangrove. Five types can be distinguished: the red (Rhizophora mangle), the red (Rhizophora harrisonii), the salty (Avicennia germinans) and the white (Laguncularia racemosa), and finally the pineapple (Conocarpus erectus), which is more associated with the equatorial dry forest. , which is located in the central parts of some islands and in areas near the mangrove swamp. You can also witness bushy thickets and grasslands.



Average monthly temperatures range between 18°C ​​in winter and 30°C in summer. The sanctuary has a subtropical climate. The influence of the Peruvian or "Humboldt" and "El Niño" currents, together with the South Pacific Anticyclone, cause irregular periods of drought (100 to 300 mm per year) and rainy periods (2700 to 3800 mm per year). Although the visit is possible all year round, the rainless season from April to November is ideal. And if you want to see the mangrove in its two states, high and low tide, it is recommended to spend two days in it.


Tourist activities

The area for tourist and recreational use of the sanctuary is comprised of the Zarumilla estuary, at the height of the Camarones estuary, following the Matapalo estuary to the La Envidia estuary, at the height of the El Palmal sector. It has a total area of ​​137.5 ha (4.61% of the area) and in it you can visit the banks of the mangrove swamp and traverse the canals in canoes and/or kayaks, observe birds and appreciate the extractive activities of hydrobiological resources (tourism experiential).

At the "El Algarrobo" checkpoint, located in the buffer zone of the protected area, is the Interpretation Center, whose visit is mandatory.


How to get?

The Mangroves of TumbesSanctuary is 22 kilometers northeast of the city of Tumbes. You must leave the city and follow the road to Zarumilla. From there you can take two routes to enter. It is extremely easy.


How to enter?

There is a specific area of ​​the mangroves that is open to tourism. There are two entrances, through the Puerto 25 sector and through El Algarrobo. The entrance to the tourist sector costs around 10 soles. The cost of the boat ride is separate, and can range between 50 or 60 soles.


What to do?

The boat ride through the mangroves is a must do activity to enjoy the scenery of the mangrove forest. Bird watchers will delight in the diversity of species in the Sanctuary. At the checkpoints you can taste delicious marine dishes, such as the black shell ceviche characteristic of the region.


To see it better

The best time to go to the mangroves is in the morning, because the rest of the time the area is covered with water. The shell season is between January and March, when it is worth just going to take photos, in a multi-colored party of bright orange crabs that come out to mate. The other ideal time to go is from August to September when the crabs change their shells.


Veda and size … size matters

When you visit Tumbes, remember that from January to March is the ban on black shells, that is, for nothing in the world do you consume them because you would be contributing to their disappearance. Similarly, at other times of the year, demand that they are not small, remember, size does matter.


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