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You are here:6.4.3 Puerto Bolívar and Jambelí Mangroves

6.4.3 Puerto Bolívar and Jambelí Mangroves

Puerto Bolívar and Jambelí Island are easily accessible from Machala city.  Puerto Bolívar is the shipping and fishing port out of the populous city of Machala.  Jambelí Island is a very short boat ride from the port at Puerto Bolívar.  Both sites are located on the west side of Machala, which is the capital city of El Oro Province.  These two sites have been extensively developed for the shrimp farming industry, and what use to be a vast mangrove forest is now restricted to a small but still productive remnant.



Mangrove Forest.



Puerto Bolívar and Jambelí Mangroves

No special arrangements are needed to visit these sites.  Jambelí should be avoided during national holidays and vacation periods as it will be overcrowded and noisy.  The mangrove forest is infested with mosquitoes.  There are plenty buses between the cities of Guayaquil and Machala.  Once in Machala you can take a taxi or the urban bus to Puerto Bolívar.  From the pier, a short distance north of the main waterfront, there is an hourly boat service to Jambelí. Here you can also hire a boat to explore the mangroves near Puerto Bolívar.   Once you get to Jambelí you can explore the island on foot.  There is simple accommodation in Jambelí and there are several restaurants serving good sea food.  If you are planning not to stay in Jambelí, make sure to know the time table for the boats returning to mainland.



Puerto Bolívar and Jambelí Mangroves

If you are continuing from your visit to Manglares-Churute Ecological Reserve on your way to other southern sites please see the birding instructions on that respective subchapter on how to get there.

We will begin at the roundabout east of Machala near “El Cambio”.   Here highway E25 goes in three directions.  The road west goes to Machala, the road north goes to Guayaquil, and the road heading east goes to Pasaje and Santa Rosa at point 0.0 km.

(Click here to download Map. Puerto Bolivar and Jambelí Mangoves) 

Drive west to Machala for 4.2 km.  At this point you will find a driving circle with the statue of a banana farmer in the middle.  Stay on the main road named Vencedores de Paquisha Ave. straight ahead for another 1.3 km, or 5.5 km from “El Cambio”.  Here you arrive to the Las Brisas roundabout.  Drive into the roundabout and avoid the second exit which is the continuation of Ave. Vencedores de Paquisha that takes you downtown.  Take the third exit turning right around the gas station and continue along the Ariza Avenue. 

Drive for 4.7 km along Ariza Ave., or 10.2 km from “El Cambio”.  At this point you will get to a yet another roundabout with a statue of Bolívar Madero Vargas.  Drive into the roundabout and turn left on the Bolívar Madero Vargas Ave.  Reset your odometer to 0.0 km and drive along the Bolívar Madero Vargas Ave. for 2.0 km.  At this point turn right exiting the highway and drive for only 0.5 km to an area where you can see the mangrove forest on your left.  These mangrove forest and shrimp ponds are worth exploring if you do not have the time to go to Jambelí or hire a boat to explore the mangrove remnants.

Returning to Bolívar Madero Vargas Ave., Puerto Bolívar will be only 2.5 km further west along the highway.  Here you can either hire a boat to explore the mangrove forest with channels and mudflats.  Should you go to Jambelí, look for birds along the “Estero de Jambelí” which will have mangrove forest along the edge.  Once in Jambelí you can rent a canoe and paddle along the mangrove swamps.  The shrimp ponds in the island can be investigated on foot.  You can also go by foot to the northern end of the island known as Punta Jambelí where the sea-watching might be productive.

In the various mudflats and mangrove forest remnants look especially for Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Rufous-necked Wood-Rail and Mangrove Warbler.

Peruvian Terns are numerous during Jul-Aug. Roger Ahlman has reported Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel, from the boat going over to Jambelí.


Birds to look for

Puerto Bolívar and Jambelí Mangroves.

Mangrove Forest (MF), Mudflats (Mu).

Common: Peruvian   Tern,Magnificent Frigatebird (MF), Brown Pelican (MF), Gray-hooded Gull, Sandwich   Tern, Mangrove Warbler (MF), Great-tailed Grackle (MF).

Uncommon: Cocoi   Heron (MF,Mu), Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (MF,Mu), Little Blue Heron (MF,Mu), White Ibis (MF,Mu), Rufous-necked Wood-Rail (MF,Mu), Gull-billed Tern, Parrot-billed   Seedeater (MF).

Rare: Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel, Roseate Spoonbill (MF,Mu).

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Meet the Author

Lelis Navarrete – Birding tour leader. Lelis has 19 years of experience as a birding guide and naturalist in the field. He has led groups of birders throughout most of Latin America, guiding frequently in countries like his native country of Ecuador and in the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Panama. A Biology B.Sc. graduate from Universidad Católica in Quito, Lelis has supported Jocotoco Foundation since its founding in 1998 and was an active Board Member until 2010 supporting Ecuadorian bird and wildlife conservation. Lelis divides his time between his two great passions in life: birding and spending time with his wife Solange and son Fabian with whom he lives in Quito.


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