In Tumbes there is the only representative sample of the mangrove forests of Peru.
Like vast aquatic forests, mangroves flow in harmony between the salty waters of the sea and the fresh waters of the river.
50 minutes from the city of Tumbes, we arrive at the Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary, a Protected Natural Area where we can see five species of mangroves (red, red, white, black and pineapple). This characteristic endows it with a rich biodiversity, making it a suitable place to practice ecotourism, in particular bird photography, it is also surprising to appreciate the extraction of black shells and red crabs from the mangrove swamp. Location: Province of Zarumilla.
The biodiversity is impressive, with hundreds of birds, plants, fish, crustaceans and mollusks. Sailing through mangroves is something magical, and in Peru, it is possible…
Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary
The Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary is a natural area protected by the Peruvian State that houses the largest extension of mangroves in the country. Located in the province of Zarumilla, in Tumbes, the Sanctuary guards the majestic mangrove forest of 2,972 hectares and protects a great biological diversity, in addition to encouraging recreation and increasing tourist flows in the surrounding places.
In 2016, UNESCO included the Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary as a Core Zone of the Amotapes-Manglares Northwest Biosphere Reserve, which protects a great variety of ecosystems and species.
The mangroves, made up of islets and muddy channels, are a refuge for various species, among which are: birds, fish, crustaceans, mollusks. In addition, it is home to the Mangrove, a type of twisted tree that grows between the sea and rivers in the tropics, its branches and hanging roots are up to 4 meters long and can reach up to 15 meters in height.
In this sanctuary we can find foods that are used by the inhabitants such as: mangrove crab, prawns and black shells. To travel it it is necessary to do it in canoes or kayak and it is advisable to stay two days to appreciate the mangroves in their two states (high and low tide).
It is located on the coast of the north coast of Peru in the province of Zarumilla, in the Tumbes region.
This fantastic mangrove forest currently has 2,972 hectares, but in the past this forest covered about 28 thousand hectares, being significantly reduced due to the clearing of forests in order to establish shrimp farms.
It has a Subtropical climate, with temperatures between 18 ° C and 30 ° C. The rainy season is from January to March, with the ideal visiting season from April to December.
Average monthly temperatures range from 18 ° C in winter to 30 ° C in summer. The influence of the Peruvian or «Humboldt» currents and that of «El Niño», together with the South Pacific Anticyclone, cause irregular periods of drought (100 to 300 mm per year) and rainy (2,700 to 3,800 mm per year). Although the visit is possible all year round, the rainy 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 stay two days in it.
Flora and fauna
The mangrove community in Tumbes is typified by four types of mangroves: the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), the salty mangrove (Avicennia germinans), the white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), and the button mangrove (Conocarpus erectus). So there are also 40 other botanical varieties.
These mangroves are the appropriate, and in many cases unique, habitat for a wide range of species. We found about 148 species of birds, of which 19 are endemic to Tumbes, among them the mangrove huaco (Nyctanassa violaceus), the mangrove hen (Aramides axillaris), the mangrove chiroca (Dendroica petechia) and the white ibis (Eudocimus albus).
Several species of mammals have been identified, standing out the shell dog (Procyon cancrivorus), also known as the bear or crab-eating raccoon and which is very difficult to see, the northwestern otter (Lontra longicaudis) and the mangrove bear (Cyclopes didactylus).
Likewise, the Sanctuary is home to about 105 species of fish, and another 40 visit it. 33 gastropods (snails), 34 crustaceans (prawns, crabs), 24 species of bivalves (shell mollusks) and 9 species of reptiles have been reported.
It is also important to mention the American or Tumbes crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), a species that is in danger of extinction.
Activities in the Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary
The area of ??tourist and recreational use of the sanctuary is comprised of the Zarumilla estuary, at the height of the Camarones estuary, continuing through 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 shores of the mangrove and tour the canals in canoes and / or kayak, 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, there is the Interpretation Center, whose visit is mandatory.
In the buffer zone there is also a 60-meter-long pedestrian tourist path called «El Oscuro» that is implemented in the heart of the mangrove with material from the region, as well as two circuits for visits in small boats:
A) Port 25 – Zarumilla channel – El Toro pool – Zarumilla channel – Paracas channel – Port 25.
B) Port 25 – Paracas channel – Zarumilla channel – Capones point – Zarumilla channel – Paracas channel – Port 25.
You can also visit Puerto Pizarro, located 15 km from Tumbes, which is the only artisanal fishing port within the mangrove forest in the country. It also houses the Tumbes crocodile farm.
How to get?
The Manglares de Tumbes National Sanctuary is 22 kilometers northeast of the city of Tumbes. You must leave the city and continue on 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 ??mangroves that is open to tourism. There are two entrances, for the Puerto 25 sector and for 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.
- It is necessary to acquire the services of an authorized travel agency, a hostel or contact directly with the organized groups to know the Sanctuary.
- Apply sunscreen every 02 hours at least.
- Get a good night’s sleep the day before, as the tour starts very early.
- Hydrate yourself, take small sips of water on the way, the water contains oxygen that will help you on the ascent.
- Bring sandwiches, whether they are nuts or energy bars that will help give you strength when touring this reserve.
- Sell ??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 be not small, remember, size does matter.
We can visit this beautiful place and take advantage of the time doing this tour through the Amazon or take the different tours within the country such as: the tour to rainbow mountain peru, the humantay lake tour from cusco, which only takes one day. But if you are gonna to stay more days in Cusco, other archaeological places you can know will be the choquequirao trek peru, the salkantay trek to machu picchu, and the classic inca trail 4 days 3 nights, etc. We could say that the mythical country of Peru conserves ostentatious the greatness of the children of the sun, keeping unimaginable secrets, touring the country and learning about the different cultures, ways of living of the inhabitants and of course the wonderful landscapes will be a trip full of adventure and personal satisfaction.