Province: El Oro
Nearby town: Piñas
Year of creation: 1999
Area: 2,800 hectares
Temperature: 14 - 26 ºC
Ecosystem: Tropical Rainforest
Altitudinal range: 400 - 1450 m
Fauna and Flora: El Oro Parakeet, Long-wattled Umbrellabird, El Oro Tapaculo, Western White Capuchin Monkey, Western Two-Toed Sloth, Spotted Tigrillo, Coati.
The Buenaventura Reserve was created to protect the home range of the El Oro Parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi), which was discovered in 1980 by Robert Ridgely. In the 1990s, the forest cover of this area was reduced and substantially devastated, due to the creation of extensive pastures. The reserve protects one of the most extensive patches of piedmont cloud forest in the western foothills of the Andes in southwestern Ecuador.
In this area elements of dry Tumbesian forests from southern Ecuador and northwestern Peru are combined with species from the humid forests of Chocó in the northwestern Ecuador. This is one of the most devastated regions worldwide, since it is estimated that only 5-10% of the original forest cover remains standing.
From Machala: The reserve is about an hour and a half by car. To visit Buenaventura you must take the road that leads to Piñas. Passing the city of Saracay, you will find a sign for Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco and the Selva Alegre Spa, take the left-side road, and continue for approximately 5 kilometers until you reach the entrance to the reserve.
From Piñas: Take the road that leads to Saracay and Machala. At approximately 15 minutes from the city of Piñas, you can see a chapel on the right side of the road. Continue for approximately 5 kilometers until you see a sign for Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco and Selva Alegre Spa, take the right-side road, and continue for approximately 5 kilometers until you reach the entrance to the reserve.
Time to use the trails: 07h00 to 15h30.
NOTE: The animals in the reserves must be fed ONLY by the persons in charge.
The climate of the reserve depends on the humidity that comes from the Pacific Ocean. The air cools as it ascends towards the mountains, in the lower part of the reserve it is sunnier, drier and with a more "Tumbesian" aspect. In this area there are small populations of the endangered Gray-cheeked Parakeet (Brotogeris pyrrhoptera) and the Pacific Royal Flycatcher (Onychorhynchus occidentalis). There is also a lek of the Long-wattled Umbrellabird and half a dozen Gray-backed Hawks (Chordeiles acutipennis).
The reserve has a register of more than 330 species of birds, out of which 15 are globally endangered and 34 are local endemics. In addition, the upper part of the reserve is ideal habitat for the El Oro Parakeet (Pyrrhura orcesi) and the Ecuadorian Tapaculo (Cytalopus robbins) that was discovered in 1985, and whose population comprises not more than a few dozen pairs. This small bird has not been found in any other location in the world.
In 2010 a project for the reintroduction of the White Capuchin Monkey of the West began. This monkey species was highly threatened in Ecuador until its extinction in the 90s. Likewise, there are at least three troops of the Black Howler Monkey living in the reserve.
In the lower parts of the reserve scientists have recorded bright colored poisonous frogs in the small streams, as well as one new species of lizard and several Morpho butterflies.
The flora of Buenaventura includes several endemic and threatened species. The trees of the Cloud Forest offer an ideal habitat for epiphytes, orchids, heliconias and giant trees. These big trees are responsible for the humidity and richness of the area. They have been regenerating, since a large part of the reserve was covered by pastures for cattle.
The Umbrelabird Lodge is located in the lower part of the Buenaventura Reserve. There it is possible to observe the incredible flora and fauna of the reserve, including about 300 species of birds, many of them endemic.
Services at the Lodge
- Dining area (you can see the hummingbird drinking troughs and feeders of toucans and tanagers).
- 7 rooms with private bathrooms distributed in 3 rustic and cozy cabins.
Outside the Lodge
- 2 trails of medium difficulty
- 6 km Scenic route of low difficulty
- Jardín de Colibrìes in the upper part of the reserve
- Lek (place of courtship) of the Bull Bird (Umbrellabird)
- House of researchers "Sambo Tambo"
- Observation of nest boxes of El Periquito de El Oro, in the upper part of the reserve