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Santay Island National Recreational Area

Access: the visitor can access the Island by foot, by bicycle or by the river. The access for pedestrians and bicycles is through a bridge located in Guayaquil, in El Oro Street, next to the river.

The tourists can take boats that are anchored in the docks of the Yacht Club of Guayaquil to access the Island by the river, which is located diagonal to the Municipal Palace (Palmeras de Santay Cooperative).

History: it has an area of 2.179 hectares where 56 families inhabit; 210 people approximately, distributed in Ecoaldeas (eco-villages).

In 1940, the Island stood out for its rice and cattle production. From the middays of 1990, the Ecological Committee of the Coast, environmental non-governmental organization of Guayaquil, carried out an organizational strengthening project together with the community that allowed, among several achievements, the establishment of the Original Settlers Association called “San Jacinto de Santay”, the construction of a Community Center and a school.

The Island was not only recognized locally, regionally and nationally, but for its ecological characteristics and for the dedication of the population to the conservation, it was recognized internationally as a Ramsar place, award that highlights the importance of these ecosystems as fundamental for global conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The distinction was awarded on October 10, 2000, for being the sixth declared wetland of Ecuador with a total extension of 4.705 hectares. Since February 20, 2010, the Island became a Protected Area and is part of the National System of Protected Areas as a National Recreational Area.

Connecting roads: Guayaquil and the Santay Island are connected through a pedestrian bridge of 840 meters, whose purpose is to improve the standard of living of the Island and to promote tourism in order to take advantage of the ecological environment of the area, which is characterized by its mangroves and its diverse fauna and flora.

The bridge has an elevated part that permits the navigation of the vessels crossing the river. Besides, the access area in Guayaquil has parking lots.

Attractions: one of the main attractions is the new crocodile station, that has 12 crocodiles of approximately 6 meters in length and 200 pounds of weight, which were brought from the Esmeraldas province. The area that is located next to the Eco-village, is a large natural lagoon that provides safety to the visitor, since it has a peripheral closing with wood slats and triple galvanized mesh. The habitat is divided in two sectors, one for the females and the other for the only male of the station.

The Island is also home to 85 bird species, 12 reptiles like the boa and the iguana; mammals like the raccoon, the anteater bear and the bat. Catfish, sea bass, tilapias, which are used for consumption and sale, form the aquatic fauna. Species like the black mangrove; guachapeli and Saman trees (endemic species) can also be appreciated.

Services: the Island has ecological trails made of plastic wood (a mixture of both materials) that connect to a viewpoint tower, an accommodation cabin, an area to prepare food, a health center, a recycling center, a tourist office and a house for the park rangers.

Admission: the admission is free. The visitors must pay only restaurant services. The community eatery offers refreshments and several traditional a la Carte dishes like: mixed ceviche, seco de pollo (chicken dish) and fried fish.

Address: 
Situada frente a Guayaquil a 800 metros, cruzando el río Guayas.
Parish: 
San Jacinto.
Horario: 
Ecoaldea (eco-village) hours: from 06h00 to 17h00 (return from the Island until 18h00) Bascule bridge hours: from 06h00 to 21h00.
Teléfono: 
+539 (09) 865-47034
Photo gallery: 
Santay Island National Recreational Area (Cesar Mera)
Santay Island National Recreational Area (Cesar Mera)
Santay Island National Recreational Area (Dirección de Prensa)
Santay Island National Recreational Area (Cesar Mera)