The Puna Island belongs to Guayaquil canton, as a parish, according to the political division of the Guayas province. It became a parish on October 13, 1845 and its patron saint is the Virgin of Las Mercedes.
History: according to the Ecuadorian encyclopedia written by historian Efren Aviles, the Puna Island was the main settlement of the Punaes ancient culture, which was formed by brave warriors who were ruled by Tumbala and resisted the conquest of the Incas.
History tells that when the Spaniards arrived in 1532, led by Francisco Pizarro, the indigenous people of the area called Tumbes or Punaes, inhabited the island, who spoke a different language than the neighboring tribes, which has not been documented, therefore, is a non-classified language.
During the times of the Spanish conquest, the Battle of Puna took place on April of 1531, which was a confrontation led by Francisco Pizarro in which, Spanish conquerors and Tumbes aborigines fought against each other, but the natives resisted the attack.
The Puna Island was declared as protected area in 2009 since it has 5 mangroves and is an area of great biodiversity.
Geography: is the largest island in the Gulf of Guayaquil with an approximate extension of 920 square meters; its northeast coast is the closest to the continent. The island was created by the accumulation of recent materials over an older core, formed by volcanic rocks. Situated at the mouth of the Gulf, between the point of El Morro and the coast of the province of El Oro, it is separated from the land by the Jambeli Canal, to the southeast, and by El Morro Canal, to the northeast.
The weather is tropical and dry because of the influence of the Humboldt Current. The most important location is Puna, located at the northeast of the Island. Fishing is one of the main activities.
Attractions: fishermen and shell collectors inhabit this picturesque place. The high season is between January and May, and is also considered a tourist destination for its natural and cultural attractiveness that offers: ecotourism, beaches and archeological sites, which correspond to the Punaes settlement that was an aborigine culture of the coast that inhabited the Island during the XV century.
Fauna: for its large variety of avifauna, the island is considered as ecological reserve that houses the following species: seagulls, pink herons, white herons, pelicans, albatross, cucube, blue-footed boobies, cormorants, sea swallows, zarapitos and other migrating birds.
Activities: visitors can enjoy a boat ride from Posorja, with an approximated duration of 30 minutes. Among the tourist services there are: beach restaurants, accommodations at the “Catoir” eco-camp, located at the upper part of the town; expert native guides, tourist signaling, lifeguard towers and river transportation. During the tour, visitors will visit the Farallones islets (rocks of great magnitude) that is home to sea birds like blue-footed boobies and specially pelicans.
Also from Posorja, there are tours to observe the dolphins, which show their beauty doing their aquatic dance. People can visit the Pajaros Island, located at the main arm of the Guayas River, where the beauty and color of the frigate colonies can be closely appreciated.
Subida Alta: located at the southeast part of the island, it has an extension of 2 kilometers. Subida Alta offers a marvelous view of the coastal line of Posorja and of the large beach of the island.
Among the services there are cabin-restaurants that are located at the upper part of the area; accommodations, expert native guides, a research center, tourist signaling, lifeguard towers and river transportation. It has an archeological site, an aborigine-Spanish cemetery (towards Zambapalo hill, reservation in advance). The place can be accessed by boat from Data in Posorja (50 min).
Cauchiche: is located in the western part of the island, opposite to the rural parish of Posorja. During the tour, the tourist can observe the dolphins, appreciate the Farallones islets and walk in the beaches. Cauchiche has restaurants made with local materials, a tourist inn, the “Tumbala” eco-camp, expert native guides, besides an information and tourist signaling center; lifeguard towers and river transportation. The place can be accessed by boat form Data in Posorja (40 min).
Estero de Boca: the tourist can access the Estero de Boca by foot or car from Cauchiche, then, a wood pedestrian bridge must be crossed to reach the area. By sea, boats can be taken from the beaches that are characterized for being surrounded by an estuary and mangroves. From Data, the ride has an approximate duration of 40 minutes.
The commune has two houses of 150 years old that belonged to Elio Quinde and Mercedes Quinde Torres. Elio Quinde is the owner of a collection of relics from the colonial times and the beginnings of the republican era.
Bellavista: the “Bellavista Ancestral Aborigine Commune” has a beautiful landscape that can be appreciated from the upper part of the location. There are beach restaurants, the “Catoir” eco-camp located at the upper area, expert native guides, tourist signaling, lifeguard towers and river transportation. The tourists can also visit an aborigine cemetery (reservation in advance). To access the beach, the Boca Estuary has to be crossed by boat; to return, the tide must be high. From Data, the ride has an approximate duration of 25 minutes.
Chirimoya Festival: every June, the Puna Island is filled with joy and color to open its door to the visitors for the celebration of the Chirimoya (traditional fruit) Festival.
Contacts: “Pelicano” Outboard Motors Owners Association
Phone numbers: +539 (04) 511-3759/ +593 (09) 971-03462.
- From the Land Terminal of Guayaquil, by the Posorja Trasport Cooperative
Duration: 2h30 minutes.