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The Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve protects 200 hectares (approximately 500 acres) of tropical dry forest, and is one of the last remnants of this highly threatened and unique habitat. It is located in the Pacific coastal province of Manabí, Ecuador, between the towns of Pedernales and Jama. This forest lies in a transition zone between the very wet forests to the north and the very dry forests to the south. As such, the Lalo Loor Dry Forest is incredibly diverse, having representative species from both kinds of habitat. In fact, this particular forest reserve is considered by many experts to be one of the most unique and pristine locations in the entire region! Ceiba is finalizing a new conservation easement, the same mechanism used to guarantee protection of the El Pahuma Orchid Reserve, with the reserve’s owner, Sr. Eudaldo “Lalo” Loor. Lalo’s family is shouldering the responsibility of managing the reserve, a long-held goal of Ceiba’s. They are continuing our mutual aim to protect the forest and develop the site as an educational and tourist destination. With the local owners at the helm, the reserve serves as an example to other forest owners in the region of how responsible stewardship and sustainable income can go hand in hand.
Visitors to Lalo Loor are virtually guaranteed to see monkeys, which have lost their fear of humans after years of living in the reserve's tranquil and protected forest
In a sea of pasture and agriculture, the forest of the Lalo Loor reserve gleams like an emerald, and serves as a refuge for hundreds of species of plants and animals. Many of the animals now threatened in the region would otherwise be quite common were it not for the extreme loss of tropical dry forest in Ecuador. For example, the turkey-sized Rufous-headed Chachalacas — named for their raucous calls that sound like “chachalaca, chachalaca!”, or to others like “come cacao, rica cacao!” (eat chocolate, delicious chocolate!) — once were plentiful up and down western Ecuador. Today, a combination of hunting and forest loss has restricted these charismatic birds to the few forest fragments that remain. The reserve provides a variety of habitats, from cool and humid forest valleys to rocky ridgetops where drier conditions dominate thanks to greater sun and wind exposure. Consequently, a wide range of species can be found in the reserve, some characteristic of the wet tropics and others favoring drier habitats. Visitors can enjoy this variety as they hike along well-maintained trails: most groups come away having enjoyed spectacular views of monkeys, but also having seen orchids and cacti, lizards and frogs, and an amazing diversity of colorful and melodious birds.
Few regions of Ecuador offer beaches as undeveloped as those near Lalo Loor, where visitors can swim, sunbathe, or walk past amazing formations carved by the ocean
No visit to the Pacific Coast can be complete without a dip in the ocean! The province of Manabí (pronounced “Man-a-BEE”) offers visitors access to gorgeous beaches, charming coastal villages, and a few fantastic surf breaks. But the region has much more to explore than just the ocean. Options include hikes to dazzling waterfalls, boat tours of mangroves, visits to organic farms, horseback riding, and crossing the equator itself, located just 15 minutes north of Lalo Loor. And no visit to the coast would be complete without sampling the delectable cuisine for which the region is famous: everywhere you’ll encounter signs boasting of comida Manaba.
Sometimes the best thing about life is absence -- at Lalo Loor, there's no electricity, no noise, no air pollution, no honking cars, no traffic, and no stress!
The Lalo Loor reserve is perfectly equipped for a wide variety of visitors. An interpretive center at the reserve’s entrance gives key information about the unique and threatened dry forest. Trails lead into the forest, and past an open air classroom ideal for presentations or courses. Deeper in the forest you will find the biological station, which can comfortably house visitors in a new two-story building with porches and balconies offering unparalleled views of monkeys swinging by and birds on the wing. The station has outdoor showers, and composting toilets that reduce our impact on the environment. Meals are served in a delightful dining room adjacent to the station, where visitors can enjoy cozy candlelight evenings without the stress of internet or electricity. . If you are a looking for a couple of days — or a couple of months! — in a cool, shady forest full of wildlife, you couldn’t find a better location!
After a long walk in the forest enjoying its amazing animals, bird songs, and flowers, you can return to comfortable room and a peaceful hammock for a well-deserved siesta
We welcome visitors to the enjoy all that the reserve has to offer! We are open daily from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. If you plan to stay overnight please contact Ceiba to make a reservation. The biological station has room for up to 24 people, with all meals provided Monday through Friday. We can accommodate day and overnight visitors, researchers and volunteers. The reserve is located about a half hour south of Pedernales, by car or bus, and about two hours north of the city of Manta, the nearest airport.
Our volunteers and interns make an irreplaceable contribution to the ongoing research, conservation, and education programs at the reserve, and gain valuable skills along the way
The Lalo Loor reserve presents many exciting opportunities for volunteers and interns. Help us recuperate forest by working in our reforestation plot. We offer ongoing environmental education and community development programs — if you speak Spanish well and plan on a longer stay, your help will be invaluable. The reserve’s EcoCenter and Native Plant Garden need constant attention and updating of informative displays. Participate in ongoing research projects tracking the recuperation of wildlife, or assessing the impact of the coastal highway on wildlife. Live under the palms, fall asleep to bird songs, and wake up to monkeys overhead, what could be finer?! Visit our Get Involved page to apply to one of our numerous volunteer or internship opportunities!
We have had the privilege to host many national and international researchers at the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve. You may contribute to one of our on-going research projects or apply to conduct your own research while taking advantage of our facilities. The tropical dry forest has been distinctly understudied, and much remains to be learned about this threatened ecosystem. We’ve discovered huge range extensions, for example, for a number of plants and animals studied at the reserve, all because the region has been seldom visited by scientists.