What to do

River Chone Excursions

Sitting on the River Chone Estuary, Bahía is home to a beautiful example of the Ecuadorian mangroves rich in exotic fish, plant and bird life. From Bahía, a number of tours and excursions into this unique ecosystem are available. In particular, several community ecosystem projects have appeared in the past few years with the intention of preserving their ecological heritage and spreading awareness to visitors by various excursions. Below are a few of the tours available:

Isla Corazón: A beautiful mangrove island located just outside of Bahía. Recently the Puerto Portovelo community has undertaken an ambitious mangrove restoration project to undo the damage done by the shrimping industry and offers various bird watching and canoe tours through various tunnels in the island. It's a great way to spend an afternoon and you're guaranteed to gain a new appreciation for Ecuador's unique ecosystems. Read more about their project here.

Isla Fragatas: Located ¼ of an hour by boat from Bahía Isla Fragatas has a myriad of bird types. Between August and January a large colony of frigate birds can be seen very closely showing their inflated red sacks during the mating ritual season.

Punta Bellaca

About five minutes from Bahía is Punta Bellaca, a beautiful beach on the way to Chirije close to the Cerro de las Orquídeas hill. With a relaxed atmosphere, these sandy shores are make for the perfect getaway from city life.

Chirije

The archaeological site of Chirije is surrounded by tropical forest and is situated on a beautiful beach. Located 45 minutes south of Bahía, Chirije used to be a seaport of the Bahía Culture (500 BC-500 AD). This is a good place to relax, as well as for other activities such as birdwatching. Chirije is also know as the UFO hotspot in Ecuador! Read more about their exciting project here.

Saiananda

Located 5 km from Bahía, is a very interesting private park with accommodation and a restaurant. This site has a very unusual combination of native and domestic animals and birds such as chuchuchos, sloths, ostriches, macaws, deer, geese, rabbits, peacocks, donkeys, and cows. The park also has a cactus collection and a bonsai garden.
Reservations: Tel. 05-398331.

See the First Organic Shrimp Farm in the World

This shrimp farm is located close to Bahia de Caraquez Ecocity in the estuary of the Chone River. It is the first and only certified organic shrimp farm in the world. The methods used on the farm are based on principles of organic farming and permaculture.

Canoa

Canoa is a frontier beach town about 20 minutes north of Bahia that is popular with the surfing set. While there, be sure to visit Roche's Brewing Company for some unique craft beers.

Rio Muchaco Organic Farm

Rio Muchacho is nestled in a small valley on the coast of Ecuador, 40 minutes north of Bahia and 15 minutes from the popular beach town of Canoa. 11 hectares make up the sustainable farm and learning center based on agroecology /permaculture principles. The property incorporates food forests with large vegetable gardens, pasture, agroforestry areas, models of alternative energy, rotational animal raising areas and a meditation/yoga garden overlooking the river. There are over a hundred crops rotated throughout the year. The farm balances as a home to many pigs, chickens, dogs, ducks, cats, goats, composting worms, cows, guinea pigs, horses, and of course humans with the vegetation. Visit www.riomuchacho.com/Take a Drive on the Beach and visit them in person. At low tide you can drive south 20km down the beach to San Clemente, a charming beach town. San Clemente seems to have its own micro-climate with generally more sunshine and cooling breezes than it's neighbours. There is amazing scenery on the way, and you be able to grab a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. Be sure to be off the beach well before high tide as it pretty much disappears! For variety, return to Bahia by the road.

Visit the Fish Market

The fish market is located on the ground floor of the newly renovated market. Fresh fish arrives daily, and the best selection is available before noon. The seafood vendors will skillfully fillet your corvina, clean and dehead your shrimp while you wait! For a real treat buy some of the giant shrimp. One is a meal in itself!

Museo Bahía de Caráquez

A good introduction to the area’s indigenous history is the Museo Bahía de Caráquez. The modern museum, which opened in 2004, has hundreds of pieces of pre-Columbian pottery, as well as local crafts for sale. A guided tour in Spanish is included with admission.

Attend one of Bahía's many Parades

Ecuadoreans love their holidays with over 42 of them (at last count) happening over the course of the year. Parades seem to be a way of life in Bahia and if you plan to stay here for long you should be prepared to join in the festivities. Nov 3, for example is the anniversary date of Bahía de Caráquez and festivities begin to ramp up in late October. Everyone seems to get involved in the action!

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