Tumbes - Mangrove Islands

Tumbes Travel Blog

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Vegetation on the route
 We are known as the “tardones” now in Kimba Bungalows because we are the “late ones”  The maid comes around last to us as we sleep in until late and aren’t ready to go until midday.  But the weather pattern justifies it so I don’t feel so bad.  The current weather is cloudy and slightly chilly until about noon and then the sun starts to break free.  From noon until about 4 pm there is decent sun and then the wind starts to blow and it gets chilly again, so much that if you are in your swimsuit or short sleeves, you will definitely get goosebumps.  About 8 or 9 pm the wind stops and it is pleasantly warm.  So why get up early morning if there is nothing to do?  Better to sleep and get to the beach when there is sun and heat!

Angela had the plan to go to Tumbes to visit the islands offshore.
Rice fields
  I knew nothing about it but she had been in the area before, some years ago, and knew that there was something to see.  So we trusted her and went into town to find a conveyance to get us up there.  Just as we were getting to the main road a combi bus stopped and shouted out “Tumbes”.   It was as if he had read our minds but then again, this is Peru.  You have to try hard NOT to get somewhere, so prevalent is the public transport.  Sure enough, we got in and in minutes we were on our way north to the province of Tumbes, in the farthest north of Peru.  The final destination was to be Puerto Pizarro, just a scant 15 minutes from the Ecuadorian border.  It was interesting to see the landscape change as we went north.  For 2,000 miles, there is coastal desert on the Pacific side of South America.
Rice fields
  From central Chile to northern Peru, it is dry and deserted except for the river valleys that flow from the Andes and provide life and water.  Now we began to see scrub and trees and then even palms and green vegetation.  The change became very apparent with the rice fields on either side.  Soon enough we were in Tumbes and then some miles north of there the bus stopped to let us out to Puerto Pizarro, a kilometer away on the ocean.  

First in order was a proper lunch, and the mototaxi driver let us off at a nice water-side restaurant.  Bachata music was playing and that made for a pleasant backdrop.  I showed Beatriz the steps to bachata and she was self-conscious doing it in front of the other customers in the place but she loved the music so she followed gamely with me.
Angela and a mummy
  We ordered up a few different plates to share, including a cebiche mix, some fried calamari and then a rice with seafood.  It was all delicious, the cebiche being the best I’ve had yet in Peru.  Then we walked to the pier to see about hiring a boat to take us out to see the mangrove islands, the attraction in this port town.  With little negotiation we found a boat at a fair price to ferry us to the islands of the Crocodillo, de los Pajaros and del Amor.  Our guide was very affable and he was a fount of information about the mangrove islands the area.  We cruised gently through the bay and between the islands and the sun came out to warm our passage.  It was so relaxing!  We stopped off at the island where there is a project to help restore the crocodile population.
Angela and Beatriz
  They are cultivating crocs in captivity to let them go in the wild and replenish the crocodiles that have been poached for their skin.  So far it’s been fewer than 10 years and they are successful at reintroducing them to the waters.  It’s hard for me to believe that all these years with my terrible fear of crocodiles that here I was right in the den of them.  It was the bane of my existence when I was little to have seen National Geographic specials on Africa of the crocs with snapping jaws and bloodied villagers caught by them.  It was the stuff of my nightmares for many many years.  And here I was, in the middle of a crocodile village.  Well, I guess that’s one way to overcome your terror!  

Next stop was the island of the birds, Isla de los Pajaros.
Restaurant in Puerto Pizarro
   The birds come at a special time of year, the time being now actually, to meet and mate.  The scene on that island was something out of Hitchcock’s movie and it was fascinating to see thousands upon thousands of birds flocking and flying and dipping and nesting and mating.  Quite an incredible scene.  The captain's son then motored us in the general direction back to the dock, stopping on the way to point out the mangrove roots that showed above the water.  Evidently in low tide, the entire waterway between the islands recedes to leave only mud.  Boats can't access the channels until afternoon so that made our timing perfect, in spite of us getting to Puerto Pizarro so late.  Plus, it was cloudy before and now the sun was shining.
Beatriz
  Out in the distance to the north we could see the outline of more islands that our guide told us was Ecuador.  That was a neat feeling to be so close to the border.  We stopped at the Isla del Amor but why it's named that none of us had any idea.  There were some eateries there and vendors selling the usual trinkets but other than that nothing remarkable.  There were some huge iguanas in the trees as we glided past that our guide pointed out.  I had never seen one that large before.  Soon we were in the port and the girls went to buy some more souvenirs. While they were shopping I took some pictures of the fish being cleaned and the families down by the dock helping out.  There was a beautiful sunset developing and the pictures came out beautifully.
Beatriz, aka "Posh"
 

We had to wait for a bus to fill up in Tumbes that took us back to Mancora.  All of us were rather tired and not that hungry because of the large lunch so we just got some roadside hamburgers and chicken kebabs and an icy beer near the bars on the tourist end of the strip.  It had been a long day and no one felt like dancing tonight.

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Vegetation on the route
Vegetation on the route
Rice fields
Rice fields
Rice fields
Rice fields
Angela and a mummy
Angela and a mummy
Angela and Beatriz
Angela and Beatriz
Restaurant in Puerto Pizarro
Restaurant in Puerto Pizarro
Beatriz
Beatriz
Beatriz, aka Posh
Beatriz, aka "Posh"
Beatriz and Angela
Beatriz and Angela
Boat in Puerto Pizarro
Boat in Puerto Pizarro
Little Girl playing
Little Girl playing
Pig Eating Fish
Pig Eating Fish
Hen
Hen
Fisherman
Fisherman
Cebiche mixto with Chancha and fri…
Cebiche mixto with Chancha and fr…
Arroz con Mariscos
Arroz con Mariscos
Beatriz, Andrew & Angela
Beatriz, Andrew & Angela
Men playing cards
Men playing cards
Trinket stand
Trinket stand
Angela
Angela
Kids on the dock
Kids on the dock
Angela
Angela
Boat captain and Beatriz
Boat captain and Beatriz
Harbor
Harbor
Mangroves
Mangroves
Mangrove island
Mangrove island
Boats
Boats
Crocodile sanctuary
Crocodile sanctuary
Andrew at Crocodile sanctuary (len…
Andrew at Crocodile sanctuary (le…
Crocodile life cycle
Crocodile life cycle
Babies
Babies
Baby crocs
Baby crocs
Semi-adult
Semi-adult
Adult crocodiles
Adult crocodiles
Adult crocs
Adult crocs
Feeding
Feeding
Andrew, Angela & Beatriz
Andrew, Angela & Beatriz
Island of the Birds
Island of the Birds
Mating season
Mating season
Mating season
Mating season
Angela
Angela
Angela
Angela
Beatriz
Beatriz
Isla de los Pajaros
Bird Island
Bird Island
Isla de los Pajaros
Isla de los Pajaros
Mangroves
Mangroves
Ecuador in the distance
Ecuador in the distance
Beatriz and Angela Shopping
Beatriz and Angela Shopping
Beatriz and Angela Shopping
Beatriz and Angela Shopping
Isla del Amor
Isla del Amor
Isla del Amor
Isla del Amor
Menu on Isla del Amor
Menu on Isla del Amor
Crab
Crab
Angela
Angela
Beatriz with earings
Beatriz with earings
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana
Captain and son
Captain and son
Puerto Pizarro dock
Puerto Pizarro dock
Chicken foot snack, just what a yo…
Chicken foot snack, just what a y…
Dock at Puerto Pizarro
Dock at Puerto Pizarro
Dock at Puerto Pizarro
Dock at Puerto Pizarro
Typical mototaxi
Typical mototaxi
Cleaning flounder (lenguado)
Cleaning flounder ("lenguado")
Cleaning fish
Cleaning fish
Plaza in Puerto Pizarro
Plaza in Puerto Pizarro
Sunset at Puerto Pizarro
Sunset at Puerto Pizarro
Sunset over Puerto Pizarro
Sunset over Puerto Pizarro
Angela
Angela
Cigarette, tatoos and yummy street…
Cigarette, tatoos and yummy stree…
Tumbes
photo by: Belluomo