Petrified Forest of Puyango

The Petrified Forest of Puyango is a tourist attraction in the Canton Arenillas in the province of Ecuador. Discover here its location, how to get there, schedules, costs, contacts, how to return, flora and fauna and much more.

Which provinces share the petrified forest of Puyango?

Las Lajas parish in the Arenillas canton (111 km away from Machala) and to the west of the province of Loja, of the Alamor parish of the Puyango canton (280 km away from the city from Loja). 

The impressive fossilized trees are the center of attention of the area, which have an age of approximately 100 million years and is the largest collection of petrified wood in the world; the largest species is 2 m in diameter and 15 m long. It is the ideal place for hiking activity, and for  taking advantage of the observation of the flora as well as seeing the great variety that the place has, such as flora: amancay, vines, orchids, chaquiro, grasses, nettle, matico and mortiño. It has a temperature of22 ° C


The Petrified Forest of Puyango is a cultural heritage, known worldwide as a marine fossil site that also has petrified wood, is a true tourist attraction, only comparable to the Galapagos Islands and the Ecuadorian Amazon because of its great importance.  


Below all the information that a tourist needs to know if he plans to visit the Puyango Forest

  • Location: Southwest of the province of El Oro, in the parish of Las Lajas in the canton Arenillas (111 km from Machala).  West of the province of Loja, in the Alamor parish of the Puyango canton. Also located 280 km from Loja, on the banks of the Puyango River.              
  • How to get there? It is located in the direction towards Arenillas and Alamor, we can see a bridge, and facing the bridge. We have to realize a sign that advertises the Petrified Forest, from the place you will cross a route with a distance of 5 kilometers to the forest offices, which will be seen to the right of the road. There, you have to go to pay a dollar for the entrance to the trail and visit the small museum. After coming into contact with what is going to be found in the reserve, you have to move along a path of about one and a half kilometers to the door of the path. Among the means of transport available we can mention those that have been determined based on experience, and are the following:   
    • From Quito: There is a bus from the Loja cooperative that leaves at around 19:00 towards Alamor, on this bus you can say that you go to Arenillas and once there  inform the controller that you are going to Puyango,  and paysa difference of 1.50USD * to reach the entrance to the Forest. You can also take any bus or transport of your choice that arrives in Arenillas and follow the directions to the next point.
    • From Arenillas: If you are anywhere in the country you can take any transport of your choice and get to Arenillas. Once there, you will find the entrance roundabout and the forest sign or you can reach the Arenillas Cantonal League Coliseum on 24 de Mayo and Cayambe streets. There you will find the offices of the Loja cooperative from where the buses leave for Alamor with the following itinerary: 8:45, 11:00, 14:30. In that area you can find the restaurant, the Internetation Center, shops and the market, with the aim of making the wait a bit more pleasant.
    • From Machala: In this city you can find the office of the Loja cooperative, the bus starts the journey at 09:30 towards Alamor. The CIFA cooperative also travels that route, at different times.
    • From the military control: In any of the cases you reach the interprovincial border where there is a military control, which should not be crossed since the entrance is about ten meters before. There you must disembark from the buses. The arrow on the forest sign is followed. There is a man who runs in a small car for four passengers, also rents horses. (you can bargain with them, since they are 5 min away). For those who want and are in adequate physical condition to get there, can walk the path that is approximately five kilometers long until the entrance to the administration and from there one kilometer more to the door to the path. They are likely to find cars to "pull a finger" if it is a small group.
    • In your own vehicle: If you plan to travel in your own vehicle, the arrival only depends on arriving at the ring of Arenillas and taking the route to Alamor, there is also a sign indicating that there is a distance of 55Km. Without leaving that route you will reach the border between provinces where you will see the bridge and military control mentioned above.

How to return: For the return you must calculate the time to arrive from the forest to the bridge, depending on the means chosen to be in advance of the passage of the buses. These happen more or less in the following hours: Loja 7:30, 10:30, 14:30, 17:30 19:00; CIFA: 15:00, 17:00.     

  • Flora and fauna    
    • Flora: Its vegetation is typical of tropical places, with the existence of petrines (the giant standing out, 35 m high, 8 m in circumference and approximately 300 years old), ceibos, potos, guapala, pechiche, hualtaco, puyangos, guayacanes, laurels, guasimos, caciques, cedars, palo santo, higuerón, lemongrass, almond and others that are among the great. Among the small ones or bushes we have: amancay, vines, orchids, chaquiro, grasses, nettle, matico and mortiño, the same ones that in winter bloom and give a typical colorful of the nature.    
    • Fauna There are more than 130 species, the most common being: partridges, turtledoves, boobies, earwigs, woodpeckers, chilalo, slut, thrush, tiles, parrots, crows, hawks, caciques, chirocas and blackbirds, the same as with their trills delight our ears. As for mammals, the forest shelters deers, tigrillos, squirrels, saínos, foxes, frogs, armadillos, guatusas, gualillas, mount cats, among others. In reptiles we find: lizards (different species), iguanas, snakes and river lizards.   
  • Opening hours: Every day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.    
  • Entrance fee : 1 USD  
  • Contacts: 072570 234    
  • Petrified forest tourism: The Petrified Forest of Puyango is an area of " dry forest ". The most appropriate season to visit it is the dry season, between the months of May to December, because during the winter season the Protected Area changes considerably making your visit very interesting. Puyango is immersed in an area of dry, semi-spherical forest, with vegetation adapted to the hot climate of the region. But inside the forest, the vegetation changes thanks to the constant bath of small streams. Large petrified trees rest on the road and in their barks, if you look closely, you can still see the traces of the leaves and small mollusks. In the place there is a museum that keeps, although with some disorder, fossilized pieces of animals, fruits, fish, insects and mollusks. 

Petrified forest of puyango summary   

  • 7 characteristics of the petrified forest of Puyango
    • Deposit of Petrified Logs  In this place we will find some huge tree trunks dating from the Upper Cretaceous or early Tertiary.  
    • Deposit of Carbonized Logs: They are located on the banks of a stream of very clean and transparent waters, in this place we will find some gigantic carbonized logs that correspond to the Jurassic period, that had its splendor 120 billion years ago. 
    • Giant Araucaria: Located at the end of this path, in this place we will verify the existence of one of the largest and best preserved petrified trees in the entire forest, it has an approximate length of 80 meters by about 8 meters in diameter. 
    • Petrino Gigante: A true wonder of nature; that is to say, that in this place the trees still grow as they did 120 billion years ago, it is about 35 meters high by 7.5 meters wide. 
    • Quebrada: They are made up of more plants than in the areas of the forest itself, incurring more humid zone species, which attracts attention, but this could be explained by considering that this plant association is influenced by the greater relative humidity of the soil and greater evapotranspiration in the microclimate of ravine. 
    • Fossils: The trees have an approximate age of 100 million years and is perhaps the largest collection of petrified wood in the world; the largest specimen is 2 m in diameter and 15 m long. There are also leaf fossils that correspond to four genera of primitive plants similar to ferns and palms. 
    • Viewpoint: It has an area where the largest amount of petrified can be seen. You can see trunks cut transversely observing the lexeme and heartwood of trees with a trunk formed of approximately 65,000,000 years ago. 
    • Camping Area: It is located near the Puyango River and the Puyango River Beach consisting of an area of compact sand in the manner of a beach where local people use it as a spa. In addition, a few petrine trees constitute living natural giants that attract attention due to their large size and diameter, 10 by 4.5 m respectively. 

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