El Banquito

Natural Preserve

El Banquito is full of wildlife which prospers protected by its extreme isolation. Foxes, deer, monkeys, small wild cats, big wild cats, wonder the deeply knitted forest allowing visitors to get –on a regular basis- casual glimpses of an unspoiled world. Clouds of butterflys fill the air and all kinds of birds crowd the sky. Groups of 50 or more pelicans are constantly patrolling the air looking for prey which they sometimes dispute with dolphins just a few feet away from the beach. It is not uncommon to see groups of Ibis Scarlata (Coro Coro in the local slang) flying their stunning red beauty against a perfect blue sky.

Periodically an inventory of species is done by the Fundación Oscar Ochoa Palacios which have so far identified 73 different species of birds divided in 31 families and 12 different orders.

Mammals: So far 20 different species have been seen, among them: American Lion (Cougar), Cunaguaro (Felis pardalis) and Matacán Deer, all three species are in danger of extinction elsewhere, flourish here. There are also foxes, different types of monkeys (cebus olivaceus, aluatta seniculus), small marsupials (dedelphis marsupialis) and much more to the joy of animal lovers.

Reptiles:El banquito is home of 29 species (besides marine turtles).Iguanas, Land turtles (Morrocoy), centrolenaridae frogs, small American alligators and many different species of snakes, such as boa constrictor, and some of them poisonous for which is much recommended to wear appropiate boots and apparel when visiting the woods.

Marine Life: The long, oceanic cliff type coastline is a prolific Sea Turtle nesting ground. There, the Oscar Ochoa Foundation together with Procosta, another ecology group, manages a protection program for the Sea Turtles, cataloging their eggs, keeping track of their migratory cycles, sheltering their precious eggs from their natural predators, the worst of them all, man. There are periodical speeches to the local fishermen stressing the importance of safeguarding this unique ecosystem.