on the southeast Pacific coast of El Salvador, in the Department of Usulutan, Jiquilisco Bay is country´s largest coastal estuary
and consists of a largely undeveloped mangrove-lined series of inlets and canals. The area was designated a RAMSAR wetland on October 31, 2005 and named
a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2007. Its 637 square kilometers and 50 kilometers of coastline offers some of
El Salvador´s most untouched natural beauty and hosts the largest abundance of coastal-marine birds in the country. It is also a critically
important hawksbill nesting site, hosting approximately 40-45% of the known hawksbill nesting in the entire eastern Pacific!
conservation project in Bahía Jiquilisco is run by a local research team that
has been conducting hawksbill monitoring and conservation since April 2008. Our staff carry out nightly patrols, egg protection,
turtle tagging and other data gathering activities. Nests are protected primarily in two project hatcheries located one
in the surroundings of La Pirraya and the other one out of the island, near Punta San Juan. There is also a portion of the
estuary where nests are protected in-situ and is located in the other side of the San Sebastian island, near the community
of El Cojoyón.
and conservation is implemented using innovative and fascinating methods. When walking the beach, project staff often pass
local egg collectors on horseback, bike or foot, but everyone is looking for the same turtles. If egg collectors find
a turtle first, they come and alert project staff, who then accompany them back to the nest. This is because the egg collectors
that once sold eggs for consumption are now working with the project to protect hawksbills. The conservation team subsequently
gathers up all the eggs and everyone (egg collectors and conservationists) go back to the guarded hatchery where the eggs
are re-buried. In this manner we ensure that the maximum number of the eggs is staying in the sand and hatchlings is
being produced, while also financially supporting local community members that often have limited options to provide for themselves
and their families.
To date, via this project we have:
• Protected more than 300 nests
• Produced more than 33,500 hawksbill hatchlings
Equipped 3 hawksbills with satellite tags
• Benefited more than 95 local families
to Bahía Jiquilisco
For a modest fee, we offer in country travel packages that make your arrival and departure simple and more enjoyable.
For those with other travel plans or simply
looking for a bit more adventure, we provide directions on getting to the project sites on your own. If you do decide to travel
on your own, please be sure to arrive at the project site on the day you are scheduled!.
The Bahia Jiquilisco Bisphere
Reserve is located 65 miles (100 kilometers) from San Salvador, on the Pacific southeast Coast of El Salvador. There are several
ways to get from San Salvador to Bahia Jiquilisco, depending on your travel plans, budget, and time constraints. Here are
- Take a taxi from the airport near San Salvador to the "estación del Sur" bus station located in
San Marcos (San Salvador).
- Take a bus from the "estación del Sur" bus station to Usulutan (Cost $6, 2,5 hours).
- In Usulutan, get to
the bus station in Puerto Parada on foot (5 minutes) or by taxi (<$1).
- Take a bus to Puerto Parada (Cost <$1, 30 min).
- In Puerto Parada take
a water taxi to La Pirraya (Cost $3, 20 minutes).
2) Taxi:- Take a taxi from the airport to
Puerto Parada (Cost: approximately $100, 3-4 hours).- In Puerto Parada, take a water taxi to La Pirraya ($3,