You may remember that Paul and I visited Mazatlán’s Estero Del Yugo (Estuary) last December. It was very dry and nothing was blooming. Many of the trees did have pods hanging from them, though, which of course are an essential food for many birds. I thought the place was amazing (please click above to read about our previous visit) and I knew I wanted to come back during the rainy season.
The other morning Paul and I headed out to see what it was like during the summer. We put on long pants, insect repellent, and hats. It had rained overnight and the morning was about as cool as it gets here during the summer.
We parked, paid the 50 peso entrance fee ($4.07 USD) and headed out on the path. It wasn’t long before we were waving mosquitos away – although so far the repellent was working – and we got to watch a long line of leaf cutter ants carrying their flag-leaves. We continued on, ducking under branches and stepping on or over hanging limbs as we worked our way along the path. Our goal was to make it to my favorite place – the three story viewing platform.
Unfortunately, we got stopped by a big mucky marsh that engulfed the path. We almost thought it was raining, there were so many bugs on the water! We reapplied repellent and explored a little this way and that before heading back. The path at the Estero del Yugo is one way out, the same way back, unfortunately, so there was no alternative way to get to the viewing platform.
As luck would have it, though, I happened to notice a flower blooming on a tree trunk! After consulting the plant identification guide we’d been given we discovered it was a Crescentia alata or Tecomate tree. The flowers are gorgeous, and were a real consolation prize for not being able to walk the whole path. I did a little research when I came home, and discovered a new word – cauliflory – flowers that bloom on tree trunks. The tecomate fruit is a round gourd like thing that is used for water containers and maracas and is also a cure for bronchial problems.
The Estero del Yugo is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. Its low tropical deciduous forest and coastal wetlands used to be the landscape of coastal Sinaloa. Both the forest and the wetlands are in danger now as these unique and important areas are transformed either in to farmland or more urban uses. Just outside the left edge of the panorama picture of the estuary is the Hotel Riu Mazatlán, a huge all-inclusive resort. To the right just showing is a water slide park. Click the thumbnail picture below to bring up the larger panoramic photo.
The importance of maintaining this ecosystem is vital to many species of plants and animals. The picture at the top of this post shows a number of spoonbill and herons resting in the trees, but the woods were crazy with bird sounds and I wished I could have endured the mosquitoes for longer so I could have perhaps identified them.
Our next visit will be at the end of the rainy season, maybe late October or early November. We’ll spray ourselves down even more and this time ask the young man we encountered as we were leaving to walk ahead of us with his machete. It really is a special place, and I encourage you to visit and support this excellent endeavour.
Estero Del Yugo has a website, and they are open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. If you’d like to visit during the summer rainy season I’d recommend going when it hasn’t rained for a day or two, as you should be able to traverse the whole trail. A long sleeved shirt would be a plus, too. Don’t let fear of mosquitoes keep you away – we only had one or two bites, in places where we’d missed with repellent. There are pictures from our last visit as well as this one on our Photos page, above.