While visiting the well known sites of La Chocolatera and La Lobería near Salinas, Ecuador, it’s worth the time to take a small detour up the hill to the Mirador Puntilla Santa Elena which overlooks the entire area. There you can spend a few minutes admiring the bird’s eye view from up high.

If you happen to be a lover of small birds, walk to scrub line surrounding the parking area. It is fairly easy to approach the small finches perched on small branches and the ground doves pecking seeds from the dusty ground. With a little luck you will hear the thrum of hummingbird wings and maybe catch a glimpse of a Small-tailed Woodstar. And ubiquitous Mockingbird is almost guaranteed to make an entrance.

But perhaps more stunning than even the view and the variety of small birds are the vultures that flock to this area in the late afternoon. They are attracted by tall antennas where they perch in between flights on the thermals that invisibly swirl around the immense blue sky. The vista point makes an excellent spot to catch these birds in flight. Though not as majestic as eagles or hawks, vultures have a stunning silhouette and this unique vantage point makes it possible to capture their portraits in flight.

A view of the Navy Base (foreground) and the city of Salinas (distance), Ecuador
Turkey Vulture, Salinas, Ecuador
A female Short-tailed Woodstar Hummingbird, Salinas, Ecuador
Croaking Ground Doves, Salinas, Ecuador
A Black Vulture, Salinas, Ecuador
A female Parrot-Billed Seedeater, Salinas, Ecuador
Long-tailed Mockingbird, Salinas, Ecuador
A male Parrot-Billed Seedeater, Salinas, Ecuador

La Chocolatera, Salinas

Mirador Puntilla de Santa Elena

Information For Your Trip

There is little shade so come prepared for lots of sunshine. During the weekends and holidays, there may be vendors selling water, ice cream, and food.

  • Direction by Car, use WAZE and look for La Chocolatera, Salinas, Provincia de Santa Elena
  • Direction by Public Transportation - on our last visit, it was not possible to enter the military base by bus but it was affordable to hire a taxi.