It was created in December of 1993, and 8 geographic sectors can be distinguished on its 13142 hectares: the tropical deciduous forest and mid level evergreen forests, the mangrove, the arid tropical scrub, the palm cluster, the reed, the manzanillera forest and the small vegetation. Each zone presents its own characteristics with its own flora and fauna, which confers the Reserve a great variety and attractiveness.
The richest and most singular environment is that of the low tropical deciduous forest forest, called like this because most of its trees and bushes lose their entire foliage during the dry season, from November to June, to grow green again with the precipitations that come from July to October.
Chamela - Cuixmala rises from 0 up to 500 metres above sea level. It has a tropical weather with an annual average temperature of 25° Celsius, and precipitations varying between 750 and 1000 mm a year.
The Reserve is located 180 kilometres away from Puerto Vallarta, and its name makes reference to the small Town of Chamela, which was an important port in past decades, and the large Cuixmala River, natural limit for the Southern sector of this protected area.
The 200 Highway linking Puerto Vallarta and Barra de Navidad cuts its territory, with several bus lines covering the distance. East of this road is Section I, called Chamela, and to the West is Section II or Cuixmala.
The entire zone is administered by the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), being a model of security for visitors, for all its entrances have guarding posts operating 24 hours a day; but this is not all, rangers tour the area constantly on horseback or in sports utility vehicles, in order to discourage poachers.