The Community of Salango of the Canton Puerto Lopez, Manabi Province, holds property rights to a territory about 2,536 hectares, is made up of the small towns of Salango and Rio Chico.
The communities on the south central coast of Ecuador including Salango, are descendants of the Pueblo Manta Huancavilca, with 5,000 years of history and culture. The first settlements belonged to the Valdivia culture, followed by Machalilla, Engoroy- Chorrera, Bahia, Guangala and culminated with the so-called Regional Integration Period Manteña (800-1530 AD)
In 1526, there was the first contact between Spanish and native sailors of Salango. At that time there was a powerful chiefdom known as Salangome, which was the nucleus of a "league of merchants" that dominated the sea trade, devoting their trade to a large variety of seafood, including the shell "spondylus."
During the colonial era a religion unknown to our Indians was imposed. By a synod of 1535, the original language of Ecuador's coastal communities was abolished and the Spanish language imposed, which is why now there are only traces and words of our native language as colonche, vine, Tuzco, Sercapez, Valdivia, and Salango.
Due to the natural advantages they have, these communities have been prized by external interests that have consistently affected their territories, natural resources as well as cultural heritage and history.
In 1937 the Ecuadorian government enacted the Law of Organization and Management of Communes, which intended to protect and ensure the existence and functioning of rural peasant communities and administratively place them under the protection and supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. The creation of a comuna in an area included "every town that does not have the status of parish and was known as annexed, neighborhood, community, bear the name of community."
However, this Act was based on the idea that all rural communities are peasant communities, but it did not acknowledge or recognize the cultural and historical diversity of towns and ancestral communities.
Subsequent reforms have not changed this view; therefore, at present time most of its provisions have fallen into conflict with constitutional law and international norms that protect indigenous communities.
The Salango commune, aware of its historical and ancestral roots, in the exercise of its collective rights guaranteed in the Ecuadorian constitutionand in the provisions of Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization ILO, in a free and autonomous way, took the decision to separate the regime of the Communal rights and its former legal status; consequently the new status of the Community Salango was recorded under Agreement No. 016 on April 19 of 2004 in the Consejo de Desarrollo de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos del Ecuador CODENPE, an agency under the Presidency of the Republic, authorized in Executive Order No. 386 RO 86 on December 11 of 1998, that is responsible for defining policies for the reconstruction, strengthening and development of the indigenous towns and communities in the country.
For the management of their territory, natural resources, biodiversity, cultural heritage, and social organization, the Comprehensive Plan for Community Development of Salango "PIDCOSA", was developed at the beginning of 2004 and the became the basis for the Parish Development Plan and the projects "Ecotourism and Community Development of Handicraft" and "Production of Ecosystem Services".
In 2001 a section of ocean to the north of the island Salango was declared a marine sanctuary by the Salangome Ecological Association, in order to develop a site of conservation, especially conservation of those species that reside on the seafloor. The site also serves as a venue for research and tourism in Salango.
As part of PIDCOSA, the "Community Management Research Center and Museum Salango CIMS," project was developed in the beginning of 2005, through which the community officially took over the management of CIMS. The was accomplished once the National Institute of Cultural Heritage declared the archaeological collections, which include 245 museum pieces, as belonging to the cultural heritage of the Commune Salango.
On March 31, 2011 the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism, issued the regulations for the Registration of Tourist Community Centers, in which traditional communities legally organized and trained can develop community tourism activities.