The palynomorph content of surface samples from a sea-land transect in a small coastal basin was analysed, in order to characterise palynologically the sedimentary subenvironments and vegetation types. These results should provide the basis for the interpretation of further palaeoecological analyses on stratigraphical samples from the same site. The main vegetation types are mangroves, swamps, Cocos plantations and abandoned crops, arranged in a zonal pattern. All the palynomorph types found were recorded and counted, including pollen, fern and allied spores, fungi spores and unknown remains (probably algal material and animal parts). Both general and individual trends of these palynomorphs followed the main vegetation patterns, and both zonal sea-land arrangement of plant communities and their disturbance patterns were reproduced by them. Furthermore, particular types were found to be direct or indirect indicators of given plant zones and local disturbance. Detrended correspondence analysis allowed definition of the sedimentary attraction domains for the involved communities and ordination of both samples and palynomorphs with respect to them. The results are encouraging for palaeoecological studies, since the main key environmental and vegetational patterns are reflected by the palynomorphs of surface sediments. Limitations are also discussed.