Puerto Lopez

  • Altitude: 239 meters
  • Inhabitants: 16.000
  • Region: Coast

Puerto Lopez is a quiet fishing village along the coast of Ecuador. It has about 14.000 inhabitants and is famous for its long wide beach. Besides strolling through the charming town and relaxing on the beach, Puerto Lopez is a great base for a range of different activities. You can easily explore Parque Nacional Machalilla from Puerto Lopez or, in the right season, you can do a whale-watching tour. Diving is also possible and we recommend visiting Isla de la Plata in a day tour.

Parque Nacional Machalilla

This national park is the only coastal national park of Ecuador. It consists of about 50km of beach, 40.000 hectares of tropical dry forest and cloud forest and around 20.000 hectares of ocean. The park hosts a variety of over 200 bird species and also animal species can be found like deer, squirrels, howler monkeys, lizards, snakes and iguanas. There are also some archeological sites that date back from the Manta period (500 A.D. until the Spanish conquest). Isla de la Plata, los Frailes beach and Agua Blanca are all part of the Parque Nacional Machalilla. More info: www.machalillanationalpark.com

Isla de la Plata

A worthwhile trip is to visit Isla de la Plata, an island about an hour by boat from Puerto Lopez. The island´s nickname is Galapagos for the poor because of its grand variety of seabirds like blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, red-footed boobies and pelicans and the fact that it is a lot cheaper to visit Isla de la Plata than the Galapagos Islands. It is possible to snorkel in the coral reefs around the island and in season you can see albatrosses and dolphins. Together with a naturalist guide it is possible to go on land and hike around the island as well.

Los Frailes beach

A beautiful beach about 10km north Puerto Lopez just before the town of Machalilla. There is a small admission fee that has to be paid to at the ranger station. Ask the rangers for advice on swimming since there are strong undertows.

Agua Blanca

Agua Blanca is a small indigenous village that hosts an archeological museum. The tour from the museum takes you to an archeological site called the Manta site. There is also a nice walk through the tropical forest where you can stop along the way to soak in a sulfur pool and at the end is a platform to observe birds and plants.

Whale-watching

The whale-watching season runs from mid-June to September. Especially in July and August you have good chances to see humpback whales mating. Whale-watching tours are often combined with trips to Isla de la Plata (see above). Colourful Ecuador Travels, your local agent in Ecuador, supports the Pacific Whale Foundation, a non-profit organization founded to save whales from extinction. The foundation conducts humpback whale research in Hawaii, Australia and Ecuador. Your tour will be organized through Palo Santo Travel, a travel agency started in order to combine the departure of lanchas for investigation together with tourism activities. More info: www.pacificwhale.org

Diving

There are several diving schools in Puerto Lopez that can organize dive excursions and open water courses. We´d like to note that Puerto Lopez is not the most recommended dive spot for experienced divers since there is not a huge variety of coral and sea life. However it is a great spot for beginners. Recommended dive shop: Exploramar Diving. Address Malecón Julio Izurieta. More info: www.exploradiving.com

Click on the following link for more activities and tours: Puerto Lopez

Insiders´ tips

  • Use the moto taxis to get around in the different towns, get hold and don’t be scared!

  • Visit Salango and try the ‘percebes’ from the menu of the restaurant El Delfin Magico, a special type of sea shelf. This restaurant in Puerto Lopez is the only place where you can eat them.

  • Visit the whale museum on top of Hostería Mandala in Puerto Lopez. Even if you´re not staying at this hotel, it´s definitely worth going here.

  • Drink a tropical cocktail at one of the beach cafes.

  • Watch the fishermen come back from the ocean around 7.00 in the morning to see what they´ve caught that day.

Restaurant tips:

  • Etnias Café. A French café that serves crepes, waffles, desserts and frozen coffee. Address General Cordova. More info: +593-9-1676-876.

  • Bella Italia. Imagine yourself in Italy in this great Italian restaurant. Address one block into town from the Malecón. More info: +593-9-6175-183.

  • Delphin Magico in the town of Salango (about 15 minutes from Puerto Lopez). A perfect place for seafood dishes. Address Main Street in Salango, across from the Parque Central. More info: +593-5-2574-291.

Medical attention

The closest hospital can be found in the town of Puerto Cayo. In case of more severe cases, we recommend going to a hospital in Guayaquil:

  • Clinica Guayaquil. Address Padre Aguirre 401 y General Córdova. More info: +593-4-2563-555.
  • Omni Hospital. Address Avenida Abel Castillo y Avenida Juan Tanca Marengo. More info: +593-4-2109-000.