Break in Puerto Lopez and Isla de la Plata

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After one crossing the Equator from Cuenca in the rain, it is with great relief that we arrive on the sunny coast of Ecuador. We are now back on the Pacific coast with some nice rolls. So here’s what to do on the Pacific coast of Ecuador with the family:

In this route we were like during the rest of the trip in 4 × 4 and roof tent, with our 8 and 14 year old children. We found our bivouacs from day to day, quite easily as soon as we moved away from too touristy villages.

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Travel info on the Ecuadorian coast from 8 to 11 May 2019

  • Guayaquil – Playas route: 120km – 3h by paved road
  • Route Playas – Puerto Lopez: 220 km – 5h30 (including Playas – Salinas by seaside track)
  • Puerto Lopez – San Placido (n ° 191): 190 km – 4 hours

Take advantage of
fishing villages

Departing from Guayaquil, you first arrive at some seaside resorts, Santa Elena with immense beaches and their small straw mattress for rent. Then going up to the north, the villages become less and less touristy. This is where you have to watch for fishing returns to feast on fresh fish every lunchtime. No specific activity except swimming, playing soccer on the beach, etc.

We have
voluntarily avoided the guesthouse village Las Tunas just before
Puerto Lopez, a tourist paradise for surfing …

Bivouac in Playas
Bivouac in Playas
Fishermen and market at the bottom

Puerto Lopez and
Isla de la Plata with the family

Puerto Lopez is still a small fishing town, but the
tourism is developing there more and more with departures by boat
towards Isla de la Plata, the Galapagos of the poor.

We spent 3 days here to rest, to cross by boat to Isla de la Plata. This island owes its name “silver” to the guano (bird dejection) which gives it a strange silver color. Guano whose marketing has made the fortunes of companies.

Puerto Lopez – embarkation pier

What to see on
Isla de la Plata with children: dolphins, turtles, boobies
on blue foot, frigate and whale …

The island of la plata is part of the Machalliila National Park, the other part being inland. The boat crossing takes about 1 hour, it’s perfect with little ones so they don’t get impatient. On the one hand, passing a school of dolphins will spice up the crossing!

Theexcursion can be booked with local agencies lying along the beach going towards the port. For 4, the price was $ 120 for an outing from 9 am to 4 pm approximately, meals included, with the Palo Santo agency.

Photo break
The Dolphins

Arrived on site, we see sea ​​turtles, but not the large terrestrial ones, endemic to the Galapagos. Too bad these free-roaming turtles are salad-fed, but that’s surely the only way to spot them!

Sea turtles

Sea turtle

Then, disembarkation on the island. There, the guides take you up a pass. Depending on your way of walking and your physical condition, you take the longest path (about 2 hours) which climbs to the top of the island to see the frigates or the shorter one which after the first climb which separates the walkers, leaves flat and towards the edge of the island. For fit long-haul travelers, even with children, you will undoubtedly be taking the longer route.

The highlight of this visit is the sighting of blue-footed boobies and frigates, whose males have a huge red crop to impress the frigate young ladies! Blue footed boobies are impressive with their eyes as blue as their feet. Moreover, it is the difference in the shape of their eyes that allows us to see if it is an evil or female madman.

blue-footed boobies
blue-footed boobies
blue-footed boobies
Frigates of Isla de la Plata - Ecuador with family
Isla de la plata frigates – Ecuador

On the return from the excursion, snorkeling break to see impressive fish but in rather murky water.

Humpback whales come to the area of ​​Isla de la Plata, but only from June to September. In May, we didn’t see any, although it wasn’t completely impossible!

Puerto Lopez was a very nice stopover, despite the only flight on our trip: Nico and Miss Voyageuse’s swimsuits disappeared overnight while they were drying in the tent. We’re pretty sure it was the traveling Argentinian family that stung them. In short, it does not matter, the striking meeting of this bivouac was that of an Ecuadorian biker, having lived for a long time in Spain … A full evening shared our vision of the world and of travel!

Bivouac Puerto Lopez
bivouac Puerto Lopez
bivouac Puerto Lopez

Los Frailes Beach
and Machachilla Park

An appointment

The month of May was
marked by bad weather and low morale for us, the
parents… The fact of booking return tickets, the fatigue of 9
months of travel and rain for 3 days in a row every 2
days got the better of our good humor.

So, we made the choice to rest quiet on Puerto Lopez and missed the Machalliila park.

On the other hand, we made the “compulsory” break at Los Frailes beach, and we were quite disappointed. It is indeed beautiful, but the weather was not great! Of course, this is the cleanest crowded beach we have seen! But for that, the conditions to access it are drastic, the beach is paying ($ 2), your bags are thoroughly examined, do not expect to have a picnic there!

Paradise beach ?! by Los Frailes

So, when you are with your vehicle, many other beaches are just as good. A hike by climbing on the surroundings of the beach could have been nice….

As said above,
Missed appointment! It will be for another time !

Discover the
Panama hats in Montecristi

After a break on
a Manta beach, under the tankers, another stage has us well
more delighted

On the other hand, the nice discovery, a little off the beaten track, is to go and see Panama makers in Montecristi. Because they are not made only in Cuenca! Indeed, the paja toquilla plant which makes them possible is cultivated here. So I looked for a store to finally find my Panama, and there we could see how these hats were woven! A real treat to see, but a real ordeal to make, bent in 2, for hours, leaning on a wooden block, your cleavage in the air. This manufacturing has been listed as an Intangible World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2012.

Paja toquilla weaving
And here is a panama

There you go, I hope you find all the information you need to come to this off the beaten track corner of Ecuador!

For further
  • All our articles on Ecuador
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Ideas for family tours in Ecuador