The Machalilla National Park covers an area of 50.000 hectares and includes the Plata and Salango islands. It is the only national park with a combination of national, cultural, island and continental influences. It offers the most beautiful landscapes of the ecuadorian coast and includes dry-equatorial and rain forests.
Good paved roads connect Puerto López with national airports a few hours away, making it a short and comfortable journey to the town.
Puerto López, with its peaceful and hospitable population, is the center of ecoturistic activities in this region.
July, August and September are the best months to observe the mating and calving activities of the humpback whales. After five months of feeding in the Chilean waters of Patagonia, the whales migrate 9,000 km northward. Each year, approximately 450-500 whales arrive in the coastal waters of the Machalilla National Park near Puerto Lopez. By mid-June it’s common to see them jumping and hear them singing. By mid-October they undertake the long journey (5-7 weeks) back to Antarctic waters.
Pictures courtesy of Pacific Whale Foundation
In the heart of Machalilla National Park, 12km away from Puerto López, this village is agreat ecoturistic attraction.
Agua Blanca is interesting for archaeology lovers and its dry tropical forest offers wide biodiversity.
The commmunity also organizes hiking or horseback riding excursions to the rainforest of San Sebastian. You can bathe in the sulphurous lagoon. Its water has healthful, curative and rejuvenating properties.
The river Ayampe can be found 17km south of Puerto López. Within this extensive and attractive river basin, you can hike or go by horseback to the villages of Cantalapiedra, Matapalo and Casas Viejas.
The rain forest is home to over a hundred different species of birds, making it ideal for birdwatching.
This is the ideal place to swim, snorkel or relax.
In a two hour excursion you can visit various view points and a number of beaches.
With their fine, white sand, warm waters, and breathtaking landscapes the beaches offer the perfect place to relax.
Visiting the beaches of Los Frailes is a magic adventure, a natural enchantment you will always remember.
The island is 1,5 hours away by boat from Puerto López and has its own magic, like that of the famous Galápagos islands. There you can see blue footed and masked boobies, frigates, sea lions, coral reefs and fish of various colors.
Salango, 5km south of Puerto López, is a little fishing village where you can visit an archaeological museum. In the sea you will discover two kinds of reefs: a coral and a rocky reef, both covered by sponges, black coral and aquatic plants. The Spondylus shell, close to extinction, exists only in this region and is protected by the local fisherman.
Around this mysterious island you can observe more than 250 types of fish, a hundred of which live around the reef.
For visitors this is one of the most pleasant trails.
It starts from Rio Blanco, a village in the Pital community, and goes through a natural paradise with beautiful crystal-clear waterfalls and exuberant vegetation.
A hike or horseback ride into the heart of the jungle, heralded by howling monkeys and many other animals, gives this "Stone Chieftain" route an air of mystery. You can climb up to the highest point in Machalilla Park: "Bola de Oro" (the Gold nugget) at 800 meters above sea level.