Things to do in Puerto Lopez Ecuador

Things to do in Puerto Lopez Ecuador

What to see in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador – Whale watching and more

I returned to Porto Lopez, a well-known destination on the coast of Ecuadorian Pacific after a month.
The first time I arrived after 5 days Montanitaanother seaside resort on the coast in the south of the country and known throughout the country and among traveling backpackers as the village of non-stop party.
When I went the first time I have to admit that my arrival at I bring Lopez It wasn’t the happiest, nor did it particularly impress me.

Although August is still high season, the seafront with few bars and the semi-deserted streets left me rather disappointed, especially when compared to the tireless Montanita where, even though the weather wasn’t the best and the water was still too cold for my tastes, at least it kept me entertained at night and I always found something to do.

But actually the first time I didn’t give Puerto Lopez much chance also because apart from a day at the National Park I had voluntarily given up on two of the 3 tours offered in the town and which are worth a visit.

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Porto Lopez is in fact famous for 3 reasons:

  1. Whale watching from May until October
  2. Machalilla National Park and the Los Frailes spiaggia
  3. Isla de la Platafriendly called “The Galapagos of the Poor”.

Apart from La Isla de la Plata, if you plan to travel to Galapagos Islands I don’t think I need to take part in this tour either, the other two are activities that made the seemingly ugly Porto Lopez seem like a destination to consider when traveling to Ecuador.

In fact, the village is not one of the most attractive, despite its nature Tourist maleconthe seafront, in reality beyond the main road there is the local village with its daily market which in the evening becomes a large restaurant local foodthe tuc tucs whiz along the unpaved roads, in the morning freshly caught fish is sold on the beach.

In short, a village that has become famous for tourists but where it is still possible to touch and see local life, you just need to go outside the boundaries delimited by the souvenir and beachwear shops.

Although I wasn’t particularly impressed the first time, upon my return a month later, when it was already low season, this town had another charm.
The few people on the streets matched the gray and gloomy sky, the tuc-tuc drivers, all of them, trying to sell you the 2 tours they take and for which people stop here for a few days, don’t even look at you in the face , because if they did they would remember that they already asked you a few minutes earlier. A lack of interest in tourists outside the main streets with whom you are only an external observer.

Yet I don’t mind the placid tranquility of Porto Lopez at the end of September which reminds me of our November.
Suppose I’m in good company, suppose I’ve rediscovered even the gloomy days as fascinating and I no longer combine them with the Sunday depression of the end of September, while I have breakfast on the beach bars in flip flops and a sweater, eating a bubble and scrambled eggs I feel reinvigorated .

Whale watching a Puerto Lopez

The best-selling tour is certainly the whale watching tour.

And May until October in Porto Lopez it is impossible not to spot some, in fact every year whales from the Antarctic travel up to Colombia and this area of ​​Ecuador is one of the privileged areas.

I had seen the whale in Montanita in August so when I first got here I didn’t want to take the tour.

I’m happy to have done it on my return, because if the first time the whale only and exclusively showed me its tail, this second time I finally saw its face!

After an hour of navigation we in fact met a mother with a puppy who, just like a child, was having fun jumping and giving us an hour of fun and showing herself in her greatness and beauty.
The tour, which includes a guide in the cost, lasts about 4 hours, depending on how easy it is to encounter the whales.

Machalilla National Park and Los Frailes Beach

A short distance from the town of Puerto Lopez is the splendid Machalilla National Park which is divided into two sectors, one which includes a historical archaeological museum whose entrance costs $20 and the free area a few hundred meters after the paid one where you can follow a route traced for approximately 3 hours.
It is a seaside forest along the Pacific coast.
The current season is the dry one, the rains begin in October, so the vegetation is dead despite this, once you get to the coast the diversity of the beaches and the large desolate expanses have made this one of my favorite parks in Ecuador.

The accessible beaches that you encounter following the path are three, of which 2 where you can swim (including the famous one The Friars) and one where not even the most reckless surfer would jump alongside their trusty surfboard.
To walk in the park you don’t need an organized tour or a guide. The park is located about 10 km from Puerto Lopez and can be easily reached by public bus which costs $0.25

Isla de La Plata, the economical alternative to the Galapagos Islands

Isla de la Plata is also called “The Galapagos of the poor” because here, as at Galapagos Islandsyou can see sea lions and blue-footed boobies, turtles (although not giant ones), humpback whales and crabs which are everywhere on the islands.
L’Silver Island it is a valid alternative to the Galapagos for those who do not have the budget necessary to reach the archipelago 1000km from the coast but are happy to invest $50!

This is not a makeshift, Isla de la Plata is in fact very beautiful in itself, and this tour is certainly one of the most beautiful to do in the country.
Isla de la Plata can be reached in 1 hour by boat from Puerto López, between June and September it is common to see whales while sailing (even if this tour is not specifically designed for whale watching).

The island is tiny, about 3 square km, but it is home to thousands of birds, there are five distinct hiking trails and usually the one with a view or the one where you can see the frigates (which if you don’t go to the islands is what I recommend). After the visit you return to Puerto Lopez, the tour lasts approximately 8 hours.

Isla de la plata frigate

Puerto Lopez YES!

Puerto Lopez perhaps not exactly an exotic destination especially if you come here in the summer months when the sky is constantly covered with gray clouds and it always seems ready to rain, but It still has its Pacific village charm where life flows peacefully, the exact opposite of the vital Montanita.
You come here for see whalesto take a tour in la Silver Island if you don’t have the desire or the possibility to go to the Galapagos and to walk through the extensive park and end the walk at the local Los Frailes beach, where the large waves make children, their parents and the few tourists who have fun in the water meet in this low season.

Ultimately it was nice to return, I saw a country from another point of view and then, the mere sight of the whales jumping a few meters away from the boat is reason enough to make a trip.

Plan a tailor-made trip to the Galapagos Islands

If you want to organize a tailor-made and personalized trip made by local operators or you are looking for a cruise to the Galapagos Islands, contact me. Since 2012 I have been collaborating with local operators specialized in island hopping and cruises

Read also: Why travel to Ecuador – 10 good reasons to travel to Ecuador

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