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Puerto Lopez, Ecuador - Things To Do Include Whale Watching & The Beach

Ecuador travel blog by Mark Berman - June 2009   » View Photoset (41 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
The overnight bus from Quito to Puerto Lopez left at 7pm and should have taken 11hrs but due to the driver being in rally mode,
Ecuador Photo - Fishing boats on the beach in Puerto Lopez.
Fishing boats on the beach in Puerto Lopez.
it took only 9hrs. We arrived at 4am. There were other travelers on the bus and we all sat out on the road for a while waiting for the bread shop to open and to find a place to stay but without arriving too early, so that we wouldn't be charged for the current night. I found a nice hostel by about 5:30am, the cost for a room was $5USD with a shared bathroom or $7USD with a private one.

The Beachfront

After a few hours sleep I explored the beachfront street area where there are many cabanas on the beach selling nice food and drinks.
Ecuador Photo - Cold strawberry juice at the beach at Puerto Lopez.
Cold strawberry juice at the beach at Puerto Lopez.
They have hammocks and seats under umbrellas in the sand and palm trees. There also are restaurants on the street.

Tour Activities

For the next day I planned to go whale watching at Isla de la Plata in Parque Nacional Machalilla. As well as snorkeling and a walk around the island to see the birds and views. I booked a tour with 'Machalilla Tours' on the main street, it cost $30USD plus $15USD for the park entrance fee.

Garlic Prawns for Dinner

In Puerto Lopez I ate some great sandwiches for breakfast and lunch at the Blue Dolphin cabana beside the beach. I also put an order in for hot garlic prawns for dinner for the following night after the tour.

Boat Tour to the National Park

The next morning, everybody on the days tour met at
Ecuador Photo - Isla de la Plata map, different birds on different parts of the island.
Isla de la Plata map, different birds on different parts of the island.
the office of 'Machalilla Tours' and we all walked down to the boat in the fishermans area and village at the southern end of the beach where pelicans feed on fish and sit on the boats. There was about 14 people in the group and a guide. There was also a guides helper and the boat driver. Unfortunately there was a problem with the English speaking guide so we had a Spanish speaking one. Luckily there was a few multi-linguists in the group to translate. It took about 90 minutes to get out to the Isla de la Plata from the mainland and it was a glorious hot sunny day. We had all age groups in the group, so we split into 2 groups at the island - those who wanted to walk
Ecuador Photo - Our guide talking on the boat out to Rio de la Plata, Puerto Lopez.
Our guide talking on the boat out to Rio de la Plata, Puerto Lopez.
a lot and those who didn't. We were shown a map of the nearly 3hr walk we were about to embark on around the island in which we would see birds such as Albatros, Blue Footed Boobys and Fragata.

Walk Around the Island

The dirt track we walked along and surrounding bush and plantlife was very dry. We started to see Blue Footed Boobys nesting, sitting on eggs or with young chicks and we were able to get very close to them to observe and take photos. During the walk we enjoyed the views of the rocks by the sea, it was so hot but we were able to have a shady rest every 20 minutes in the shelters along the way. Walking was really fun but hard work, we saw many nesting birds and took a lot of photos.

Tuna Sandwiches and Snorkeling

We were now ready for lunch on the boat by the time we got back. We ate some huge tuna sandwiches and biscuits that the tour supplied
Ecuador Photo - Puerto Lopez has cabanas all along the beach that sell food and drinks.
Puerto Lopez has cabanas all along the beach that sell food and drinks.
while we travelled around the island to the area where we would go snorkeling. We snorkled for about 45 minutes in the cool water and saw many colorful fish, sea snakes and other fish. After everyone had dried off, it was time to head back to the mainland while looking out for whales!

Looking for Whales

The whales are not in full activity in June but we and some other tour boats located a couple swimming along and we were able to get some good views of them appearing, then disappearing, then re-appearing in the water for about 40 minutes or so. We were able to climb up onto the roof of the boat to get a better view and everyone was taking many photos trying
Ecuador Photo - Machalilla Tours - Isla de la Plata whale watching, snorkeling, Puerto Lopez.
Machalilla Tours - Isla de la Plata whale watching, snorkeling, Puerto Lopez.
to get the whales tail. It was amazing how big they are and we all enjoyed it a lot. It was a great way to end the day before the 1hr+ boat ride back to the fishing village and beach at Puerto Lopez.

Cocktails at Sunset

Back at Puerto Lopez it was time for hot showers, a cocktail on the beach and to watch the sunset and to look forward to the BBQ garlic prawns for dinner at the Blue Dolphin! I enjoyed the meal a lot and was ready for a night of fun sitting by a fire on the beach drinking cocktails with a small group of people from my hostel and tour. The night lasted to the small hours, cocktails cost about $3.50USD each at the beach bars, but there was so many to try! I tried some juggling on the street with some of the local boys and had a good laugh. By about 3am it was time to go back to the hostel for some well earned sleep.

Fishing Village / Relaxing Day

Ecuador Photo - Sunset at Puerto Lopez.
Sunset at Puerto Lopez.
The next day while the others went to the beach in Parque Nacional Machalilla I wandered down to the fishing village and took some photos of the fishing boats. The fishermen were untangling their nets while pelicans and vultures were eating any spare fish. I spent the rest of the day just relaxing in a hammock, eating sandwiches and using the internet. Later I enjoyed exchanging some photos that I had taken that day with a few people in the hostel and I had a nice dinner and a couple of drinks with my new friends.

I Gotta Move

It was my last night in Puerto Lopez as I had to head south to get back to Lima in Peru for a
Ecuador Photo - A pair of Blue-Footed Boobies on Isla de la Plata, Puerto Lopez.
A pair of Blue-Footed Boobies on Isla de la Plata, Puerto Lopez.
plane home 5 days later. I travelled via Cuenca, Loja and Macara.

Bus to Cuenca and Beyond

I wanted to travel to Cuenca via Guayaquil during the day from Puerto Lopez so that I could enjoy the scenery from the bus and stay a night there and have a look at the city. The bus in the morning was to take about 4+ hours to Guayaquil. The bus headed north for a while past the fish markets in Puerto Lopez, then past an early morning soccer game, up the coast and through small towns such as Pedro Carbo.
Ecuador Photo - There are several tour operators on the main street of Puerto Lopez.
There are several tour operators on the main street of Puerto Lopez.
People came onboard the bus with food for sale along the way and people at intersections had things for sale such as kites, drinks and fruit. In Guayaquil I took another bus to Cuenca which lasted about 5 hours. We entered Parque Nacional Cajas and ascended into the cloud forest where the surrounding houses and scenery became harder to see through the white mist. We came out of the cloud forest into an amazing mountainous lake scene while continuing to travel just beneath the clouds for a while, but with the sun in some areas of view. Then finally coming out into green valleys and farming areas and arriving in Cuenca. Coming into the bus terminal in Cuenca I noticed
Ecuador Photo - Fishermen at Puerto Lopez untangling the fishing nets on the beach.
Fishermen at Puerto Lopez untangling the fishing nets on the beach.
some hotels nearby and walked across the road after arriving and found a nice room with bathroom for $7USD. After nearly 10 hours bus travel that day I was ready for a quick feed next door and some sleep. In the morning I got up early for a walk around the city center. I took many photos of buildings, statues, churches and cathedrals, the clock tower, streets, plazas, the flower market and the delicious sweet breakfast food available at stalls while I walked around the cobblestone streets. Cuenca is a very beautiful city with a lot of tiled buildings and is clean and tidy. It is a modern city and Ecuador's third largest, it has a sizable student base and a happening nightlife. It is surrounded by lovely green hills. From Cuenca I bused south through Loja on my way down to the border of Peru.

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Puerto Lopez (Ecuador) to:


Map location: Puerto Lopez, Ecuador. This was my first time on the Ecuador coast! I went to Machalilla National Park where I saw blue-footed boobies and other migrating birds! Of course there is the beach, cocktails and nice seafood!
 A : Portoviejo - Ecuador 64 kms 64 kms straight distance | 1hr 58mins 1hr 58mins by car (103 kms) | 2hrs 21mins 2hrs 21mins by bus (103 kms) (103 kms)
 B : Manta - Tarqui Beach - Ecuador 65 kms 65 kms straight distance | 1hr 43mins 1hr 43mins by car (108 kms) | 2hrs 3mins 2hrs 3mins by bus (108 kms) (108 kms)
 C : Guayaquil - Ecuador 102 kms 102 kms straight distance | 3hrs 6mins 3hrs 6mins by car (204 kms) | 3hrs 43mins 3hrs 43mins by bus (204 kms) (204 kms)
 D : Guaranda - Ecuador 201 kms 201 kms straight distance | 5hrs 53mins 5hrs 53mins by car (332 kms) | 7hrs 3mins 7hrs 3mins by bus (332 kms) (332 kms)
 E : Quilotoa Lagoon - Ecuador 223 kms 223 kms straight distance | 7hrs 15mins 7hrs 15mins by car (379 kms) | 8hrs 42mins 8hrs 42mins by bus (379 kms) (379 kms)
 F : Machala - Ecuador 210 kms 210 kms straight distance | 6hrs 6mins 6hrs 6mins by car (382 kms) | 7hrs 19mins 7hrs 19mins by bus (382 kms) (382 kms)
 G : Cuenca - Ecuador 249 kms 249 kms straight distance | 6hrs 19mins 6hrs 19mins by car (388 kms) | 7hrs 34mins 7hrs 34mins by bus (388 kms) (388 kms)
 H : Alausi - Ecuador 230 kms 230 kms straight distance | 6hrs 30mins 6hrs 30mins by car (393 kms) | 7hrs 48mins 7hrs 48mins by bus (393 kms) (393 kms)
 I : Pujili - Ecuador 243 kms 243 kms straight distance | 7hrs 47mins 7hrs 47mins by car (413 kms) | 9hrs 20mins 9hrs 20mins by bus (413 kms) (413 kms)
 J : Riobamba & Colta Lagoon - Ecuador 237 kms 237 kms straight distance | 7hrs 7hrs by car (421 kms) | 8hrs 24mins 8hrs 24mins by bus (421 kms) (421 kms)
 K : Latacunga - Ecuador 255 kms 255 kms straight distance | 8hrs 5mins 8hrs 5mins by car (425 kms) | 9hrs 42mins 9hrs 42mins by bus (425 kms) (425 kms)
 L : Ambato - Ecuador 243 kms 243 kms straight distance | 7hrs 41mins 7hrs 41mins by car (431 kms) | 9hrs 13mins 9hrs 13mins by bus (431 kms) (431 kms)
 M : Huaquillas - Ecuador 223 kms 223 kms straight distance | 6hrs 51mins 6hrs 51mins by car (438 kms) | 8hrs 13mins 8hrs 13mins by bus (438 kms) (438 kms)
 N : Saquisili - Ecuador 249 kms 249 kms straight distance | 8hrs 18mins 8hrs 18mins by car (482 kms) | 9hrs 57mins 9hrs 57mins by bus (482 kms) (482 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Puerto Lopez, Ecuador:

Hostal Fragata, Puerto Lopez, Ecuador - Large Photo
Hostal Fragata, Puerto Lopez, Ecuador (Jun 2009 - 4 nights) - I loved this place, great for beach life, rooms with or without a bathroom, close to the beach, cheap and run by a nice family.

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Puerto Lopez, Ecuador - Things To Do Include Whale Watching & The Beach. This was my first time on the Ecuador coast! I went to Machalilla National Park where I saw blue-footed boobies and other migrating birds! Of course there is the beach, cocktails and nice seafood!

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