- Encounters with locals
- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Water Sports
During my trip to Ecuador, I left the Andes to go and explore another side to the country. Say goodbye to the moutain cold, at Puerto López you are plunged into an exotic humid heat.
I recommend walking on the beach early in the morning so you can watch the fishermen coming home. The birds swarm over the baskets full of fish to steal their portion. It's wonderful! Pelicans, vultures, frigate birds...and I even saw, me, who didn't get the chance to go to the Galapagos, the famous blue footed booby. And speaking of that, Puerto López is also the embarcation point for the Isla de la Plata, only 1 hour and 30 minutes off the coast. Not as far, not as expensive, not as touristy, not as legendary at the Galapagos, but it has an almost identical ecosystem. It's very good for your wallet! Between June and September, I also recommend taking a trip on the ocean to see the humpback whales. On the promenade I met a pugnacious Winston Churchill. He's one of Puerto López's characters and it was from his boat that I was lucky enough to see three whales up close. And because Winston thought that wasn't good enough, he took be back again the next day for nothing.
I spent two great days at Puerto López and I recommend that you stay for at least the same amount of time.
After more than two months in the Andes I decided to end my stay in Ecuador with a few days on the coast. I didn't want to go Montanita because it is ultra-touristy, so I chose Puerto Lopez which looked a lot more charming and also has some lovely countryside.
I found a hotel not far from the beach, but as the town isn't very big anyway it's not very hard to be close to the beach! The sea front is very lively. There are hawkers, and bars selling cocktails and fruit juices which you can drink sitting on the sand, listening to the salsa in the background... perfect! In the morning the port is very busy with fishing boats coming in, followed by the birds looking for their share. And it's great to just eat fish (yum, shrimp ceviche!) and rest after weeks of walking at high altitude.
During my stay in Ecuador I quickly became attached to this village with its relaxed atmosphere and I soon began to feel at home. Especially in the market, with its stalls selling fresh produce and where you can find lots of different of exotic fruits.
The fish market in the morning is particularly well stocked and with large prawns at $5 a kilo you can't go wrong. You need to arrive early, if only to see the fishermen unloading their catch and watch flocks of seabirds diving to grab the leftovers.
From Puerto Lopez, you absolutely must go the the Machalila National Park, especially Los Frailes beach, a magnificent stretch of white sand overlooked by a dune from which the view is superb.