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In 1979, the Machalilla National Park was one of the first sites to be declared a Protected Area in Ecuador. In its more than 56 thousand hectares (41,754 land and 14,430 marine) we can find: dry and semi-dry forests, marine environments, beaches and islets near the coastline such as the “Isla de la Plata” (Silver Island in spanish), also known as “the Little Galapagos” since it has an ecosystem similar to that pristine one of the Archipelago, where the iconic blue-footed booby nests.
Named after the Machalilla culture, one of the most important pre-Hispanic cultures that inhabited this coastal area for 800 years (1800 BC — 1000 BC), this astonishing place offers tourists a wide range of adventure activities.
“Los Frailes” Beach
Considered one of the best beaches in Ecuador, Los Frailes is an unspoiled place where the impact of humans has not reached yet, and if we all keep it clean and respect its forestal rules, it never will.
To reach it’s sandy beaches we must first cross the dry forest, a natural land with local flora and fauna that will lead you to a spectacular landscape of white sand and crystal clear waters. Walking along its paths you’ll discover the natural diversity of the area full of howler monkeys, coastal birds, and also you can climb to a viewpoint from where you can contemplate the 3 kilometers of pristine beach. There’s always something fun to do.
“Agua Blanca” Commune
Located 5 kilometers from the main road, Agua Blanca offers us a destination where nature, culture and history converges. The Ancestral Museum of Agua Blanca preserves the archaeological remains of the Manteña culture that dates back to more than 5,000 years. The natural sulfur lagoon is another impressive attraction in the area, where people often goes for its medicinal and healing properties.
Isla de la Plata or “the Little Galapagos”
With an impressive natural wealth, the Island located 37 kilometers from Manabi’s coastal profile, is the ideal destination for nature and bird lovers. It is an island inhabited by many aerial and marine species colonies, among them the most often found are the blue-footed, Nazca and red-legged boobies. In addition, the diversity of fish and marine animals that roams its coasts, attracts divers and snorkel enthusiasts who come every year to take a glanze at the hidden underwater treasures.
Due to its location, it is an island that maintains the same temperature year round in its more than 5 kilometers of beach. Without a doubt this place is ideal for warm weather lovers. One of the factors that influences its development is ecotourism and it is the community that operates sailing trips to the island, where tourists can perform different adventure modalities, admire the coral reef system and submerge into an abundant marine life.
The places and activities described above are only some of the National Park’s touristic offer. We invite you to visit this fascinating place located 8 hours from Quito (435 km), 3h30 from Guayaquil (185 km) and 1h15 from Manta (90 km). Take the time to visit Machalilla National Park and be part of this naturally amazing experience.