This extended weekend of 3 days brought two members of the team, Florentine and Tessa, to discover the city of Puerto López on the Pacific coast of Ecuador, the opportunity to come and discover Isla de la Plata and the species that reside there.

Discover the Machalilla National Park

Located an hour’s sailing from the port of Puerto Lopez, Isla de la Plata is a small uninhabited island of 14 km2 known for its exceptional biodiversity, especially thanks to the ten birds that stay on these islands. Preserved within the Machalilla National Park created since 1979, the island is uninhabited and the national park imposes very strict rules when arriving passengers: no food, keep all garbage in its bag, do not approach and do not touch the birds. Simple but essential actions for the conservation of this island and its ecosystem. Today, it is also mandatory to visit the island accompanied by a guide who will explain the specificities of the nature that composes it.

Moreover, Isla de la Plata is not a volcanic island like the Gálapagos archipelago. This means that the island is a detachment from part of the main continent, millions of years ago. We will let you discover the meaning of the name of the island during your visit, make your predictions, you may be surprised not to be wrong!

After forty minutes of boat, you land on the island feet in the water. Luckily, you will be greeted by sea turtles and small red crabs along the beach. You will put on your shoes before climbing higher on the island, a strategic place to choose your path.

Ideal place for birdwatchers

This island is known for its many bird species. You can discover different species depending on the trail you want to venture on, accompanied by your naturalist guide. During our hike, if you take height as we did, you can discover unique landscapes and unforgettable panoramas. You will also encounter species of birds such as the blue-footed madmen and the magnificent Pacific frigates. Here are some anecdotes from our local naturalist guide:

Blue-footed boobbies

These seabirds, of which more than half of the population is located in the Gálapagos, are known for their blue legs, as described by their name. When one parent goes in search of food when the birds are young, the other parent remains to watch them, regardless of the parent’s text, both participate in the tasks! Despite this mutual assistance in the couple, it is not an inseparable couple. Its birds change partners at each birth, and stay together 7 months, the time to wean the chicks.

Magnificent frigates

We had the chance to visit the island while the chicks were still very young. Nests with one parent strongly resemble cotton with white down. What characterizes these frigates are their bright red throats that they can inflate as they please, however, this feature is specific to males only and serves to seduce females.

On the other paths, you will have the chance to meet other seabirds: Nazca boobies, albatross, red-footed boobies or pelicans, the possibilities are great!

The return of humpback whales to the coast, an annual migration with increasing numbers

As every year from June to the end of September, whales migrate to the warm waters of the Pacific to deliver their baby. A calf can be between 3 and 4 meters long from birth. Female whales are also larger than males, so they can carry their babies for 11 months of gestation.

When you return from your hike, on the horizon, you may have the chance to discover a magnificent ballet. You will surely see the jet of their breathing, then their tail, and finally an impressive jump that can go more than 5 meters above the water. This show will surely follow you to the snorkeling spot.

With mask and snorkel, you will dive into the water to discover the species of fish and crustaceans: crabs along the rocks, colorful fish, starfish, you will see many colors. Luckily, you will hear the song of the whales underwater and you will swim with the sea turtles (the green ones).

On the way back to Puerto López, you may have the chance to observe one of the world’s largest marine mammals one last time.

For more destinations, you can come and observe birds and whales in Gálapagos, which is enough to discover many other endemic species of the magnificent archipelago. If you would like more information on stays in Ecuador, do not hesitate to contact the team of advisors of Terra Ecuador who will be happy to inform you and design your tailor-made stay in this rich region of Manabi.