MACHALILLA NATIONAL PARK
This interesting and rich national park is located in continental Ecuador, in the coastal province of Manabi between the towns of Puerto Lopez and Jipijapa. It has an extension of 55,000 hectares and includes the islands of La Plata and Salango, besides islets, rocks, cliffs, bays and beaches; these, together with its beautiful views and untouched areas constitute the major attraction of the park.
The most important beaches are Los Frailes, Salaite, La Playita, Los Balsamos, La Tortuguita, etc. Among the islets and rocks, we have Pedernales, La Viuda, Sucre, Horno de Pan, Punta Mala, etc.
Puerto Lopez, a fisherman's village within the Machalilla Natural Park, is the starting point of tourist operations in the area. Here begins the unique adventure of observing the marine-land eco-system offered by the pacific coast of Ecuador.
ISLA DE LA PLATA
De la Plata Island has an extension of 12km2 and a maximum of 167meters above sea level and is located 22 nautical miles to the northwest of Puerto Lopez. Its main features are rocky cliffs, beaches, bays, and rocks.
The land area features the only primary tropical dry forest along the Ecuadorian coast, with an important transition towards the tropical humid forest in the San Sebastian area. The land area counts with many archaeological sites, due to settlements during the Ecuadorian prehistoric era, starting from the Machalilla to the Manteño-Huancavilca cultures.
The abundant vegetation of the land area includes species such as Algarrobo, Palo Santo, Ceibo (Kapok), Muyuyo, Tuna, Barbasco, Fernan Sanchez, Matapalo, Guayacan, Balsa, Laurel, among others. De la Plata Island has flora similar to that of the continent. The great fauna biodiversity from the coast to the highest part of the island includes deer, guantas, guatusas (a kind of agouti), howler monkeys, squirrels, ant bears, land iguanas, snakes, parakeets, Umbrella Birds, parrots, sparrows, swallows, cocubes, humming birds, land pigeons, sparrow hawks, pelicans, etc.
The land area is considered one of the most important sites for bird watching in the world. De la Plata Island is important for eco-tourism as it counts with marine birds such as Blue, Red Footed and Masked Boobies, Frigate Birds, Pelicans, Tropical birds and Albatross.