It is a canton of the Province of Manabí in Ecuador. Its cantonal head is the city of Puerto López. Considered as a fishing port, tourist and agricultural center. It has the Machalilla National Park and is a humpback whale watching site.
Puerto López canton of Manabí considered by nature fishing port, tourist and agricultural center. It has the privilege of having the Machalilla National Park, cradle of cultures such as Machalilla, Chorrera, Guangala and Bahia. It is one of the most visited tourist areas of Ecuador, it has tourist attractions that go from the humid and dry tropical forest to coral reefs, islets and islands. A few minutes from Puerto Lopez is the commune of Salango, here is an archaeological museum; a short distance away is the island of Salango.
In the month of June and September tourists from all over the world come together, attracted by the observation of humpback whales. Its cuisine is based on seafood, dishes based on the oyster (concha spondylus) considered a sacred mollusk.
How to get to Puerto López
How to get to Puerto López from Quito?
In the Terrestrial Terminal of Quitumbe you can take the following companies that travel directly to Puerto López: Reina del Camino.
Approximate distance via land 463 km, travel time 9 hours.
How to get to Puerto López from Guayaquil?
In the Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil you can take the following companies that travel directly to Puerto López: Jipijapa Transport Cooperative.
Approximate distance via land 194 km, travel time 4 hours.
Flora Cantón Puerto López
Among the native plants of this area we find: creepers, manzanillo, muyuyo, palosanto, barbasco, cactus, papaya, chapuca, marine pechiche, myrtle or realito, marine purslane, tuna, among others.
Fauna Cantón Puerto López
In the surroundings of this beach you can find pelicans, buzzards, white heron, seagull, snails, crabs, among others.
Tourism Canton Puerto López
It has 135 tourist attractions, ranging from the humid and dry tropical forest, coral reefs, islets and islands such as La Plata, around which humpback whales can be observed, between June and September of each year. Among its attractions are the beach of Los Frailes, the White Water Museum, the Cloud Forest of San Sebastian, the Archaeological Museum in Salango and the Island of La Plata.
Gastronomy Cantón Puerto López
Shrimp Ceviche: Prepared with boiled shrimp, lemon juice, sour orange juice, mustard, tomato sauce, cilantro, pepper, paiteña onion. It is accompanied with chifles or canguil.
Seafood casserole: or peanut cake is a dish based on banana, peanuts and some type of fish.
Corviche: Prepared with banana stuffed with fish with a rehash of (colored butter with onion, ground peanuts, cumin, pepper, salt and coriander).
Tourism Canton Puerto López
Comuna de Agua Blanca Cantón Puerto López
Agua Blanca is an archaeological site in the heart of the Machalilla National Park, which stands out for the vestiges of a city of the Manteño period, the main one of the Salangome manor. In its time of greater development it came to have about 600 buildings.
The most outstanding elements of the Manteña Culture are observable in the Agua Blanca museum.
Next to the Buenavista River, a set of temples, squares and dwellings typical of the Manteña Culture of 1500 a. C.
Ceramic objects were found, such as pots with polypodia legs, jars, whistles, earthenware candlesticks, pots in the form of stirrups painted in two colors, solid human figures painted in red or with bands of that color.
The existence of human skeletons that denoted a humble condition of the Machalilla Culture, referring to the Middle Formative period, which extended from the south of Manabí to the province of El Oro and Isla Puná.
Attractions Comuna de Agua Blanca Cantón Puerto López
• An archaeological museum, funerary urns and the same customs of the town of Agua Blanca, complemented by the natural attractions of the sector such as sulfur wells and secondary forest, are an excellent reason to visit this place.
• San Sebastián, is its basic attraction adorned by an orderly natural landscape, where there are remnants of primary forests.
• Cultural: Museum and cemetery of the Manteña Culture, as well as archaeological ruins.
• Laguna de Azufre: A natural lagoon that at dawn is covered by a thin white layer due to the concentrations of sulfur that emanates from an underground volcanic root, gives name to the Agua Blanca commune.
The water mirror, in whose center it is four meters deep, is one of the attractions of the commune. The visitors muddy the body and face with the muddy clay that forms in the bed of the lagoon with medicinal purposes.
• Tourist Services: It has lodging services in cabins with single, double, triple rooms, with bathroom; does not have hot water service. It has capacity for 50 people. It also has an area for camping.
It offers its service with a restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch, snacks and dishes à la carte. Also feeding in the homes of the families of the community. Agua Blanca has 31 guides.
• Activities: Among the activities you can do in this community we can mention the following: walks, bike rides, campimg, horseback riding through the rainforest, shamanism, massages with palo santo oil, among others.
Machalilla National Park Canton Puerto López
It is an area of ecological and archaeological reserve of great importance. Its charm is in the combination of desert, the low areas of the park are dry and semi-desert, they present beautiful landscapes, beaches, bays and cliffs. It has an infinite range of marine and terrestrial species.
The Park is a true natural museum of the pre-Columbian history of Ecuador and South America. For several researchers dry forests are of greater importance in the world because of their high degree of endemism.
It has safe and quiet beaches, which stand out among rocky cliffs on its shores. These are the islands of La Plata and Salango, several smaller islands and picturesque islets and a marine area of two nautical miles that goes into the sea from the coast.
Extension of Machalilla National Park Cantón Puerto López
It is one of the most extensive protected areas of the Ecuadorian coast and includes two zones: one terrestrial (56 184 ha) and one marine (14 430 nm)
Climate Machalilla National Park Canton Puerto López
Dry, however, masses of marine air produce moisture. The average annual temperature fluctuates between 23.5 - 24.5 ° C.
Flora National Park Machalilla Canton Puerto López
The floristic richness of the Machalilla National Park (PNM) is very important for its abundance and endemism.
It is represented by: ceibo, algarrobo, acacia, laurel, guasmo, jaile, manzanillo, palosanto, muyuyo, barbasco, chala, papaya, ferns, bromeliads and orchids, fine moral, broadleaf, guayacán, bototillo, guarumo, breakwater, salty mount , lichens.
In the high parts of the Park there are large timber trees that have threatened status, such as simi standleyi, tagua or cade, molinillo, chalá.
The vegetation that is on the banks of the rivers has characteristics of semideciduous dry forest such as the Matapalos.
Fauna Machalilla National Park Canton Puerto López
The fauna diversity of the PNM, in the marine and terrestrial areas, is represented by 81 species of mammals, 270 of birds and 143 of fishes.
• Mammals: In the low-intervention forests of the upper zone, the most representative mammals are: colorado monkey, waxed deer, saíno pigs, tigrillos, armadillos, cusumbo, cuchucho, bear washer, squirrel, anteater, guanta, guatusas, among others
The most abundant and diverse order in this area is that of bats, with 21 species.
As for the mammals that inhabit the lower area can be mentioned: white-tailed deer, sechura mountain dog, savanna squirrel and bats.
The marine area, surrounding the PNM, is represented by 12 species of mammals, mainly cetaceans (whales and dolphins), sea lions.
The most representative group of cetaceans are: humpback whale, sperm whale, coastal buffalo or bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, pilot whale, spotted dolphin.
• Birds: The main species of the high zone are: partridge, sparrowhawk, turkey, head parrot, hummingbirds, trogons, toucan, black carpenter, chestnut nuthatch, bian bian.
In the low zone stand out typical species of the dry forests, such as: caracara cretado, tucupilla, viviña, pedrote, among others.
Of the total number of registered land birds, there are some with threat category, such as: dorsigris hawksbill, greyish-headed kestrelsp, slate-headed booby, swainson's toucan, guayaquileño carpenter, cejiblanco tinamú, chachalaca cabecirrufa, and red-rumped parrot.
Seabirds are divided into three groups:
• Coastal and continental shelf: pelican, blue-footed booby, frigate-major, black-headed vulture, red-headed vulture and osprey.
• Open or Pelagic Seas: These feed in the ocean and fly to land to nest.
A good example is the albatross, which live in small populations on the Island of La Plata.
• Reptiles: lizards, snakes x. Three of the four species of marine turtles present in Ecuador nest on the beaches of the PNM: green sea turtles, hawksbill turtles and leatherback turtles have been reported on the Isla de La Plata; like the only species of Pacific sea snake.
• Fishes: 143 species of reef fish were recorded: camotillos, codfish, mountaineers, damselfish, bathing sharks, sting rays, guitar stripes, rays, manta rays, dorado, banderon weevil, black weevil, hammerhead shark, chaparras and bottles.
• Invertebrates: ghost crabs, gastropod, cirripedios, mitilidos, sea urchins, starfish, starfish with fragile arms, sea cucumbers, panamic pillow star and pyramidal starfish, giant sea cucumber, coral, among others .
Attractions Machalilla National Park Canton Puerto López
• Agua Blanca Commune: Agua Blanca is an archaeological site in the heart of the park, which stands out for the vestiges of a city of the Manteño period, the main one of the Salangome manor. In its time of greater development it came to have about 600 buildings.
• Los Frailes Beach: one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador, it is a particularly beautiful area due to its cliffs and beaches, which are reached through a beautiful dry forest that exhibits species of flora and fauna typical of the area.
• El Rocío Ecological Trail: Located 5 km north of Machalilla, near Pueblo Nuevo. The long-lived trees of cascol and guayacán (300 years of life) found in a tropical dry forest call attention to this path.
• La Tortuguita Beach: It is a small inlet, open to the west, with a clear maritime horizon, to the east it is bordered by light hills and covered with thorny mountain vegetation. Its waters are transparent, have a light green color.
Pre-Columbian Cultures Machalilla National Park Cantón Puerto López
• Chorrera Culture: The ceramics of this culture are of neatly polished surface, looking almost like a mirror, on which different shades of red, black, smoky and yellowish white were used, separating the areas with points and incisions. The paint is iridescent and applied with negative technique. The vessels represent, with fidelity and naturalism, animals, plants, fruits, works of architecture and human beings.
• Bahia Culture: Bahia is, above all, known for its modeled ceramics. Some seem to represent temples, inside which there is a human figure with two serpents as staffs or scepters. Other ceramic figures represent animals, cradles, personal ornaments such as nose rings and earmuffs, musical instruments. The most common are figurines of naturalistic style, where people with their deformed head and richly dressed are shown.
• Guanjala culture: In this culture, large quantities of stone tools (chisels, axes, scrapers, hammers) were made that were used to carve wooden objects. Its forms range from great realism to complete stylization. You can identify female and male figures.
Isla Salango Cantón Puerto López
Isla Salango offers the opportunity to get to know the coral reef and enjoy the experience of surface diving in its new Marine Plot. With 4 km of beaches, diagonal to this is the Salango islet that offers a spectacular view of native birds and exotic flora, typical of the insular marine environment.
In addition to being the most important cosmo-ceremonial center of six pre-Columbian cultures (Valdivia, Machalilla, Chorrera-Engoroy, Bahia, Guangala, Manteña) of the Ecuadorian coast.
Here a group of native guides, share with the visitor their knowledge and experience in the protection of marine resources such as Coral and Spondylus Shell.
Attractions Isla Salango Cantón Puerto López
• It has a white sand beach which can be reached by boat. The panoramic view of the island is excellent for its spectacular cliffs and white waters.
• Parcela Marina, is a large natural aquarium that is located on the edge of the island Salango, almost only three meters deep.
Here tourists can snorkel and snorkel and see coral reefs, multicolored fish and all the infinite beauty of the marine fauna of the Ecuadorian coast.
Legend Isla Salango Cantón Puerto López
La Salango is one of the parishes of Puerto López, rich in anthropological history, was occupied for the first time by people of the Valdivia culture 1800 a. C. then by people of the Machalilla culture 1650 - 1330 a. C. to later become a ceremonial center of the first order.
The excavations carried out in the place reveal the existence of a platform and ceremonial enclosure that went through multiple reconstructions and modifications through 4 occupations, this platform and ceremonial enclosure also functioned as an elite cemetery.
Towards the Manteña era the ceremonial activities were moved to Salango and the area of the old shrine is a large shell processing center for the manufacture of amulets and lime basins.
Almost all the cultures that inhabited this territory used the shell spondylus to market with the other existing ethnic groups.
Beach of Puerto López
From Cerro Bola de Oro, to the southeast, to Cerro Las mesas, to the northwest, the beach is curved, facing west from the center of the inlet. The maritime horizon is headed by boats of different sizes, between the center and the southeast of the inlet.
Completely cleared, the space between the center and the southeast of the cove is maintained, coinciding with the alluvial plain of the Buenavista River mouth.
Towards the east (back of the inlet), the landscape is dominated by several hills that surround Puerto Lopez Beach.
The people are really very friendly and very simple, there are also some travel agencies where you can buy a tour a day to see the humpback whales in the month of June to October.
Attractions Puerto López Beach
• Humpback whales: During the season from June to September the area offers the possibility of admiring humpback whales (megaptera novcangliae), aboard yachts that meet all safety requirements.
The marine area of the PNM and its surrounding areas constitutes a natural refuge for these marine mammals that arrive annually to give birth to their young and to mate.
Famous for its spectacular jumps and sounds, can be observed by hiring this operator, in Puerto Lopez.
Frailes Beach Puerto López
Los Frailes is one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador, due to its extension, white sand, because of the tranquility it offers when separated from the road and because it is usually empty.
It belongs to the Machalilla National Park and is surrounded by cliffs and a viewpoint. To get to the beach you must cross a beautiful dry forest that exhibits species of flora and fauna typical of the area.
The fact of being inside the Machalilla Park has allowed to keep in a natural state, clean and quiet, where you can enjoy a warm bath, swim, walk or just relax on its wide beach, enjoying the softness of the white sand
For the more adventurous there is a path to the right that is more interesting, its journey requires more time, but it is worth the sacrifice, two beaches are visited and a viewpoint before Los Frailes, it is Playita Negra and La Tortuguita, which are more small and equally beautiful, but the bathroom is not allowed. Do not forget to bring water and sunscreen!
Although Los Frailes beach is in a semicircular bay, it has few waves and its waters look calm and seductive; Bathers must take care of their strong currents.
Location Los Frailes Cantón Puerto López Beach
It is located in the Machalilla National Park, south of the town of Machalilla and 12 km north of Puerto López.
Playa Los Frailes Extension Canton Puerto López
The beach of "Los Frailes" have an approximate length of 3 kilometers, from Punta Cabuya to Punta Los Frailes.
Climate Los Frailes Beach Canton Puerto López
The climate in Playa de los Frailes is hot. Its temperature varies between 25 and 29 ºC.
Flora Beach Los Frailes Cantón Puerto López
Among the native plants of this area we find: creepers, manzanillo, muyuyo, palosanto, barbasco, cactus, papaya, chapuca, marine pechiche, arrayan or realito, marine purslane, tuna, among others.
Fauna Playa los Frailes Cantón Puerto López
In the surroundings of this beach you can find pelicans, buzzards, white heron, seagull, snails, crabs, among others.
Attractions Los Frailes Beach Puerto López
• Hiking: Lovers of hiking and nature can take the longer path, which meanders through a dry forest with bottle-shaped trees with thick spines and elongated and thin cacti. In addition, there are rock formations, viewpoints, small bays and islets.
This path also passes through two beaches:
• Playita Negra, a small bay of black sand.
• Beach "La Tortuguita", its waters are transparent, have a light green color.
From La Tortuguita Beach you can return to the main road to Los Frailes Beach, or take another detour that leads through aromatic trees to a high clearing from where it is possible to see the shore.
Those who choose this trek will be rewarded with various wildlife sightings that may include blue footed boobies, frigate birds, lizards, deer, and of course, the white sands of the open and natural Los Frailes Beach.
Recommendations Playa los Frailes Cantón Puerto López
We recommend swimming in the company of other people and doing it only at the ends of the bay where the current is weakest. It is also recommended to bring plenty of water, sunblock and a big hat or a beach umbrella since there are few places with shade, and the beautiful views keep travelers on the beach longer than they would like to be.
Humpback whales Cantón Puerto López
Mammals arrive every year from Antarctica to the warm coasts of Ecuador. Puerto Lopez and the Isla de la Plata are ideal places for mating and reproduction. Once the females stop, they return with their young and the males to the frozen waters of Antarctica.
The whales are cetaceans and there are more than 83 species of them, some reaching up to 30 meters (100 feet) long like the blue whale (the largest animal in the world).
Characteristics Humpback Whales Cantón Puerto López
Female humpback whales can reach 16 m and are larger than males, (12 - 14 m). They weigh between 30 and 40 tons and at birth the young measure 4.5 to 5 meters, both the female and the male reach sexual maturity when they measure about 11 to 12 m. The body of the whale is robust, tapering quickly back from the dorsal fin.
The pectoral fins are a characteristic to identify the whales, since it is very long. These fins are flexible and appear to be important organs for touch.
The dorsal fin is after a hump, especially evident when the animal arches the back to start a dive, characteristic for which the species receives its common name.
When the whale submerges, it raises the caudal fin sufficiently out of the water, showing the slight S-shaped curve of the posterior margin of each lobe, as well as the white or white-spotted part. The caudal fin or tail is the natural identification of this mammal.
The color humpback whales are gray to black, the chest and in the part of the throat have a number of white spots. The pectoral fins of most whales are white at the bottom.
The beards are relatively short and black with black or olive colored bristles.
Reproduction humpback whales Cantón Puerto López
The surroundings of the marine environment of Isla de la Plata and Bajo Cantagallo are places where reproduction activities take place. The young are more common to observe between the months of August and September. The shallow waters, are preferred areas of mothers and offspring, since they provide greater protection.
In order to do this, humpback whales migrate from the cold waters of Antarctica to Ecuadorian waters 8,000 kilometers (in total 16,000 kilometers between arrival and return).
The humpback whales also perform songs and it is usually the males who sing; it is believed that the songs are related to courtship and mating. According to the studies carried out in the Machalilla National Park, the presence of songs indicates that it is a breeding area.
Time that the pups lactate: The pups survive on their mother's fat-rich milk for 8 to 10 months, then begin to feed independently. They almost double during their first year.
Behavior: Humpback whales dive for 3 to 7 minutes, then do 3 to 5 breaths, each breath for 30 to 40 seconds; in the mating their behavior is: sounds or songs (the males produce the song and it is different every day), jumps, pushes, etc.
Your Habitat Humpback Whales Cantón Puerto López
They have their habitat mainly in the Antarctic, in the south of the continent, in cold waters with an abundance of fish and krill which is the main food.
It is believed that due to the freezing cold of the Antarctic waters and their predators like the great sharks and orcas, they have to look for sites of safer and temperate waters, since their young are born with a very thin layer of fat, which does not it would allow to survive in icy waters. For this reason we can proudly say that the whales that are born in front of our coasts have Ecuadorian nationality.
World Festival of Humpback Whales Canton Puerto López
The World Humpback Whale Watching Festival, already a tradition, is held from June to October every year.
The date of the launching of observation season is from June 22 where you can observe the festival with allegorical parades, music, theater, gastronomy, folk groups, dance, paintings, handicrafts, etc. where all the expressions of arts are conjugated in a single place to welcome the visitors of Antarctica, the humpback whales.
Islote Los Ahorcados Cantón Puerto López
Islote "Los Ahorcados" is composed of two small islets located 2.2 kilometers west of Ayampe. No geological information is available, but making a correlation with the outcropping materials in the continent, it is assumed that these islets are composed of volcanic rocks, represented by diabases dolerites, pyroxenites and basalts.
The islet is constituted by three amorphous rocky protuberances that arise from the same base.
"Los Ahorcados" can be classified alternatively as "diving area", as it is recognized locally.
Among the activities that can be performed in Islote los Ahorcados are: snorkeling, coastal walk, sport fishing and whale and bird watching.
Location Islote Los Ahorcados Cantón Puerto López
The "Los Ahorcados" Islet is located 2.2 kilometers west of Ayampe.
Fauna Islote Los Ahorcados Cantón Puerto López
In this place you can see some species such as: frigates, blue footed boobies, pelicans, crabs, mule shell, among other species.
Flora Islote Los Ahorcados Cantón Puerto López
With a sparse vegetation, small patches in the high parts constituted by seedling trees.
Nearby Attractions Islados Los Ahorcados Cantón Puerto López
• Ayampe: It is one of the most beautiful areas of Manabi and one of the main attractions of the town, due to its calm waters is ideal for water sports such as: swimming, sport fishing, humpback whale watching, diving, water skiing , surfing and boat rides.
• Ayampe Beach: An ideal place for those who enjoy the sun, swimming and diving; has outdoor huts, plus a small boat house where you can rent all kinds of diving equipment, jet skis and tricimotos.
• Birdwatching in Ayampe: Taking walks along the Ayampe river valley will leave us with a pleasant surprise in the observation of multicolored birds that will delight us not only with their presence but with all the pleasant sounds that they emit in soft harmonic melody.