During the months of June to September Ecuador is filled with an acrobatic spectacle of humpback whales on its shores. They come every year in search of warmer waters, some to mate others to give birth and raise their calves.
These marine mammals belong to the family of cetaceans and are among the group of barbel whales. The so-called "giants of the sea" are of great importance to Ecuadorians.
In 1990 Ecuador declared a Whale Refuge in its territorial waters, and a whale sanctuary in the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
Along the Ecuadorian Coast you will find several places for whale watching. Infrastructure and services stand out in each site, to ensure the safety of travelers seeking to live a natural and loving experience in Ecuadorian waters.
The provinces of Manabí, El Oro, Santa Elena and Esmeraldas, in the months of June to October, are visited by humpback whales that travel 8,000 km from Antarctica to breed in the center of the world.
Manabí and Salinas are the ideal sites to observe these marine species; however, Atacames, Súa, Mompiche, Muisne in Esmeraldas; Pedernales, Cojimies, Jama, Crucita, Bahía de Caráquez, Manta, Puerto Cayo and Puerto López in Manabí, offer several tour packages to enjoy this natural spectacle.
Also, on the Isla de la Plata or "small Galápagos" in Puerto López; Salinas and Ayangue in Santa Elena; and, Santa Rosa Island in El Oro, these cetaceans are observed. In contrast, in Puerto El Morro, located in the province of Guayas, throughout the year, you can see the magical dolphins.
Places to Observe the Humpback Whales in Ecuador
From Salinas Ecuador
It is known as the Blue Paradise of the South Pacific. This canton has a great tourist offer both in first class accommodation and in restaurants that offer an exquisite variety of dishes made from sea fruits, as well as delicious cocktails that can be enjoyed by the sea.
The tourism operators provide services such as rides on jet skis, kayaking, whale watching, among other activities.
All this providing the necessary security to those who wish to have fun in the warm and peaceful waters of this spa.
How to get to Salinas Ecuador?
From Guayaquil: You can take the buses from the Liberty Peninsular, Liberpesa or CICA transport cooperatives that arrive at the Salinas terminal in the Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil.
We can also find the Ruta del Sol transport cooperative, which provides an executive service. The approximate travel time is 2 hours.
From Quito: You can take a plane to the city of Guayaquil and then take the transport cooperatives mentioned above. The approximate flight time is 45 minutes.
In private or rented car: Take the E-40 motorway.
Tourist Attractions in the Province of Santa Elena
Sumpa Lovers Museum
Located in the Amantes de Sumpa neighborhood, Rafael Balseca Avenue and El Universo Street in Sta. Elena. In all the area that includes the archaeological site, there are evidences of very old occupations of different cultures and especially the finding of around 200 human skeletons, which constitutes the largest American cemetery of that time.
Among these remains were found the skeletons of a man of 25 years and a woman of 20 facing east, the investigations made it was concluded that they were buried in a very careful way as their members simulate a hug. On both were placed six stones of considerable size, probably in an attempt to protect their spirits. Since then, this pair of vestiges was known as "The Lovers of Sumpa" and it was in his honor that the museum was named after him.
From the top of a cliff, the sea extends its influence to all the senses and the sound of the waves accompanies the rest offered by the Farallón Dillon inn, located in the Ballenita parish, 20 minutes from Salinas. Here life is recreated in detail in a boat. The surprising collection of nautical items is an essential part of the decorative elements of rooms, corridors, bathrooms and restaurant.
It is a resort recognized as "The Pacific pool" for its peaceful waters, this is because mountains bursts into the sea, giving the appearance of a natural pool. It provides services in accommodation, food and beverages, in addition to the tour operators that offer the practice of sport and artisanal fishing, whale watching, snorkeling, diving, among other activities.
From Montañita Ecuador
Montañita, included in the World Network of Surf Cities in 2016 (WSCN), is a favorite area to practice this sport for national and international tourists.
The waves formed in this area are perfect for those who practice surfing. In 2013, the monument to the surfer was created by author Gustavo Vargas. This work projects the importance of this sport in the commune.
From Puerto López - Manabí - Ecuador
Puerto Lopez is internationally recognized as the sanctuary of humpback whales, for its beauty and potential was recently declared Protected Tourism Area, which means that it will have a strong state intervention to improve the territory in all areas.
It has a variety of attractions ranging from the natural ones such as the humid and dry tropical forest, coral reefs, Los Frailes beach, to cultural ones such as the Agua Blanca Museum and the Archaeological Museum in Salango. It has a private and community accommodation service, as well as a variety of food and beverage establishments.
How to get to Puerto López?
From Guayaquil: Buses from the Jipijapa cooperative can be taken at the Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil.
From Quito: You can take busses from the cooperative Reina del Camino and Carlos Alberto Aray at the Quitumbe Terminal.
By private car or rented: On the E-40 motorway take the detour to the E-15 motorway.
Tourist Attractions in the Province of Manabí
Archaeological Museum of Salango
It is located 5 km south of Puerto López in the town of Salango. The Pre-Columbian Archaeological Museum of the Salango Commune is the first InSitu Museum in Ecuador. It has an extraordinary original and authentic collection of ceramic objects and shell spondylus that reflect the cosmovision, social structure and pottery of the pre-Columbian peoples of the current Ecuadorian territory. The exhibition shows the use and function of the pieces, the pottery technology, as well as the interrelation with nature and the daily life of these human groups in their different stages of their settlement and cultural development.
Beach "Los Frailes"
It is located south of the town of Machalilla and 12 km north of Puerto López. The beach of "Los Frailes" have an approximate length of 3 kilometers, from Punta Cabuya to Punta Los Frailes.
Los Frailes is one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador, is a particularly beautiful area for its cliffs and beaches, which is reached through a beautiful dry forest that exhibits species of flora and fauna typical of the area.
Los Frailes Beach is one of the protected areas of the Machalilla National Park, which has kept it natural, clean and calm.
The White Water Commune
It is located 12 km north of Puerto López, approximately 5 km away from the main road.
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. In its time of greater development it came to have about 600 buildings. Among the activities that can be done is a three-hour walk and a tour of the museum, then a tour of the urns and archaeological remains and continue with the walk until you reach the lagoon with sulfuric water (medicinal).
From Súa Province of Esmeraldas Ecuador
Súa is a beautiful bay, surrounded by spectacular mountains where waterfowl communities live as pelicans, gulls, blue footed boobies, frigates and others. The Súa Beach is approximately 2 kilometers long and approximately 8 meters wide. It has a good hotel infrastructure and all the necessary tourist services at accessible and competitive prices.
One of the main attractions in Súa is the Isla de los Pájaros, which is eight minutes by boat from the town and the Cueva del Amor, formed by the action of the waves on the sides of the rocks.
How to get to Súa?
From Guayaquil: You can take the bus from the Trans Esmeraldas and Occidental cooperatives that leave from the Terminal Terrestre de Guayaquil and that arrives in Atacames. From there you can take the Pacífico or Costeñita cooperatives, which make a tour to the south of the province.
From Quito: You can take the bus from Trans Esmeraldas to Atacames and from there take the Pacífico or Costeñita cooperatives.
By private car or rented: On the E-40 motorway take the detour to the E-15 motorway.
Tourist Attractions of the Province of Esmeraldas
Cave of the Goblin
The interior of the cave is formed by walls and rock roofs from which the stalactites hang. The soil is made of rock and sand, in some sections there are freshwater pools and ceramic remains can be found. Inside the cave there are stretches where the roof can be 0.70 meters from the ground and in others it can reach 30 meters above the ground.
You can observe certain species of fauna such as river shrimp, pangoras, crickets, spiders, bats, beetles and small fish.
Due to the formation of stalactites that are observed inside the cave it can be said that there is a predominance of calcium carbonate
Island of the Birds
On this magical island you can see: blue footed boobies, pelicans, frigates, semi-lively plover, laughing gull, reddish-brown curlew, reddish-brown curlew, beach sandpiper, lobsters, crabs, oysters, sea cucumbers, among others.
At low tide the visitor can walk on the beach of Súa, cross the mouth of the river, walk along the profile of the cliff and approach the island to appreciate close up the birds and the caves that because of the waves have been forming .
Check the Humpback Whale Watching Guide in Ecuador