Machalilla Travel Guide

  • Trail to Los Frailes
    Trail to Los Frailes
    by MalenaN
  • Agua Blanca
    Agua Blanca
    by MalenaN
  • Playa Los Frailes
    Playa Los Frailes
    by MalenaN

Machalilla Things to Do

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    by MalenaN Written Oct 28, 2012

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    I arrived by bus to the turnoff for Playa Los Frailes. I registered and the park ranger told me it was a 2 km walk to Playa Los Frailes and that it was safe to walk there. I started to walk along the dirt road, but soon I saw a path and a sign saying that this was the starting point of a 3 km long trail to Playa Los Frailes. Of course I choose to take the trail, as it was much nicer to walk there instead of the dusty dirt road. Along the trail there were some information boards telling about the flora in the area and there were signs with the name of a few locations.

    Along the path there were Palo Santo trees, Yellow Geiger and different bushes. I saw a snake, lizards and some butterflies. At Mirador Isolete Sucre there was a beautiful view over the coast, Isolete Sucre and Machalilla. From the viewpoint the path descended to the small quiet beach Playa Prieta, where only Ghost Crabs ran around. The next beach I came to was Playa Tortuguita. It was also beautiful and tranquil, but here I saw the first person I had seen since I started my walk. He was leaning against one of the rocks and he was smoking. It is forbidden to smoke in the park, something the park ranger had told me and he wanted me to tell that to people if I saw anyone doing it. Alone on this beach with a stranger I absolutely didn’t want to go over to him and tell him to stop smoking in the National Park. I continued my walk and came to a fork in the trail. One path was leading up to Mirador Las Frigatas and the other one to Playa Los Frailes. I walked up to the view point first, from where there was a fabulous view along the coast. At this view point there were some other people too. I walked back down and then there was just a few hundred metres left to Playa Los Frailes.

    The walk along the trail, with stops to read signs and to take photos, took over an hour. When I left Playa Los Frailes I walked the dirt road back and it took about half an hour.

    Playa Tortuguita, Machalilla NP Playa Prieta, Machalilla NP The trail to Playa Los Frailes The trail to Playa Los Frailes
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    • National/State Park
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking

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    by MalenaN Written Oct 27, 2012

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    Playa Los Frailes is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Ecuador. It is a long crescent-shaped beach with crabs running over the white sand. The water is turquoise and behind the beach are hills with dry forest vegetation. There are strong currents so be careful if you go swimming. Unfortunately I couldn’t swim as I had had an operation only a week previously. There were not many people on the beach when I visited and it was very calm and quiet.

    I arrived to Playa Los Frailes by walking the 3 km long trail, so the first glimpse I got of the beach was from the viewpoint Las Fragatas. It is a lovely view, so even if you have arrived to Playa Los Frailes by car it is worth walking the trail up to the viewpoint.

    Behind the beach there is a car parking, bathrooms, a few souvenir stalls and a place selling drinks and snack.

    In my guidebooks it says you must pay a high national park admission before coming here, but in July 2012 when I visited it didn’t cost anything, luckily. Playa Los Frailes is within the Machalilla National Park.

    Playa Los Frailes, Ecuador Playa Los Frailes, Ecuador Crab on Playa Los Frailes Playa Los Frailes, Ecuador Playa Los Frailes, Ecuador
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    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches

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    by MalenaN Written Oct 26, 2012

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    Agua Blanca is a small village situated within the Macalilla National Park. There are around 300 inhabitants in the village and there is a small museum, a church and a couple of restaurants.

    When you visit you pay an admission of $5 (July 2012) at the turnoff on the main road. From there it is another 5 km to walk. The admission includes a visit to the small museum in the village and a 2h guided walk in the area around the village. The guiding is in Spanish.

    I visited the museum on my own and then I went on the guided tour with two other tourists and a guide from the village. We walked passed farmland and were told that they cultivate without pesticides in Agua Blanca. We continued through typical dry forest landscape with Ceibos, Palo Santo and Barbasco trees. The trail also passes an important archaeological site of the Manteño culture. They lived here around AD 800 – 1500 and what can be seen here today are the base of several hundred buildings. Some of the artifacts found at the excavations of the area can be found in the small museum in the village. We continued to a large sulfur pool where I would have liked to take a dip but because I had done an operation a week earlier I couldn’t. On the way back to the village I saw there was a view point and I thought the guide was going to take us there. He passed the path up to the view point so I asked if we couldn’t go there. And as the other two tourists also wanted to go there we did.

    Agua Blanca, Macalilla National Park Agua Blanca, Parque Nacional Machalilla Agua Blanca, Macalilla National Park Agua Blanca, Parque Nacional Macalilla Agua Blanca, Macalilla National Park
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Archeology

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Machalilla Transportation

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    by MalenaN Written Oct 23, 2012

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    To Los Frailes:
    The turnoff for Los Frailes is situated about 10 km north of Puerto Lopez. To go there I took a bus from the market in Puerto Lopez. It only took 10 minutes and it was $0.40 (July 2012). I registered at the park entrance and the park ranger told me it was safe to walk the road to Los Frailes and that it was about 2 km. After walking for a while I came to the beginning of a path leading to Los Frailes. The path was 3 km long and I took that instead of following the dirt road. Taking the path took an hour as there were nice places to stop at along the way. When I went back I took the road and it took half an hour to walk to the main road, where I waited a while for a passing bus to take me back to Puerto Lopez.

    To Agua Blanca:
    The turnoff to Agua Blanca is situated 5.5 km north of Puerto Lopez, and to go there I once again took a northbound bus from Puerto Lopez. It was also $0.40. At the turnoff I registered and paid the admission for the national park, which was $5 (July 2012). From the main road there is another 5 km to walk until you come to Agua Blanca. When I had walked about halfway a minibus stopped and I got a lift the rest of the way. The same happened on the way back, about halfway back to the main road a car stopped and gave me a lift. It turned out they were going to Puerto Lopez so I could go with them all way back.

    The road to Agua Blanca The road to Agua Blanca The road to Los Frailes The road to Los Frailes
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Backpacking

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