If you are planning a trip to the Ecuador Pacific Coast, Puerto Lopez is a great place to visit. Puerto Lopez, Ecuador is the quintessential coastal town and will give you an excellent sense of what life on the coast is like. This Puerto Lopez travel guide gives you the low down on this coastal town. In terms of how much time to spend in Puerto Lopez, two or three days will generally be sufficient. But what should you see and do, and where should you stay, and eat? Here is everything you need to know about a trip to Puerto Lopez.
Many of the main Puerto Lopez highlights are around the town, rather than actually in the town itself. One of the best Puerto Lopez highlights is a boat trip to visit Isla de la Plata. This island is considered the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” and you can often see blue footed boobies here, among other interesting creatures. Other highlights include the Los Frailes beach, which is a simply stunning stretch of coast within the Machalilla National Park. A tour to the park will typically include some time for relaxation on this outstanding beach. Another spot to visit is Agua Blanca – interesting historically as it has an archeological museum, but also for a dip in the sulfur hot springs too. A massive highlight of any trip to Puerto Lopez if you visit between June and September, is whale watching of humpback whales off the coast.
In Puerto Lopez itself there are also some very pleasant things to do. One of the nicest is to spend some time on the beach. The Puerto Lopez beach is in a lovely bay. You could also rent a bike and go for a ride in the nearby countryside. Other options include snorkeling or diving, which can also be done in the waters nearby. Alternatively, if you visit in the right months (June to September) you won’t want to miss a whale watching tour. Other things to do around Puerto Lopez are mentioned
above in the highlights section.
The weather is warm to hot all year around in Puerto Lopez. Between the months of January to April, this part of the coast can be a bit rainy.
High season is June to September, as this is whale watching season.
To get to Puerto Lopez, it is possible to fly to either Manta or Guayaquil, and take a bus or private transportation from there. The flight is approximately one hour. This saves a very long drive from Quito of several hours – a drive which you could do by public bus, or through hiring a car, or taking private transportation. Another option is to visit Puerto Lopez as part of an organized tour seeing more of the coast along the way.
Puerto Lopez has plenty of places to stay to suit all budgets. Hosteria Mandala is one of the places that visitors like the best. It has pleasant rooms, and a good restaurant as well as a friendly atmosphere. You might also consider Viejamar Hostel or Hotel Ancora. A bit of a drive out of town, Alandaluz Hosteria is a highly recommended spot with a beautiful white sand and quiet beach – but you won’t be in the thick of things.
As you might expect, as a town on the Pacific Coast of Ecuador, Puerto Lopez gastronomy is all about seafood. You won’t want to miss ceviche in particular. This is often served with shrimp, but sometimes other types of sea food, and it is a cold dish with the fish in a tomato sauce.
Served with almost everything you eat on the coast are patacones (fried plantain wedges) and rice. Sometimes the rice might be “marinero” (sea food style). Encocado is another coastal favorite that you could try in Puerto Lopez, which is fish or sea food in a coconut sauce. There are plenty of places to eat from shacks through to much nicer restaurants, but you can guarantee that the seafood will be delicious everywhere.
At Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders we thoroughly recommend visiting Puerto Lopez between June and September. That is because during these months, humpback whales visit the Ecuadorian coastline. You can take a boat tour for a half a day or so to see if you can spot the whales, which is an incredible experience. Also, don’t miss a morning walk along the beach when the fishermen are bringing in their catch. This is a great time to observe local life, and not least to watch the cheeky birds swooping in from above, trying to get their share. Finally, don’t leave the coast without trying a ceviche!
We are able to offer tours that include Puerto Lopez on the itinerary, and other areas along the Pacific Coast if desired. Contact us to find out the best way to include Puerto Lopez on your Ecuador tour.