Puerto Lopez, Ecuador
October 13, 2014 — We took a bus down the Ruta del Sol (Route of the Sun) to Puerto Lopez. Ruta del Sol is also Ecuadorian State Route E15 that travels north and south, from Colombia to Salinas, Ecuador. South of Manta it’s a very picturesque coastline. I was impressed. With mountains that meet the sea and long stretches of untouched empty beaches, there were a few ooh ahh moments.
Puerto Lopez is now my favorite beach in Ecuador. This beautiful tourist spot sits in a wide bay with hills on each end. The deep blue waters are calmer here, opposed to Puerto Cayo to the north and Montanita to the South. Puerto Lopez is just two hours from Manta via a bus.
One morning we walked for quite a stretch on the easy to walk on sand — the wet sand never even producing a footprint — and we pretty much had the entire length of it to ourselves. And with cameras and cell phones in hand, there was NO threat of being robbed–unlike on Atacome’s beach. One beachfront hotel owner, who spoke perfect English because he lived 33 years in the States, said that Puerto Lopez is probably 95 to 99 percent free of ladrones (thieves). Muy tranquilo!
We got to eat on the waterfront patio of his very attractive hotel, which sits right on the beach. We had a wonderful Wahoo fish sandwich with probably the best fries that I’ve ever had in my entire life!
He gave us a tour of some of the hotel’s rooms. They run from $56 per night, to around $80 something with an ocean view. The place is called the Victor Hugo Hotel.
One thing that’s very plentiful along Puerto Lopez’s beach, are sand dollars. There were tons and tons of them sitting there just below the sand’s surface.
There are no condos or highrises in Puerto Lopez. But it is a tourist town, as we met foreigners from Europe, Argentina and the States. And we were told, that of many of the expats living here are from Canada.
About an hour from the mainland is a popular tourist attraction called Isla de la Plata, also dubbed The Poor Man’s Galapagos. The tour runs about $40.00 per person and takes all day. Since Fred and I have already been to the Galapagos Islands, this we skipped. It is a guided tour and supposedly involves a lot of up and down walking. Isla de la Plata is also part of Machalilla National Park.
In fact, the coast is dotted with many tiny islands. These mountain tops probably dot the ocean all the way to the actual Galapagos!
We chose the guided museum tour in the mainland park. ($5.00) The museum is in a Quichuen village within Machalilla Park and includes a round trip guided hike which ends at a natural hot springs pool — it didn’t feel so hot to us — before returning to the village. The tour was in Spanish, but when we needed it, we had the privilege of having a French guy in our group do the interpreting.
.We loved Puerto Lopez, Ecuador!
Next stop, Montanita