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Your Latin American Wildlife Tour begins in Quito from where you will board a 30-minute flight to Manta or Portoviejo. Here you will be met by our representative who will drive you to Machalilla National Park.
On the road, there will be a stop to visit the home of the legendary Panama hat, Montecristi. For approximately one hour, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the air and the history of this notable coastal town, with its residents engaged in the weaving of these extraordinary straw hats. You will continue your trip to Machalilla National Park along the roads that offer splendid views of coastal Manabí. Upon your arrival at Mantaraya Lodge, a sumptuous lunch will be waiting for you. In the afternoon, our proficient naturalist leader will present you with a range of activities that you may choose from. You may either go to the beach, venture into a fishing village, or hike through an exceptional moist forest to experience your first encounter with the local flora and fauna. After dinner, an introductory talk will be given about Machalilla National Park and the activities for the following day.
It is time to discover the wonders of Machalilla National Park. Located in the heart of the park, the village of Agua Blanca offers you the opportunity to observe the archaeological remains of the once powerful Salango Chiefdom, which was part of the Manteño culture. With the help of various organizations, the community of Agua Blanca, with more than 400 inhabitants, is engaged in several projects for rescuing the archaeological ruins and improving the management of tourism activities. There are a great number of activities in the area to choose from:
You could visit the Agua Blanca archaeological museum to learn about pre-Columbian cultures, the local way of life and the natural history of the area from one of the native guides.
Or for adventurers, there will be an opportunity to explore the San Sebastian fog forest on horseback.
In addition to the walking tours, we can arrange for a bike ride through the Buena Vista valley dirt road (about 5km distance). This trip gives you the opportunity to be in close contact with the deciduous tropical dry forest enjoying nature and the lifestyle of local people.
* These are optional excursions and activities, and as such are not included in the cost of the program; please contact your booking agent to schedule this activity in advance. The biking adventure is an intense and demanding activity that requires an above-average level of fitness. Please note that if you are particularly sensitive to heat, this may not be the trip for you.
The visit to Agua Blanca village is an all-day activity. For this reason, a boxed lunch and plenty of water will be provided during the tour. On the ride back to the hotel, you may make an optional stop by the fishing town of Puerto Lopez and stroll through the “Malecón” or Main Street along the beach, to enjoy a tour of the town’s corners. This visit is entirely up to you. After dinner, the excursion leader will provide a briefing about the activities that will take place the following day, and if you are interested, a lecture regarding a special topic about Machalilla National Park.
Today you will explore the wonders of the offshore Isla de la Plata. The Silver Island is an outstanding wildlife sanctuary for seabirds and other marine life. Your sea adventure begins at the tranquil harbor of Puerto Lopez, where we will board the comfortable Mantaraya boat. Navigation to the island will take about an hour and a half. There are 3 main activities for this full-day tour. One is hiking along the established trails on the island with our naturalist guide to learn more about the natural, geological and cultural history of La Plata. You may decide to take either the long or short trail. There will also be plenty of time to go snorkeling and observe an interesting marine ecosystem around Drake’s bay. If you simply would like to swim and relax on the beach, you will have the opportunity to do so. A boxed lunch and water will be offered to you during this trip.
In the afternoon, our boat will navigate back to Puerto Lopez where our bus will take us back to Mantaraya Lodge. After dinner, our excursion leader will provide a briefing about the activities for the following day.
Humpback whales can be seen from mid-June through to mid-October. Whale watching is included with the Silver Island tour during this season.
The rocky cliffs, bays, and wide beaches of southern Manabí are surely an alluring attraction for anyone. That is why today’s tour is going to be on the unspoiled white sand beach of Los Frailes; which is one of the 3 major protected seashores of Machalilla National Park, where the nesting of at least two species of sea turtles (carey and green turtles), takes place each year between January and May.
The 3 gorgeous beaches at los Frailes are separated by tropical coastal scrub vegetation and eroded headlands. To get here you may choose to walk along a natural trail that starts near the entrance road and ends at the main beach. This path goes along the seashore, offering an exceptional coastline view and access to the three beaches. The hike lasts approximately 3 hours and offers you the chance to observe different species of flora and fauna that inhabit the coastal scrub.
Once in Los Frailes, you may simply relax and sunbathe, walk along the natural path, swim in the warm equatorial waters, or perhaps snorkel and enjoy the vivid marine creatures you may encounter. Lunch will be served at the hotel and after a well-deserved rest, our excursion leader will bring you to the small fishing village of Salango.
This small town, located south of Puerto Lopez, has an interesting museum with samples collected at different sites, both inside and outside the Machalilla National Park
The last day of your Ecuador Wildlife Tour will offer you the chance to visit the tropical moist forest, also known as fog forest. On a trip with our naturalist guide, you may see over 20 different birds species, learn about the local flora, and understand why this ecosystem is different from the others you have already experienced. For approximately two hours you may be a part of this marvelous paradise and experience the sensation of being in the real jungle. Lunch will be waiting for you at the lodge.
In the afternoon, you will have some time to pack and get ready to leave Machalilla National Park. The trip back to Manta or Portoviejo airport will take approximately 2 hours. Upon your arrival to the airport, our staff will take care of your ticket and boarding pass for your return to Quito.
Requires a spirit of adventure and some degree of fitness, as the trip might consist of many activities or long journeys. These adventures involve walking, trekking, hiking, cycling, rafting, sea kayaking, or driving for long hours, at times for up to six to eight hours a day at a steady pace. The maximum altitude is 3000m, so it requires you to be reasonably physically fit because you may be travelling in extreme weather conditions. The trips are usually 6 to 12 days in duration.
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