most of the year, the dominating cold Humboldt current from the South causes
very low rainfall, while the warm current from the North, makes the relative
humidity rise, resulting in increased rainfall during the rainy season. There
are no fresh water open water bodies on the island.
As Isla de la Plata is
part of Machalilla National Park, its conservation is part of the legislation
that protects the entire park. The latter is made up of two parts: the mainland of 56,184 ha and the
marine area o 14,430 ha. Decreed on July 26, 1979, by Interministerial
Resolution A-322 and 376, it was published in the Official Registry of November
20, 1979 R. O. No. 069. The park and the island are administered from its headquarters in Puerto López.
Isla de la Plata: Located at a distance of 37 km from
Puerto Lopez. According to legend, the name refers to the famous sailor of the
sixteenth century, Sir Francis Drake, who supposedly left his treasure,
conquered from Spanish ships, somewhere hidden on the island.
During the tours to isla de la Plata, tourists can watch dolphins and with
some luck, Stingrays. From June to September the Humpback Whales, Megaptera
novaeangliae, come to the region to mate.
Just like Galapagos, Isla de La Plata has a very interesting
birdlife, which includes nesting colonies of Blue-footed, Red-footed and Masqued
Boobies as well as of Frigate Birds. The organized excursions include a visit to
the islands as well as snorkeling. Small beaches and cliffs are roosts for
oceanic birds. Whale-watching and scuba-diving excursions are organized
A covered picnic open picnic building / visitor center (no exposition) at
Drake's Bay offers shade. From this
center you begin the excursions to the colonies of birds, and see the natural
On board of a Isla de la Plata, Ecuador tour boat.
Isla de la Plata, Ecuador tours: Arrival at the beach at the island at Drake's Bay.
Feeling green turtles and the harbor of Drake's Bay.
Boarding the Isla de la Plata tour boatto Puerto Lopez
Isla de la Plata, Ecuador tours start at the harbor building of
National Park Machalilla.
Covered picnicarea of Machalilla National Park at the harbor of Drake's Bay.
Brown Pelicans on the rocks.
Watching the Blue-footed Boobies.
There are a number of trails crossing the island, but they can only be taken
with a guide. The Isla de la Plata tours all provide bottled water, which is a must to bring
along on the trail.
Blue-footed Booby on the coastal cliff.
Blue-footed Booby with young.
Guided tours on the island.
Green turtles, Chelonia
mydas, surface in the harbor of Isla de la Plata as
operators feed them.
There are two different rocky
ecosystems in the coastal zone:
Rocky and coral reefs down to a depth of 25 m.
there is a shallow reef, between the mainland and Isla de la Plata,
the Bajo de Cantagallo, which is a rocky submarine plain.
Humpback Whale, Megaptera
novaeangliae, mates near the Bajo de Cantagallo and it also appears to be
on a migration route of other
marine mammals.These reefs have a great diverse ichthyofauna, as well as
a rich invertebrates fauna and macroalgae flora.
The following vegetation formations
are recognized on the island:
Dry coastal srubland 0 - 20
The coastal vegetation from the beaches
up to 20 masl.
Characteristic are associations of species
such as the seaweed, Maytenus octogona and salt marsh, Cryptocarpus
pyriformis, while on cliffs above sea level, Galvezia leucantha can
Dry coastal scrubland.
Matorral seco de tierras bajas.
Dry lowland shrubland
(20 - 150 masl):
The shrubs are dry, spiny and low (1 - 6 m high), such as Monvillea diffusa,
Manzanillo, Hyppomane mancinella, Palosanto, Bursera graveolens,
Muyuyo Cordia Lutea, Barbasco Jacquinia sprucei,
intermixed with tall cacti.
area of the park is frequented by 12 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins):
Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, Sperm Whale, Physeter
macrocephalus, Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, Common
Dolphin, Delphinus delphis, Pilot Whale, Globice phalamacrorhynchus,
Spotted Dolphin, Stenella attenuata. Occasionally, a Galapagos Seal
wanders off to the island.
Seabirds are divided into
three groups: shore birds, coastal birds and oceanic birds.
In the first two groups: Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis,
Blue-footed booby, Sula nebouxii, Great Ffrigate Bird, Fregata
magnifcens, Osprey, Pandion haliaetus.
boobies feed mainly on fish and squid at sea for which you see them often diving
into the water from considerable heights.Both species form large colonies. Birds of the
order Procellariformes are exclusively pelagic or oceanic birds that they feed
in the ocean and only fly to land to nest.
A good example is the Galapagos Albatrosses, Diomedea irrorata,
which live in small colonies at Isla de la Plata.
breed on Isla de la Plata.
Brown Pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis,
are common along the entire Pacific coast.
Of the four species of marine turtles
in Ecuador the Green Turtle,
Chelonia mydas agassizii; is always see in the harbor of the island,
where they are fed by the tour operators for which they come to the surface. The Olive Ridley
Turtle has is known from the island.
other species occurring in Ecuador, Carey
Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, and
Leatherback Turtle, Dermochelys
coriacea live in the sea surrounding the island.
Green turtle hatchling.
The Green, Iguana Iguana, is very common
along the Pacific coast, including on the island.
The ichthyofauna of the park can be divided into: reef, pelagic and
demersal (bottom) fish. 143 reef fish species have been recorded, 94%
were bony fish and the rest were cartilaginous (spine, mainly sharks) fish.
There is a large variety of invertebrates in
the sandy and rocky intertidal zones which is a different ecosystem with many
species that only occur in that zone.
park is located
at a distance of 435km (8 hours) from Quito, (185 km) (3.5 hours)
from Guayaquil and 90 km (1,5 hours) from Manta. The most convenient way
to get there from Quito, is to fly to Manta and from travel to PuertoLopez in private transport.
is by the roads connecting Puerto López - Jipijapa to the north and La Libertad
to the south.
Many tour operators in Puerto Lopez sell excursions to the
island, leaving between 9:30 and 10:00, to return around 16:00.
The Cuyabeno Loop explores the breathtaking scenery of lower
Cuyabeno and Zábalo Rivers and the Cuyabeno Lake. Watch the
amazing birds and wildlife. Pass 2 nights with the amazing
Cofan Indians in the Cofan Lodge and enjoy 2 nights of
comfort in the famous Cuyabeno Lodge.
The Lagarto Cocha Expedition on hidden creeks and lakes
is the best Amazon journey in Ecuador! Discover Indian
tribes in Ecuador, Monkeys, Sloths, Dolphins. No other
Amazon rainforest in any of the Amazon-Andean countries
can match the wildlife viewing of Lagartococha!
The Cuyabeno Lake Programs explores all the wild places
surrounding the Cuyabeno Lake. Bonsai-shaped Macrolobia
trees with the whispering of the mysterious prehistoric
Hoatzin birds and the noisy Blue and Yellow Macaws. Our
Cuyabeno Lodge is on the best location, because we were the
first and chose the best location on a seasonal island in
the Cuyabeno Lake itself.
Our Northern Andes Tour lets you get a taste of some of
the best Andean National Parks, visiting the highest
groves in the world: the Polylepis trees, the highest
mountain in the world calculated from the center of the
Earth, the Chimborazo with Vecuñas and Lamas, the
highest active volcano in the world, the Cotopaxi.
Our National Parks Tours take you on a fantastic journey along the best possible
sample of Andean and coastal parks. They have been designed to complement
Galapagos and/or Amazon cruises. They can start from different places,
particularly Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. While the full program lasts 9 days,
it is possible to make a limited selection of parks, like the 6 days' "Andes and
A fabulous program for visiting the most famous cultural
highlights Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.
At the same time it serves as the Lima hub for the Peru
National Parks Tour. This module is an extension to our
National Parks Tour Ecuador and/or Galapagos National Park
and/or Amazon Cruises.