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Beings who come from the beginnings
teach us about your forms and colors

Show us your labyrinths and rough terrain
Your nests and your landscapes

MACHALILLA NATIONAL PARK

A land-marine treasure in the south american pacific.
This interesting and rich national park is located in continental Ecuador, in the coastal province of Manabi between the counties of Puerto Lopez and Jipijapa.

It has an extension of 55,000 hectares and includes the islands of La Plata and Salango, besides islets, rocks, cliffs, bays and beaches; these, together with its beautiful views and untouched areas constitute the major attraction of the park.

The most important beaches are Los Frailes, Salaite, La Playita, Los Balsamos, La Tortuguita, etc. Among the islets and rocks we have Pedernales, La Viuda, Sucre, Horno de Pan, Punta Mala, etc. De la Plata Island has an extension of 12km2 and a maximum of 167meters above sea level, and is located 22 nautical miles to the northwest of Puerto Lopez. Its main features are rocky cliffs, beaches, bays, and rocks.

The land area features the only primary tropical dry forest along the Ecuadorian coast, with an important transition towards tropical humid forest in the San Sebastian area. The land area counts with many archaeological sites, due to settlements during the Ecuadorian prehistoric era, starting from the Machalilla to the Manteño-Huancavilca cultures. The most significant cultural resource is found in the Buena Vista River Valley, and includes the Agua Blanca ruins, besides other places with ceramics. The outstanding feature of the Manteña culture is the "U" shaped chair that meant power.

In ancient times De la Plata Island was a center for religious worship of the Ecuadorian prehistoric cultures.

It is further believed that many years later the island was used as refuge for pirates, among them the famous Sir Francis Drake, who brought terror with his visits to the Spanish colonies from the years 1570 to 1596. Legends say that Drake captured a Spanish galley full of silver from Peru and that he buried it in the island; thus the name of De la Plata Island.

The abundant vegetation of the land area includes species such as Algarrobo, Palo Santo, Ceibo (Kapok), Muyuyo, Tuna, Barbasco, Fernan Sanchez, Matapalo, Guayacan, Balsa, Laurel, among others. De la Plata Island has flora similar to that of the continent. The great fauna bio-diversity from the coast to the highest part of the island includes deer, guantas, guatusas (a kind of agouti), howler monkeys, squirrels, ant bears, land iguanas, snakes, parakeets, Umbrella Birds, parrots, sparrows, swallows, cocubes, humming birds, land pigeons, sparrow hawks, pelicans, etc.

The land area is considered one of the most important sites for bird watching in the world. De la Plata Island is important for eco-tourism as it counts with marine birds such as Blue, Red Footed and Masked Boobies, Frigate Birds, Pelicans, Tropical birds and Albatross.
Puerto Lopez, a fisher-mans village within the Machalilla Natural Park, is the starting point of tourist operations in the area. Here begins the unique adventure of observing the marine-land eco-system offered by the pacific coast of Ecuador.

La Plata Island bottoms are, most of the time, made up of rock combined with massive Coral Reef Patches in good condition, coral fans (Gorgonians) and sand areas. The fauna is very rich and interesting, there are big groups of reef fishes like: angelfish, butterfly fish, trumpet fish, flute fish, jacks, sea basses, puffer fish, balloon fish, morays, snappers, trigger fish, parrot fish, scorpion fish, manta rays, guitar rays and white tip sharks. We can also see some green marine turtles, different species of sea stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers.

Our dive programs from one to five days include:

  • Airplane Ticket to Manta
  • Private Land Transfer Manta/Pto. Lopez/Manta
  • Nights in Tourist class Hotel (Double Accommodation)
  • All meals and Snack's on Aboard
  • Dive Boat
  • All Diving Equipment
  • PADI Instructor/Divemaster.

You can combine your dives with very interesting land trips in to the National Park

Whale Watching
Since 1990, the ecuadorian territorial waters have been declared "Whale Natural Shelter", therefore these species are protected under ecuadorian Law.Besides, any activity which put in danger their lifes is strictly forbiden because they are still an extinction danger species.
In the M.N.P. waters, it is not remarkable to find these fabulous Marine Mammals (whales and dolphins), who use to increase their number during some periods of the year.

The Observation of these animals in their own natural environment , became a very popular world-wide activity. The touristical activity at the M.N.P., started to increase a few years ago, due to the presence of these fabulous individuals. Each year, from June to September the whale watching, specialty of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), become the most popular activity in this area.

The Humpback Whale population (Yubartas) that we can see at the M.N.P. and De La Plata Island, come from the Antarctic (South Pole), they leave the austral winter, in order to find hot waters. During this period they mate and give birth to their calves.

The Whales favorite hobby is to jump out of the water and make great noise when they fall down. Besides, they are also famous because of the sounds they use to make under the water.

The Humpback Whale is easy to recognize because of their extremely long pectoral fins, in fact its scientific name is Megaptera novaeangliae which means "Of Big Wings". These Whales reach more than 16 mts. length and could weigh 40 tons. They are usually dark blue, gray or black colored on their back, but their fins, sides and belly had a big number of white spots and some scars.

Their caudal fin (tail) had some unique spots like fingerprints at the ventral part, which are used by the scientists as an identification pattern of these individuals. The big quantity of contaminating and polluted substances discharged over the ocean waters, the excessive marine trade, fishing activities, are all a threat for these individuals.

Besides their normal life and reproduction procedures, are drastically disturbed.
From our boats equiped for your security and comfort, we show to you the opportunity to share with us the unique and magnificent experience to see the Humpback Whales in their natural environment, following the International Regulations established in order to decrease the human impact over this individuals and in this way guarantee their stay in this area.

"HELP THE HUMPBACK WHALES TO GET BETTER AND BE PROTECTED AGAINST THEIR OWN EXTINCTION"

Our boats

EXPLORA I and EXPLORA II
 
-Length    10.50 Mts.
-Beam     3,10 Mts.
-Number of Divers     minimum: 4 divers per 1 Instructor/Divemaster
                                maximum: 8 divers per 2nstructors/ Divemasters.
-Two DF 150 HP Suzuki Marine 4 stroke outboard engines.
-WC on board
-VHF Marine Radio
-GPS
-Sonar
-Life jackets
-Two (2) fire extinguishers
-Oxygen unit on board
-First aid kit

Galápagos & Ecuador Dive Central  /  Nauta Routes  /  Ecuador Multi-Sport
Foch 746 & Amazonas Ave. - Second floor, Phone: (593 2) 290 77 04 / (593 2) 603 98 49
 
info@galapagosdivingcentral.com Quito-Ecuador–Southamerica
Images and texts: Pablo Solis, All Rights Reserved

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